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Nigeria, Others Need $170bn Annually to Bridge Infrastructure Financing Gap, UNECA Reveals

Nigeria, Others Need $170bn Annually to Bridge Infrastructure Financing Gap, UNECA Reveals

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The United Nations Economic Council for Africa (UNECA) at the weekend revealed that Nigeria, South African and countries in Africa would need $170 billion annually to bridge the continent’s infrastructure financing gap.

UNECA’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Antonio M.A. Pedro gave the figure in a statement the UNECA Communications Office released Friday after a session on Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES).

AFRI-RES is a joint initiative of the ECA, the African Union Commission, and the African Development Bank.

During its first phase, the ECA and the AUC have led the component of training and advocacy and also the development of a climate knowledge and information portal.

AFRI-RES supports countries, regional entities such as river basin commissions, and projects developers with the capacity and tools to integrate climate resilience in investments in key sectors.

Quoted in UNECA’s statement, Pedro said closing the infrastructure development gap means investing up to $170 billion per year in sectors such as energy, transport, water, sanitation, urban, and ecosystems.

He noted that Nigeria, South Africa and other countries in Africa should invest in infrastructure resilient to climate change, which pushed countries to spend almost five percent of their GDP in adapting to its impacts.

He revealed that the continent already had an infrastructure financing gap of more than $100 billion per year, according to the African Development Bank.

He said: “There is a case for Africa to ramp up investment in developing infrastructure that is vital to improving the standards of living for the African citizens as well as for the continent’s global competitiveness.

“AFRI-RES is a boost to climate proofing infrastructure in Africa. There is an urgent need to close Africa’s infrastructure deficit at scale and at speed if the continent is to meet its development objectives – as stipulated in various national development plans, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Agenda 2063,” Pedro said.

He noted that the sectors “are sensitive to the adverse impacts of climate change, including more frequent and intense floods, droughts, and heat waves.

“Against a background of increasing climate change impacts that are already costing Africa on average 5 percent of GDP per year, it is important to boost the confidence that the infrastructure investments will deliver services and return on investments in both today’s and tomorrow’s climate.”

Pedro stated that in 2016 the Kariba dam on the Zambezi – which supplies most of the electricity consumed in Zimbabwe and Zambia – almost shut down as the volume of water in the reservoir dropped to about 12 percent of capacity because of the unusual El Nino and La Nina events of 2015/2016 attributable to climate change.

He said the findings of the report led to the establishment of the Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility – AFRI-RES – supported by the Nordic Development Fund.

 According to him, Africa can take advantage as a late comer in infrastructure development to make sure that it builds quality climate resilient infrastructure,” said Pedro.

He highlighted that the capacity and tools provided by AFRI-RES are critical inputs in the development agenda for Africa.

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