African Heads of State on Monday January 30, 2012 endorsed the launch of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), a multi-billion dollar initiative that will run through 2040.

In a statement at the 18th African Union summit held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the Heads of State approved the implementation of the recommendations in the study on PIDA presented to the summit.

The study is a joint initiative of the African Union, the African Development Bank and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency.

According to the AfDB,the endorsement by the AU summit “will now be followed by more detailed planning on the actual implementation of PIDA.”

The PIDA’s main goal is to accelerate the delivery of Africa’s current and future regional and continental infrastructure projects in transport, energy, information and telecommunications technologies, as well as trans-boundary waterways.

Its projects are designed to support Africa’s regional and continental integration. PIDA’s longer term goal is to enhance the physical integration of Africa, boost intra-African trade, and raise African competitiveness in the global economy.

PIDA sets out short-term goals to be achieved by 2020, medium-term goals to be achieved by 2030, and the long term ones by 2040.

Alex Rugamba, the African Development Bank’s director for NEPAD, regional integration and trade in a statement Febraury 1, 2012 said PIDA’s goals were ambitious but attainable and would also yield unprecedented benefits.

“Some of benefits we foresee include a doubling of intra-African trade from the current levels of 11 to 12 percent. PIDA will also increase Africa’s share of world trade by at least twice today’s share of 2 percent,” said Rugamba.

He adds that “We also foresee the creation of up to 15 million new jobs from the construction, operation and maintenance of PIDA projects. Many more millions of jobs will also be created indirectly through the increased economic activity that will result from PIDA projects.”

The Bank estimates that poor infrastructure alone saps Africa of 2% in economic growth every year.

By Ekow Quandzie/ghanabusinessnews.com

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