African Integration is Dependent on PIDA Success

The intermediate phase of the PIDA PAP is set to run from 2021 until 2030. This timescale falls in parallel with the first 10 years of the AfCFTA and will play a pivotal role in ultimately deciding whether the agreement will go on to achieve its predicted success. Key critiques levelled at the PIDA programmes over the past few years are the same as those that have plagued African infrastructure projects since the 1960s – they are often not bankable and too detached from the actual needs of industry. It is encouraging that the AU has taken the criticisms seriously and laid out a reformed strategy for how the next phase of the PIDA PAP will unfold. According to official statements and media reports, PAP Phase II will adopt an ‘integrated corridor’ strategy, which will seek to consolidate the extensive portfolio of infrastructure initiatives into 70 regional projects, where utility and bankability are at the forefront of developers’ concerns. Official press releases have also emphasised inclusivity as a key facet of these developmental strategies, stressing that they will link rural areas with urban industrial centres without placing excessive strain on the local ecosphere. Making all this come to fruition calls upon a deep reservoir of technical skill and financial expertise, which many regional governments lack, and therefore is reliant on private industry to provide support. Investors are advised to closely monitor the progress of these projects, as they will be some of the deciding factors in the ability to engage in intra-Africa trade.

Sources: African Union, African Development Bank, PIDA, Tralac; 2018-2021