NEPAD Transport and Infrastructure Summit,copyright to Cape Media 2010
2 July 2009
NEPAD Summit to speed up work on trans-Africa highwaysKey to success of regional integration The inaugural NEPAD Transport Summit 2009 and Africa Expo -- the first of what is expected to be an annual event in Africa‚Äôs regional transport hubs -- will take place in Johannesburg on 25-26 November to promote regional integration across the continent through its transport networks.
The African Union has identified the regional integration of national economies through NEPAD -- the New Partnership for Africa's Development -- as the answer to the continent's chronic poverty, hunger and lack of growth. And the key to the NEPAD programme is swift, efficient and economic cross-border transport.
Decision-makers from African ministries of transport, trade, finance and communications, the African Union, NEPAD and Regional Economic Communities will meet at the Summit with senior executives in the private sector from major transport and logistics companies, international experts in transcontinental transport and representatives from development banks, world aid and donor-funding agencies.
They will discuss and seek ways to prioritise, speed up and integrate national action plans on transport involving road, rail and ports; and to increase awareness of the huge potential for trade, regional funding and foreign investment.
The main focus will be on Africa's key cross-border arteries and their importance in regional integration. These arteries include:
*The North-South corridor which links the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the Zambian Copper belt and the DRC, then runs through Zimbabwe and Botswana to Durban, with other corridor links to Namibia and Mozambique. It also has connections to the Great Lakes in the north and Malawi in the east.
*NEPAD's East-West corridor concept, covering the entire West, Central and East African regions from Dakar in Senegal through Lagos in Nigeria and on to Nairobi in Kenya and the port of Mombasa.
The Summit will also hear about progress with the Yamoussoukro decision of 1998 to promote the liberalisation of air transport in Africa and NEPAD's role in this process.
Other areas for broad-ranging discussion will be: cross-border formalities and red tape; new trade opportunities and markets; construction and maintenance; and public-private partnerships, private sector finance and international aid.
An unusual feature of the Summit, which is being organised by Cape Media's events division, will be the African Trade and Investment Expo (ATIEX).
Said Summit director Tanitha Jolly: ‚ÄúIn addition to the international exhibitors, the Expo will incorporate a Hall of Nations which will house the national pavilions of the countries through which the corridors run. Here the countries will be able to showcase their products, services and resources -- and the trade and investment benefits on offer.
"There will also be a presentation area and lounges for networking and business where these countries will be able to discuss the enormous impact the corridors will have for growth and development."
She added; "The indications are that for Africa the NEPAD Transport Summit will be one of the most important events on the business calendar this year."