Dr Manzungu pushes for Infrastructure Development in Africa Agenda 2063

By a Correspondent

Sub Saharan African renowned Infrastructure Development Expert Dr Tinashe Manzungu has urged African countries to prioritise infrastructure development as part of the continent’s efforts to attain the Africa Agenda 2063. 

In an interview, Manzungu emphasised the essence of infrastructure development in building ‘The Africa We Want’. He urged African governments to maximise the financial advantages of the available regional blocs to attain the goal and effectively implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Currently, growth in African countries is moving slowly on an average of 2% per annum and at such a rate, we will not get to our objective of making Africa a global powerhouse of the future. We need to open up the borders and ensure that even the road transport which sells as the most cost effective means of transport for goods is well developed and is available to everyone for the purposes of trade, and we should also have a similar approach with the railway linking because for you to trade or bring in the benefits whether to the economy or households, it is all achievable when there is good infrastructure development in terms of road and railway networks,” said Manzungu.

He said infrastructure development in roads and railways will make the AfCFTA more viable as currently intra-trade in Africa is being compromised by logistics expenses of products from one African country to another. 

“It is actually cheaper to bring goods or products from Europe to Africa than to bring or transport a product within Africa. The borders are too restrictive in terms of the charges and taxes at border controls. To transport a vehicle from South Africa to Morocco, may cost millions as compared to just buying a vehicle from Europe,” he said.

Manzungu noted that even though African countries have agreed on the AfCFTA, there are still some regions where the concept needs to be fully implemented with clear and practical policies that can be monitored and evaluated to get the most effective results.

He added, “As we are focusing on attaining the Africa we want in line with the Africa Agenda 2063, the tenacity of our challenges are going to be largely solved in Africa and by Africans and we must accept that. We have quite a large number of regional blocs including the SADC Secretariat, African Business Council, East African Union, West African National Secretariat among others which we can use as a platform for agreements on strategies such as the Public-Private Partnership. Also, strategies that position ourselves as a continent to the rest of the world is key as well.”

Manzungu urged African governments to develop clear policies that promote the infrastructure development of the continent and added that the countries should also adhere to their own policies, abiding by them religiously.

Africa Agenda 2063 is the continent’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is a strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goals for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

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