African Initiatives Promote Low-Carbon Shipping, Infrastructure Development
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The IMO and EU launched a Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Africa as part of a global project to promote low-carbon shipping and tackle climate change.

PIDA Week 2017 discussed opportunities to deliver effective infrastructure and regional integration on the African continent, including through a Model Law for private sector investment in transboundary infrastructure.

13 December 2017: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU launched the African Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC-Africa), part of a project to establish a global network of centers to address climate change and promote low-carbon shipping. Also on the theme of cooperation, the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week 2017 highlighted continental free trade and the creation of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

The low-carbon shipping centers aim to serve as regional focal points for a range of activities, including improving compliance with international energy efficiency regulations, promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies in maritime transport, and establishing pilot data collection and reporting systems to contribute to a global regulatory process, in an effort to support the SDGs. The IMO and EU previously launched similar centers in Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, and are planning to launch a Latin American center in early 2018.

Speaking at the MTCC-Africa launch event in Mombasa, Kenya, Stefan Micallef, IMO, explained that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping relies on “energy efficiency and increased uptake of low-carbon technologies,” which in turn reduces fuel use and lowers emissions and operational costs. Nancy Karigithu, Kenya Maritime and Shipping Affairs, welcomed the center’s role in enhancing the African region’s capacity in promoting ship energy efficiency technologies and operations and mitigating climate change.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) organized the third Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week, from 10-14 December 2017, in Swakopmund, Namibia, to discuss the development of regional infrastructure in energy, transboundary water, transport and information and communications technology (ICT). Delegates called on UNECA member States to renew their focus on rural infrastructure development.

In a Communique, participants updated a list of priority infrastructure projects, emphasizing the use of cross-sectoral approaches, such as the water-food-energy nexus, to demonstrate the economic viability of water projects in Africa, and calling for awareness raising of opportunities for integrating ICT in PIDA projects. Participants also highlighted the planned operationalization of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in 2018 and the launch of the SAATM in January 2018 as examples of progress in Africa’s regional integration.

Speaking at the event, Soteri Gatera, UNECA, stressed the role of infrastructure development as critical to achieving both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063. Gatera also underscored the role of building capacity in both the public and private sectors to enhance the skills and knowledge needed to deliver on infrastructure projects. Gatera informed that the ECA plans to facilitate discussions on a program on capacity development for infrastructure delivery Africa.

PIDA also discussed a PIDA Model Law for private sector investment in transboundary infrastructure. The proposed law aims to ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency and sustainability of projects while facilitating private sector investment in transboundary infrastructure project and harmonizing cross-border regulation of transboundary infrastructure projects, among other aims. According to UNECA, PIDA delegates supported the proposed law and agreed to expand it to focus on skills transfer, job creation and training. The law is expected to be adopted by African Heads of State at the AU Summit in January 2018. [IMO Press Release] [Global MTCC Network Website] [UNECA Press Release on PIDA Conclusion] [UNECA Press Release on PIDA and Integration] [UNECA Press Release on PIDA Model Law] [NEPAD PIDA Website]

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