Experts urge new model for Africa’s infrastructure growth
With the global infrastructure shortfall expected to reach $15 trillion by 2040, the World Forum for Africa (WOFA) and other experts have called for improved dialogue towards integration of labeling and certification ahead of infrastructure development in the continent.
The experts, who said there is enormous need for infrastructure, noted that the move would boost long-term capital flows for projects and their sustainability.
According to them, while public sector funding would continue to be important for infrastructure development, mobilisation of private sector investment will be critical to achieve global infrastructure investment goals effectively and efficiently.
Speaking at the first virtual roundtable organised by WOFA on African inclusive labeling and standards for major infrastructure projects, a Senior Fellow, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University, United States, Dr. Elizabeth Losos, said inclusion of African voices in the global labeling initiative would lead to the rapid transformation of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) in infrastructure projects.
Losos noted that FAST-Infra and Blue Dot Network labeling and certification initiatives present Africa with great opportunities to attract investors and funding for sustainable infrastructure.
In recent times, global bodies such as G20 and the G7 have launched initiatives on harmonising labels and ratings for major infrastructure in developing economies with the objective of de-risking and having resilient, sustainable infrastructure projects capable of attracting long-term capital investment.
Some of these initiatives are FAST-Infra and Blue Dot Network. The FAST-Infra is an initiative to push for collective action to mobilise private finance and de-risk investments in sustainable infrastructure, while the Blue Dot Network evaluate and certify infrastructure projects based on adherence to commonly accepted principles and standards.
Addressing the forum, the convener of WOFA, Abi Haruna, said the need for adequate representation of Africa in the global initiative for labeling and certifications for infrastructure projects cannot be over emphasised.
According to him, the essence of the forum was to explore areas of cooperation in establishing an African inclusive labeling and standards for major infrastructure projects on the continent with the aim of de-risking, having sustainable, and environmentally considerate infrastructure.
He said WOFA would continue to rally stakeholders across the world to ensure that Africa’s infrastructure transformation will be at the centre of discussion.
The Executive Director, Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), Aminou Akadiri, called on stakeholders to map out and harmonise existing legal frameworks on infrastructure development in each member states of Africa with support from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Africa Development Bank (AFDB).
Others speakers at the event include CEO, America Business Council, Nigeria; Sarah Ntagara Margaret Olele, Co-convener, WOFA, Marilyn Jeanine La Ferla and representative from Nigerian Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.