The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), have expressed desire to prioritise investments in transport and energy.
At meeting in Accra which is under the European External Investment Plan, to enable the participants exchange, share ideas and review information on the region’s development, the two sectors were identified as having the potential to facilitate free movement and trade and ultimately, economic progress.
Pathe Gueye, Commissioner of Infrastructure at ECOWAS, speaking at the opening of the five-day meeting on Monday in Accra said it had been the ultimate goal to ensure intra-trade but poor transport infrastructure had thwarted the realization of the goal.
The transport sector, he noted, has not played its rightful role effectively and efficiently due to factors including poor road conditions, poor coordination of road management and high cost of transportation.
“Aside from the problem on our roads, the railway networks are not interconnected and they are outdated,” he said.
Mr Gueye said the European Union (EU) and West Africa signed a major financing agreement of €1,150 million for various sectors including transport and energy.
He said the funding marked a turning point, a new era of European Union and West Africa cooperation, in the infrastructure sector, with investments in the form of mixed financing or “blending” and support for the transport and energy governing bodies.
He added that an initial amount of €330 million had been invested in infrastructure, of which approximately €168 million went into energy and €162 million into transport.
An allocation of €70 million, he said, had also been made to the governing bodies of which €32 million was for energy and €38 million for transport.
“These investments have already financed seven energy projects and ten transport projects in West Africa and the Region wants to plan towards the development of a new portfolio of projects,” he said.