ECA unveils model law on transboundary infrastructure development in Africa

| Updated Aug 25, 2017 at 1:00pm



The Economic Commission for Africa has unveiled the Model Law, which provides a framework for the harmonization of cross-border rules, regulations, laws and policies governing transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa.

The Model Law, unveiled at the annual Nigerian Bar Association conference, is expected to be adopted by African Heads of State and Government at their January Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, paving the way for more transparency, efficiency and accountability with regards to public and private sector engagement in transboundary infrastructure.

Adeyinka Adeyemi, Senior Advisor and Head of Regional Integration and Infrastructure Cluster in the ECA's Capacity Development Division, said there were many challenges facing investment in transboundary infrastructure in Africa.

He said "There is high level of political support and enthusiasm for transboundary infrastructure in Africa," adding there was now greater understanding of the risks and how to mitigate them.

In his presentation titled "Taking advantage of opportunities for investment in transboundary infrastructure in Africa", he said the model law addresses concerns of foreign investors and would be domesticated by African nations once adopted by its leaders in January.

The law will also facilitate private sector investment and financing in transboundary infrastructure projects; Harmonize cross-border regulation of such projects; And promote intra-African trade and open domestic markets to international trade.

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.

Mr. Adeyemi is confident the Model Law addresses the concerns of the private sector in transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa.