Statement by President Jacob Zuma on mobilising resources to finance New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiatives and marking of the 10th Anniversary of the NEPAD Programme, African Union (AU) Summit, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Today’s occasion reminds us all about the journey from where we come, who we are and it also challenges us to think where we are heading to as Africa.
When one recalls and remembers our founding leaders, one cannot help but think of what Kwame Nkrumah said nearly 60 years ago:
He said; “The heroes of our future will be those who can lead our people out of the stifling fog of disintegration through serfdom, into the valley of light, where purpose, endeavour and determination will create a brotherhood”.
The NEPAD vision was there, it continues to be there even today, Excellencies, the timing and circumstances are right.
When we entered the new millennium, a new African leadership emerged which proclaimed “enough is enough” and has committed themselves to working together to take Africa to its rightful place. We need ensure that Africa’s developmental agenda is realised.
Since NEPAD’s adoption by the 2001 Heads of State Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, NEPAD has contributed to Africa, not only progressing towards the right direction but to focus on key economic fundamentals that would help generate a better economic growth path. Economically, we must note that Africa is the third fastest growing region in the world.
A fresh wind of confidence and optimism is blowing through Africa.
Africa is now proclaimed as the world’s most profitable region, according to leading economists.Also, the UN Economic for Africa/OECD publication, African Economic Outlook finds that the continent is on the recovery.
Economic growth rates for the continent for 2012 are predicted between five point five and five point eight percent.
We need to consolidate and further strategise and agree collectively on what should be done going forward.
My sincere gratitude goes to all my colleagues for supporting the Infrastructure initiative as adopted in Kampala.
Africa, through NEPAD, should also strengthen its ties and collaboration with friends of Africa and existing multilateral partnerships.
The relevant Ministers, African Union Commission, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), representatives from the Regional Economic Communities, and some partner institutions met last night to discuss progress regarding the Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiative (PICI).
I’m pleased to present to you the key outcomes of their deliberations which include amongst others;
(a) The need for enhanced coordination between and amongst implementing continental institutions in order to ensure accelerated implementation of the projects;
(b) Re-emphasis onthe need for continued engagement and interaction with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs);
(c)Ensure that implementation of these projects is conducted in a manner which leads to inclusive growth, builds local capacity and ensures the sustainability of infrastructure development;
It is worthwhile perhaps to reflect again, that the objectives of the HSCOG is that it is tasked with prioritising and consolidating infrastructure projects for high impact and results.
It has as its key drivers the acceleration of Regional Integration through infrastructure development by leveraging committed political leadership, sponsoring and championing of specific infrastructure projects, as key prerequisite for developmental success.
Whilst marking 10 years of the existence of the NEPAD programme as Africa’s vision and blueprint for socio-economic development on our continent, we also realise that there is much to be done; we should therefore unite our efforts in pressing towards overcoming these challenges.
If we are indeed devoted to ensuring NEPAD continues to be a success, we must, as Africans ensure that we commit financial resources to this programme, individually, as states and collectively.
The involvement of the private sector remains critical to advancing the ideals of our infrastructure initiative.
We must therefore embark upon mutually beneficial Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in championing our projects. The involvement of Pan African Funding Institutions is also critical to provide us with the technical support and financing mechanisms for these projects.
We must, however be mindful of the role that private equity funds and infrastructure development funds can play in raising additional funding from domestic resources.
The global economic crisis has increased the number of priorities competing for public funds.
Traditional models of financing and delivering infrastructure must give way to new models.Across the continent, governments are forging partnerships with the private sector to deliver infrastructure projects. Public-private partnerships bring together the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors.
They also raise questions about how these relationships should be managed to maximise the benefits for all parties.
Many new infrastructure projects in Africa are regional or pan-African. These cross-border projects raise new challenges. Successful infrastructure projects have to deal with five fundamental stages:
A key decision in setting up any public-private partnership is how these responsibilities are to be divided between the different players.
The AU/NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Projects have shown that the distribution of responsibilities and risks is a particular challenge for agreeing public-private partnerships.
To achieve the right mix of public and private involvement in infrastructure financing and delivery, we need to consider three steps:
First, what are the main responsibilities of governments within the region? Are there political, legal or policy constraints that need to be addressed to promote public-private partnerships?
Second, what do we want to do in our own countries? We need to be clear about our infrastructure needs, as well as the assets needed to meet those needs.
Successful infrastructure projects do not just need financial resources; they also require the political will to drive the project to a speedy conclusion.
Finally, who should do what? A PPP typically implies a mutual sharing of exposure and return. These are the key issues we need to address.
We must ensure, that NEPAD continues to embody the vision of Africa that we seek to achieve.
The existing programmes and projects speak to the notion that indeed we have made progress, through NEPAD by improving the lives of our people.
We must therefore ensure that we unite, through the NEPAD programme, the war against poverty, hunger, homelessness and under-development, by ensuring that these programmes are sustainable.
I thank you.