KIGALI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- African economies need to come up with innovative approaches to mobilize funds to finance infrastructure development as a prerequisite for deepening continental integration, experts said Monday.
Innovative strategies that will help mobilize funds and bridge the gap in infrastructure are needed as Africa focus on implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), said Hanan Morsy, director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Development at the African Development Bank, at a panel session during the African Economic Conference in Rwandan capital city Kigali.
There is a need to mobilize ways of funding infrastructure development, for instance using sovereign wealth funds, diaspora funds and the private equity, said Morsy.
Africa's infrastructure development needs are substantial and go beyond what donors and continental, regional and multilateral development banks can provide, according to Kipyego Cheluget, assistant secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
African economies need to think of innovative approaches to mobilize funds from the private sector to finance infrastructure, said Dieudonne Dukundane, chief executive officer of Central Corridor Transport and Transit Facilitation Agency, a multilateral agency formed by an agreement by the five governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
African countries need to focus on the areas where returns are sufficient to attract the private sector, he said.
Experts at the panel session said Africa's infrastructure deficit has been the root of many challenges for regional and continental integration, for example inadequate roads, ports and railway networks have considerably raised the cost of transportation and trade in Africa.
The 13th edition of the annual conference, organized by the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is held under the theme "Regional and Continental Integration for Africa's Development."
The conference that runs to Wednesday, focuses, among others, on initiatives for accelerating progress in infrastructure integration, including the removal of barriers for movement of people and goods and services across borders.