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Bridging the Gap: COMESA’s Push for Infrastructure Investment

In an effort to foster regional development and economic growth, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) convened a landmark workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 15, 2024. The focus of this gathering was to chart a course for enhancing infrastructure investment across member states, with an emphasis on leveraging public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Hajatiana Endor Cadet

Speaking to the media at the workshop, Hajatiana Endor Cadet, Director of Public Market Regulation Authority at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Madagascar, emphasized the critical need for a legal framework tailored to facilitate PPPs: “There is a significant challenge to address regarding infrastructure markets within the member countries of COMESA because we know very well that the majority have an issue with installed infrastructure.”

Dr. Bernard Dzawanda, Director of Infrastructure and Logistics Division at COMESA, echoed Cadet’s sentiments, stressing the pivotal role of the private sector in infrastructure development: “The private sector has got an important role to play. When the private sector comes in, apart from the financial resources, they also bring in innovation issues.”

Addressing concerns about regional security, Dzawanda acknowledged its impact on investor confidence: “If the region is unstable, it’s unlikely that you get most of the private sector participants. Those are very risk-averse.”

In addition to security challenges, Dzawanda highlighted the inadequacy of resources as a significant obstacle to infrastructure development: “The main challenge is the inadequacy of resources. We don’t have the funds.”

Dr. Bernard Dzawanda, Director of Infrastructure and Logistics Division at COMESA

 

Discussing the importance of developing guidelines for infrastructure investment, Dzawanda emphasized the role of COMESA in promoting harmonization and standardization across member states: “The guidelines are important… They give us the same starting point as a region.”

The workshop is with a renewed commitment from COMESA member states to prioritize infrastructure investment and strengthen PPP frameworks. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, COMESA aims to bridge the infrastructure gap and pave the way for sustainable development across the region.

Carine Kayitesi

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