15 January 2009 – Infrastructure and regional integration are at the centre of African Development Bank operations as the bank commits itself to a development approach which gives high priority to regional cooperation and integration.
Having identified infrastructure and regional integration as major parameters for economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa, the Bank has been entrusted by NEPAD with leading this development.
As part of the leadership role, the Bank has committee funds to power interconnections between five countries in a project totally US$149 million. The interconnection between the Nile Equatorial Lakes Countries project consists of the construction and upgrading of 800 km of power transmission lines to interconnect the electricity grids of 5 countries (Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda). With coverage of 286,350 km² over the Nile Equatorial Lakes Basin, the project seeks to improve the living conditions of an estimated population of 135 million by enhancing the availability of affordable electricity. It will improve the quality and impact of national development programmes in such areas as education, health, communication, administration, water supply and sanitation by allowing efficiency gains from the use of electricity, especially in rural areas that do not yet have access to modern energy services.
Under the Bank’s leadership, efforts are currently underway to strengthen the capacity of regional institutions to act as effective facilitators of regional infrastructure development. The African Union Commission is coordinating plans and priorities to establish a single vision for cross-border infrastructure and will be hosting The Twelfth African Union Summit of Heads of States and Government meeting, in February 2009, which will be devoted to Africa’s infrastructure.