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African Development Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka

ICT development will be a focus area for a new African Development Bank (AfDB) plan to pump around USD10 billion more into African infrastructure.

The AfDB says it plans to nearly double its African infrastructure spending over the next few years.

An African leaders’ meeting held auspices of the 15th African Union Summit held in Uganda during the past week discussed the urgent need to improve infrastructure in Africa.

Power, transport and ICTs were identified as some of the key infrastructure areas needing investment to boost economic growth.

The African Development Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka, said: “ The magnitude of Africa’ s financing needs for infrastructure is far beyond the public sector’ s capacity, and clearly highlights the opportunities for private sector involvement.”

He added: “ Africa needs to focus its efforts on three areas - energy sector reforms, new generation capacity and the development of regional markets.”

Earlier, the AfDB, NEPAD and the AU officially launched the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) on the fringes of the Summit.

PIDA identifies energy, water, ICT and transport as central to the implementation of economic and social development policies.

The programme is in line with infrastructure development, one of the key pillars of the Bank Group’ s 2008-2012 Medium-Term strategy. The Bank’ s approvals of Infrastructure projects reached USD6 billion in 2009, accounting for more than half of all approvals during the year.

The programme’ s overall goal is to promote socio-economic development and reduce poverty in Africa through improved access to integrated regional and continental infrastructure networks and services.

With ICTs hailed as drivers of economic growth and development, the programme lays out plans to identify existing ICT infrastructures, determine future needs and attempt to establish harmonised policy, legal and regulatory frameworks at the regional and continental levels to create an enabling environment that will attract investment and foster the sustainable development of ICT infrastructure in African regional markets.

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