Ensuring execution on African infrastructure

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Nearly three-quarters of infrastructure projects in Africa are simply not getting off the ground. In the full article from which this abstract is drawn, we explore why insufficient funding is not the primary reason that Africa still has such a large infrastructure backlog.

Develop policy framework

Governments can use a framework for their infrastructure goals to plan and prioritize potential projects. Such a framework ensures good governance, due process and diligent planning.

“Regional economic integration is essential for Africa to realize its full growth potential, to participate in the global economy and to share the benefits of an increasingly connected global marketplace.”

African Development Bank

In addition, regional integration is essential for delivering infrastructure in Africa. African leaders have come together to form the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Priority Action Plan, which includes a list of 51 infrastructure projects aimed at promoting regional integration. PIDA provides a common framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT) and water networks to boost trade, spark growth and create jobs.

Specify funding structures

When conceptualizing an infrastructure project, there are several different financing structures governments may choose, e.g., entirely public projects, fully private investments or public-private partnerships (PPPs). The decision criteria for governments should include the financing of the project, the type of contract model that will suit the project and the level of participation either the government would like to have, or will allow, from the private sector.

Be conscious of contract management

A common challenge for governments, once they have selected a funding structure for a project, is substandard contract management. The design of the contracts needs to safeguard the interests of both the government and the private partner(s).

Prioritize project management

Infrastructure projects are almost always large scale and very complex. At the same time, governments are usually working on a number of projects simultaneously. Therefore, they need good project management in order to execute and deliver projects successfully.

Persist with monitoring and evaluation

Adequate monitoring and evaluation of existing projects plays an important part in attracting future investment, and ensures accountability and transparency for investors and citizens. Monitoring and evaluation throughout the project can also help to reduce wastage and eliminate the scope for corruption, which can plague large projects where vast sums of money are at play.

The complete article was written by:

  • Joe Cosma
    Africa Advisory Government & Public Sector Leader (excluding South Africa), EY
  • Lucy Zeka
    Assistant Director, Advisory — Strategic Insights, EY, Africa

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