ADDIS ABABA: Africa’s current vast infrastructure deficit is a big constraint to continental development, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde said on Tuesday.
The president made the remarks during the joint opening session of the eighth edition of the African Engineering Week and the sixth Africa Engineering Conference, which is underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “Our continent Africa has a number of priority areas for its development. But there is one that clearly stands above the others and that is infrastructure. Africa has a vast infrastructure deficit. It is a big constraint in its growth,” Zewde said. “We have seen, one year into its implementation, that the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement holds much potential for the future of African trade and cooperation,” the Ethiopian president said. “It has a great potential to contribute to the realization of structural transformation of our continent. But the connection within our respective countries as well as intra-Africa relations is far from being at the required level.”
According to Zwede, the African continent should invest in infrastructure connectivity so as to realize the continent’s flagship development aspirations. She emphasized the need to invest heavily in infrastructure development and regional connectivity as a mainstay for socioeconomic development in Africa. “There is a need for important investment to fill the gap. The effort in infrastructure needs to be supported by the development of soft skills through engineering education and enhancement of technical skills,” she added.