The global economic crisis and the construction of infrastructures in Africa were the main themes of the fifth annual meeting of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) which ended in Rome last 11th March. According to many participants, the meeting has had important results.
Mandla Gantsho, Vice President of the African Development Bank, said that after this meeting there will be an “enhanced collaboration among the donors” who are the members of the Consortium.
“We expect – Gantsho said in the video available at the bottom of this page – an increased exchange of information about projects that are being developed and financed and implemented on the African continent. We are going to be drawing a lot from the African Union‘s way forward on implementing original projects”.
The purpose of the meeting of the ICA, which was held in the Italian foreign ministry building in Rome on 10 and 11 March 2009, is to secure the necessary funding to projects that could be stopped by the economic crisis.
“We look forward to implementing the infrastructure development on the continent and accelerate the paste of implementation of these infrastructures. We know that there’s a funding gap that need to be closed”, Gantsho added.
The world economic crisis – is written in a press note of the Italian foreign ministry – is impacting on investments in infrastructures in Africa and 8 billion dollars are still needed to complete the 20 billion dollars per year necessary for efficient development.
“We believe that we can get 20 billion dollars by efficiency gains. This 20 billion dollars gap is threatened by the global financial crisis”, the vice-president of the African development bank said.
“Today’s meeting – ICA coordinator, Alex Rugamba, said to Africanews.it – was the occasion for looking back at the journey made over the past three years, after the creation of the consortium. It was a moment to assess critically at the results achieved and also to agree on certain policy objectives. I would also remark that on balance members are happy with the performance and they agreed on a enhanced role to be played. They would like a step change in the way we do business”.
Rugamba also stressed that during the fifth annual meeting all work meant that ICA members and secretariat will do much more in “bringing in private stake-holders from the private sector and also non-ICA members like China and the Arab co-ordination group, so we can maximise on these different sources of finance but aligned to an agreed program as defined by the Africans themselves”.
The meeting was attended by the vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincenzo Scotti, who proposed the use of financial mechanisms that mitigate the risk and encourage more funding by individuals, highlighting the need to rely not only on public institutions aid but also on the private sector.
The summit was hosted by the Farnesina, the Italian foreign ministry, under the Italian Presidency of the G8, which will take place in July in the Italian island of La Maddalena. The development of Africa will be among the top priorities of the Italian presidency of the G8.
ICA 2009 – Mr Mandla Gantsho
Photos by: Mario De Renzis
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