African Union: improving regional infrastructure

Project description

Title: Support to the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member states of the African Union
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission (AUC)
Implementing partner: NEPAD Agency
Overall term: 2010 to 2018


Only 38 per cent of the African population have access to electricity; just under 10 per cent are able to access the internet. Only a quarter of the African road network is paved. The poor condition of roads, railways and ports increases the cost of goods traded in Africa by up to 40 per cent.

In order to counter these deficits, the African Heads of State and Government approved the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) in January 2012 as the continental strategic framework for infrastructure development set to run until 2040. PIDA’s Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP), to be implemented by 2020, consists of 51 large-scale cross-border programmes featuring more than 400 single projects in the energy, transport, information and communication technology, and water sectors. The African Union Summit also adopted the Instituitional Architecture for Infrastructure Development in Africa (IAIDA) to support PIDA implementation and clarify the roles and responsibilities on a continental, regional and national level. IAIDA involves the African Union Commission being responsible for political steering and coordination of the PIDA process, while the NEPAD Agency (New Partnership for Africa's Development) facilitates its implementation.


The capacities of the African Union and the NEPAD Agency are sustainably strengthened to advance the implementation of the 51 infrastructure programmes.


The GIZ Support to PIDA Programme strengthens the infrastructure departments of its main partners from the African Union and the NEPAD Agency in the following five fields of action:

  • Information, monitoring and reporting: the jointly created Virtual PIDA Information Centre, the underlying African Infrastructure Database (AID) and the PIDA monitoring & evaluation system (M&E) enable systematic reporting on the implementation progress of PIDA. At present, the project is supporting the expansion of the PIDA M&E system, which will make it possible to measure how many jobs will be created through the PIDA infrastructure projects.
  • PIDA communication and project marketing: the project supports the partners in their public relations work relating to PIDA as a continental infrastructure framework, setting up a journalists’ network, for example. The individual projects are also publicised by the PIDA Continental Business Network (CBN), which features around 30 members from the private sector. The CBN also functions as a platform communicating to policy decision-makers the recommendations about enhancing the infrastructure investment climate made by the private sector.
  • Integrated and coordinated project preparation: a central challenge in implementing PIDA projects is the lack of specialist knowledge needed for the early stages of project preparation. This is why the NEPAD Agency created the PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM) with support from GIZ, which will supply the required capacities for early project preparation in order to advance projects to a stage when feasibility studies can begin.
  • Knowledge and learning: the project creates knowledge products and offers training-enhanced preparation of infrastructure projects. For example, the PIDA Job Creation Online Toolkit is currently being developed, which shows how employment market effects can be optimised during the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects.
  • Coordination: efficient coordination is crucial for success in implementing major regional projects. The project contributed to the adoption and operationalisation of the institutional architecture for infrastructure development in Africa. This establishes the responsibilities on a continental, regional and national level, coordinated by the multi-institutional PIDA steering committee, which meets twice a year.


Aggregated progress reporting is now possible as a result of the established PIDA M&E System. This has identified that 30 PIDA projects are already operational, 54 are in the construction phase, and financing has been secured for 27 projects. This reporting is essential to continue promoting and steering PIDA implementation.

The project developed an econometric method to estimate the effects of PIDA projects on the employment market. Valid predictions of how many jobs and what types of job can be created through infrastructure projects map the socioeconomic impact of PIDA and help to market the projects to policy-makers and potential financiers. For example, the Ruzizi III hydroelectric plant has the potential to create around 25,000 jobs during construction and 103,700 jobs due to the improved energy supply expected to result from it.

The PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the establishment of a cross-border project management authority to enable joint implementation of the Abidjan-Lagos transport corridor as the SDM pilot project. This facilitates the structured, joint implementation of the 1,028-kilometre-long motorway, which will transport 75 per cent of all goods traded in West Africa by the five coastal states.