RIDMP: Funding sets SADC integration on course

 

Lusaka – The much-awaited Regional Infrastructural Development Master Plan (RIDMP) has taken off ground with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approving US$997 million part funding towards the cause, as the region seeks to deepen integration.

The money is part of the US$500 billion mooted and approved by the SADC Heads of State and Government in Maputo during the 32nd regional summit regarding the master plan, which is intended to upgrade various infrastructural projects in the 15-member states to improve intra-trade.

In a statement issued after the 34th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit that ended on August 18, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Tax said the resources would go towards various obligations needed to be undertaken in the region to support regional trade.

The SADC Council of Ministers that preceded the Summit has approved the list of potential regional infrastructure investment projects to be considered for funding under the 2015/16 annual action plan.

In the infrastructure development master plan, SADC has among other projects, roads, railways, bridges, border facilities and hydro-electricity generation, some of which have not been implemented and others have stalled due to financial issues.

Tax says infrastructure development had been identified as key to the process of regional integration and that it is one of the four priority areas in the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). 

The other three are industrialisation and market integration, peace and security as well as special projects.

“These four programmes are inter-linked and are geared to enhance socio-economic development and eradicate poverty. You can’t enhance intra-regional trade in the region if you have no capacity to produce and add value to production. Trade must be supported by infrastructure,” added Tax.

The Council of Ministers also endorsed the decision by the Committee of Ministers to address some of the implementation changes of the SADC Free Trade Area.

Meanwhile, the SADC Secretariat has been tasked to facilitate the implementation of all pillars of the development integration agenda, which entails fast-tracking the co-ordination of measures for effective implementation of the SADC industrial development policy framework.

It will also facilitate the industrial upgrading and modernisation programme to boost the region’s productive competitiveness and industrial capacity. This is expected to bring about equity, fairness and balance in intra-regional trade, the statement adds. The planned implementation and finalisation of the development master plan for the region was initially set to run from 2014-2027, as approved by the SADC leadership during Maputo summit two years ago.

Accordingly, the RIDMP was intended to lure potential investors into the rolling-out of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan Vision 2027 – a 15-year blueprint that will guide the implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects within the set period.

The RIDMP is being implemented over three 5-year intervals that include the short-term (2012-2017), medium-term (2017-2022) and long-term (2022-2027).

So far, priority infrastructure projects at a cost of about US$500 billion have been identified and the 2013 Maputo Investor Conference was part of the marketing strategy to mobilise resources for their implementation.

Other interventions include Road shows that are planned to take place in Asia and Europe.

The Master Plan is in line with the Programme for Infrastructure Development of Africa (PIDA), which is a continental initiative of the African Union Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency.

Following the adoption of the Master Plan, the SADC Secretariat in collaboration with the SADC ministries responsible for the six sectors, namely Energy, Transport, Tourism, ICT and Postal, Meteorology and Water are formulating frameworks to guide the implementation of efficient, seamless and cost-effective trans-boundary infrastructure networks in an integrated and co-ordinated manner.

In the energy sector, the master plan is expected to address four key areas of energy security, improving access to modern energy services, tapping the abundant energy resources in the continent and up-scaling financial investment whilst enhancing environmental sustainability.

In the water sector, the master plan prioritises strengthening institutions, preparation of bankable strategic water infrastructure development projects; increased water storage to prepare for resilience against climate change; increasing access to safe drinking water; and enhancing sanitation services for SADC citizens, facilitating and co-ordinating the SADC Regional Water Programme.

In the sub-sectors of road, rail, ports, inland waterways and air transport networks, the plan focuses on effective regulation of transport services, liberalisation of transport markets, development of corridors and facilitation of cross-border movement, construction of missing regional transport links, corridor management institutions establishment for Beira, Lobito and North-South Corridors, and harmonisation of road safety data systems.

In the information communication technology (ICT) sector, the plan’s focus is on addressing harmonisation of SADC regional ICT policy and regulatory frameworks, SADC regional ICT infrastructure development, international and regional co-ordination; co-ordination and harmonisation of SADC ICT and postal strategic plans and programmes, facilitation of policy dialogue and implementation of the transport, communication and meteorology protocol.

In the tourism sector, strategy is geared towards achieving enhanced socio-economic development, facilitating joint marketing of SADC as a single destination, increasing tourism arrivals and tourism receipts from source markets, and developing the tourism sector in an environmentally sustainable manner.

In the meteorology sector, the plan focusses on ensuring availability of timely early warning information relating to adverse weather and climate variability impacts.

Another highlight in the meteorology sector is the development of a framework for harmonised indicators for the provision of relevant climate forecasting information to facilitate preparations of mitigation measures against droughts, floods and cyclones.

August 2014
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