By Michael Okidi
African countries have been urged to speed up formulation and implementation of joint infrastructural projects if they have to attain adequate levels of prosperity for their peoples.
The East African Community (EAC) and Northern Corridor Development Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya noted that joint initiatives like the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor were examples of projects that promised massive returns in terms of cross border trade volumes.
Speaking during a task team meeting on the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) at a Nairobi Hotel, Mr Munya noted that Africa’s close to 1.2 billion- strong market could only be effectively reached with a reliable infrastructural network.
The PICI is a brainchild of the 24 th African Union Summit that elevated the LAPSSET Programme into a Presidential infrastructural initiative, with President Uhuru Kenyatta as its champion. This elevation is aimed at increasing visibility of the programme, unlocking bottlenecks, coordinating resource mobilization and ensuring effective project implementation.
Mr Munya said that development programmes in Africa were being pushed in an environment full of challenges, and cited poor infrastructure and unpredictable political climate in some parts of the continent as occasional bottlenecks to successful implementation of projects.
However, he noted that the continent was reawakening to the unavoidable realities of joint approaches to its problems, as exemplified by initiatives such as the African Free
Trade Area and the New Partnerships for African Development (NEPAD).
Saying that the LAPSSET programme was one of the most ambitious in Africa owing to the commitment of the countries involved, Mr Munya emphasized that the period of lone ranger approaches to development initiatives had been overtaken by the emergence of regional economic blocs and emerging free trade areas.
The two day meeting was attended by representatives from various African countries and regional economic blocs with inclination towards infrastructure and environmental protection.