Djibouti, 02-06-2014: Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, and Ambassador Joseph Silva, Head of the EU Delegation to Djibouti, inaugurated a Regional Seminar on Infrastructure in Eastern-Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Region today at Djibouti Sheraton Hotel.
This two-day long seminar gathered expert delegations from the Common Market of the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Inter-governmental Organization for Development (IGAD) itself, and the European Union to discuss ways and means for development-oriented infrastructure in these regions.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Maalim welcomed the delegates to the seminar and thanked the Republic of Djibouti for hosting it. He also expressed his appreciations to the European Union for being “the most reliable and long-time development partner” with IGAD and the others Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
“The EU have always provided long term and sustainable support to us”, he said. He added that “infrastructure is key in regional development”
“The funds allocated to this huge task are not insignificant but are not meant to tackle all the needs in this area, either. So during these two days, you will have to work on prioritizing the needs in terms of infrastructure in our regions”, he reminded the audience before giving the floor to Ambassador Silva.
Ambassador Silva gave some background information on the continental seminar of Addis Ababa in October 2013 and the High Level Committee of Brussels in March 2014 that paved the way for this seminar. He agreed that “infrastructure development is critical at national level to accelerate poverty reduction, job creation and promotion of inclusive growth, and at regional level to economic integration”.
“The discussions of the coming days will focus on identification of strategic infrastructure projects in the main four sectors, which are Transport, Energy, Water, and Information and Communications Technologies”, he concluded.
The seminar was then declared open for the experts to proceed.