The Economic Commission for Africa is organizing a session to discuss transboundary infrastructure development on the continent during the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association that begins in Lagos, Nigeria, this weekend.
A five-member high-level panel will lead participants in discussing issues that include investment and transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa; political, legal and policy issues which need to be addressed to achieve regional integration; laws and policies needed to support transboundary infrastructure projects and the role they play in institutionalizing Africa.
Adeyinka Adeyemi, Senior Advisor and Head of the Regional Integration and Infrastructure Cluster in the ECA’s Capacity Development Division, will lead discussions with his presentation focusing on how the ECA and its partners have worked to ensure such projects are a success following the 2014 Dakar Summit on Infrastructure Financing in Africa.
“Our main point of interest in organizing the session at the conference is the presence of Africa’s Attorneys General and lawyers from all over the world, especially Africa, so we can present to them the Model Law that the ECA and NEPAD have come up with following a request to do so by the African Union as they try to address issues hampering transboundary infrastructure development on the continent,” said Mr. Adeyemi.
Following the Dakar Summit on Infrastructure Financing in Africa where 16 infrastructure projects for the continent’s integration were endorsed, the private sector has been reluctant to invest, citing a number of problems they said made it difficult for them to put money into transboundary infrastructure development.
African leaders in 2016 then tasked the ECA and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to develop a framework that would harmonize laws across the continent to make it easier for the private sector to invest in transboundary infrastructure. The result was the Model Law that will be endorsed by African Heads of State at their January Summit in Addis Ababa.
It deals with the issues and concerns raised by the private sector in its interactions with NEPAD and ECA experts and these include issues of transparency, dispute resolution, project ownership, project preparation and others they considered as risks.
“These issues vary from country to country and if we have a Model Law that says this is it for Africa and is owned by the African Union then we make it easier for them to invest in transboundary infrastructure development,” said Mr. Adeyemi.
ECA experts will discuss the Model Law with the Attorneys General and other senior government advisors and lawyers attending the conference.
“Once the law is endorsed by the Heads of State, then countries will have to domesticate it by integrating it into their own laws and most of the people who would help do that will be found in this one place,” added Mr. Adeyemi.
Also on the panel are Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Akshai Foforia, a partner at Pinsent Mason Law Firm, Makane Mbengue, Professor of Law at the University of Geneva and Sylvian Boko, Principal Regional Advisor and Head of Development Planning and Statistics at the ECA.