The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has invited private sector investors to invest in transboundary projects throughout Africa, The appeal was made by Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi, a senior advisor on regional integration and trade at ECA. Adeyemi assured the investors that reliable mechanisms have been set up to facilitate and safeguard investment in Africa. “I am pleased to inform you that we now have the PIDA Model Law – a harmonised Africa-wide legal framework,” he added. He pointed out that many investors said that Africa is too risky for investment due to the multitude of policies, laws and regulations involved in transboundary projects, but that “with the PIDA Model Law in place, you don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
During a side event organised on the margins of the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Adeyemi spoke to raise awareness and encourage stakeholders and investors to make the Lamu Port, South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project a priority given its “tremendous economic potentials.” Ethiopia’s Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges noted, “The government of Ethiopia strongly believes that the investment and tourism potential of Southern Ethiopia is interlinked with the LAPSSET Corridor Program.” She said the project, “Bears hope and dreams to the peoples of the three countries, and I would like to reassure Ethiopia’s commitment to the realisation of such a noble aspiration.” Moges emphasised that LAPSSET partners have a crucial role to enhance the economic viability of the corridor by investing in other complementary projects such as special economic zones, free trade areas, and industrial parks.
The cabinet secretary for Kenya’s ministry of transport, infrastructure, housing and urban development, James Macharia, noted that significant progress has been made but that governments need to take the lead and invest significantly in the project in order to attract the private sector. NEPAD’s Ibrah Wahabou indicated that the project construction and operational phases will create significant job opportunities in all three countries and must, therefore, be given utmost priority. He gave a compelling breakdown in his presentation titled ‘PIDA Job creation Toolkit: optimising LAPSSET job creation potential.’ Stephen Karingi, ECA’s director of Regional Integration and Trade stated that LAPSSET is supposed to play a part in the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) because “we cannot harness the potential of the AfCFTA unless we have movement of persons and goods and services, and cross-border trade facilitation and investment.” “Your money is safe. If I personally had the money and was not working for the UN, LAPSSET is exactly where I’ll invest without fear,” Adeyemi concluded.