At a recent European External Investment Plan meeting in Accra, Ghana; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) said; it wishes to prioritise investments in the transport and energy sectors.
The External Investment Plan meeting enables its participants; to share and exchange ideas and also review information concerning the region’s development. The selection of the Energy and Transport sectors is due to their potential to facilitate free movement and trade and in the long run economic progress.
According to the Commissioner of Infrastructure at ECOWAS, Pathe Gueye; poor transport infrastructure is a key factor affecting intra-trade in Africa. Poor road conditions, poor coordination of road management and high cost of transportation; have all affected the ultimate goal of intra-trade in this region.
It is even very bad that asides the roads, the rail systems are also not working. Rail networks are not interconnected and they are also outdated.
There have however been a new era of European Union and West Africa cooperation especially in supporting the transport and energy governing bodies. The cooperation have seen investments in the form of mixed financing for the infrastructure sector.
Mr Gueye said, recently the European Union (EU) and West Africa signed a major financing agreement of €1,150 million for various sectors including transport and energy.
There have been an initial investment of €330 million in infrastructure; approximately €168 million went to energy and €162 million to transport. Also, an allocation of €70 million have been made to governing bodies, €32 million for energy and €38 million for transport.
All the above investments, have served as finance for seven energy projects and ten transport projects in West Africa. Currently, the region is planning to develop new portfolio of projects.