•Raila expressed concerns over an infrastructure gap in Africa, saying the trend had slowed down the development aspirations over the years.
•He noted that the region needed more investment in infrastructure to be able to tap available economic potentials through inter-trade opportunities as well as achieve full growth.
There is a need for increased investment towards the realization of infrastructural development, African Union's high representative for infrastructure Raila Odinga has said.
Raila expressed concerns over an infrastructure gap in Africa saying the trend had slowed down the development aspirations over the years.
He noted that the region needed more investment in infrastructure to be able to tap available economic potentials through inter-trade opportunities as well as achieve full growth.
"It is estimated by African Development Bank that Africa needs about 170 billion dollars per annum to be able to meet her infrastructural needs. This means that there is a capacity deficiency in the African Infrastructure," he said on Tuesday.
He added that the above figures show the deficit stands at around 110 billion dollars.
Raila further stated that the economic fortunes of the continent had remained stifled due to inadequate infrastructure.
"The dwindling trade between African continents was linked to adequate infrastructure that connects these countries. We recognize infrastructure development as a priority key ingredient for economic development, regional trade and integration of the continent. Infrastructure wars will make or break the continental free trade area,” he said.
He added: “The inter-African trade is just 15 per cent while inter-European trade is at 70 per cent, inter-Asian trade stands at 50 per cent while South American trade stands at 25 per cent".
Raila was speaking in Kisumu on Tuesday during the first day of the Africities Conference at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium.
He said there was a need for proper planning for urban city development. It is projected that the African population will hit 2 billion people by 2050.
“It is therefore obvious that we are already out of time to have our cities and urban areas connected by road, rail, air, ICT and waterway. That also means that we are not prepared for meaningful industrialization, urbanization and economic growth that all depend on requisite infrastructure,” he added.
Raila, however, noted that the AU as enshrined in its infrastructure agenda 2023 is undertaking 19 new ports in the continent and about 20 new airports with a view to improving the transport network.
He stated that air transport in Africa is too expensive because of bureaucracies and the lack of proper infrastructure on the continent.