Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - A European Union (EU) funded Regional Investment Conference on Energy, Transport and Water ended in Accra at the weekend with commitments from the participants to facilitate investments between the EU and the African-Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The Investment Conferences in Public Utilities and Transport (INPUT) is a component of the PRO?INVEST-CDE programme, a common initiative of the EU aimed at mobilising the major actors, to address the major challenges of ACP States. The two-day conference that attracted 350 participants from 39 countries, comprising 160 private sector representatives deliberated on how to package investments in East, Central and West Africa and the identification of economic operators and bringing them together for partnerships.
Mr Niyongabo Phillippe, Head of the Energy Division, African Union, who read the declaration of the conference, said improving training, management and capacity-building were still crucial issues in ACP states. There was consensus on the need for adequate and quality of service in a competitive environment and the essence of not compromising safety and security issues in the transport sector. "Funding the immense investment requirements for infrastructure remains a major challenge. Applying innovative solutions and financing public utilities and transport sectors, for example public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects and adapting specialised investments funds for small and medium-sized enterprises, are a priority", he said.
The conference also agreed on the need to develop and intensify peer networks to jointly address common issues such as regulation and management. Mr Paul Frix, Minister Counsellor and Belgium Permanent Representative to the EU, said Africa must ensure peace and stability in the Region to attract investments. He said the natural resources in Africa and the new emerging countries in Asia was of interest to EU hence the need for transparency in doing things.
Mr Kwamena Bartels, Ghana Minister of Private Sector Development and PSI, said in a welcoming speech that the INPUT initiative was a natural and commendable progression of the commitment by the EU to assist in the development objectives of Africa. "It is my hope and expectation that this conference will mark the beginning of true partnerships between European and African economic operators in water, transport and energy. "I say, let this conference initiate business partnerships that will contribute to expanded growth in public utilities and transport in Africa" he said.