Statement by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
6 April 2021
New York, USA
Mr. Gideon Mmolawa, Director of International Trade, Ministry of Trade, Botswana
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me a great pleasure to address this closing session.
Allow me to first convey special thanks and appreciation to the Government of Botswana for co-organizing this training session.
I would like to thank the resource persons and representatives of African Development Bank, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, UNECA, UNECE, UNOPS as well as African Union Development Agency/NEPAD for sharing important knowledge on developing bankable transport infrastructure projects for enhanced connectivity.
I thank all the participants who have attended the training, raised pertinent questions and shared experiences on enhancing transport connectivity in your countries.
I would like to congratulate all of you for your dedication and active engagement in the learning experience.
Indeed, I have heard a lot of good feedback.
I understand that your learning experience covered a wide breadth of topics from the key steps involved in project preparation to how to secure funding for the projects, to upstream soft infrastructure issues such as policies, institutions, legislation and regulatory approaches.
I also understand that the training showcased a wide variety of case study examples to illustrate the key points in developing bankable infrastructure projects, the challenges involved and how they were dealt with.
I also understand that there was intense discussion on some issues such as the critical role of de-risking infrastructure projects in order to attract other sources of funding; how to shorten the project preparation process from project definition to financial close; the important role of government in prioritizing projects; what to do with projects that have undergone feasibility assessment but many years have passed with them not securing the needed financing; the innovative sources of financing that are available and how to tap on them; and how to make public-private-partnerships work for transport infrastructure projects.
I am informed about the numerous initiatives to support transport connectivity that were presented and discussed in the meeting such as: the Africa50 infrastructure Fund; PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism to support regional project preparation; the PIDA Quality Label - a quality recognition awarded to projects that excel in project preparation; and International Transport Infrastructure Observatory – just to name a few.
I also understand that one area that resonated in your discussion was the need to adopt integrated corridor approach as a means to promote transport connectivity and overall sustainable development. Indeed, this is an area that OHRLLS actively promotes because it is at the heart of the Vienna Programme of Action.
I am also informed that the learning experience in this workshop stressed the crucial role of capacity building for the entire life cycle of the project from definition to implementation to its commissioning. I do agree with the consensus that each transport infrastructure project proposal should have built in required capacity needed to ensure its success.
I am also informed that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transport connectivity and some responses to support sustainable recovery were discussed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me finish by saying that you all have worked hard, but in fact, the real work only starts now. This is the beginning of our concerted efforts to work together with our partners to support the capacity needs of landlocked and transit countries in promoting transport connectivity.
As I said in the opening immediately after this training workshop, we plan to establish an online platform where you can continue to exchange data and experiences. Our resource person has already introduced the platform to you and I encourage you to join and share your experiences.
Later this year, we plan to establish a community of practice in the context of the LLDC national focal points network.
Again, later in the year, we also plan to organize another training. We hope to continue collaborating with our partners the UNECA, African Development Bank, World Bank, UNOPS, AUDA-NEPAD, Islamic Development Bank and others to promote sustainable transport connectivity for LLDCs.
I wish to encourage you to complete the evaluation of this training workshop that will be shared with you today as it shall help us shape our future capacity building activities.
In concluding my remarks, I would like to thank all of you once again for your engagement.
My great appreciation goes to the interpreters for their important support to our training workshop.
I want to thank the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund of the United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund for supporting this training workshop.
Let me end by assuring you that My Office will continue to facilitate capacity building activities to enhance transport connectivity for land-locked developing countries.
I look forward to continue working closely with you to advance the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.