Big Cities Infrastructure Prioritisation
Cities are burdened with aging and failing infrastructure in some areas on the one hand, as well as huge development and service delivery needs in previously disadvantaged areas on the other. In many cities across Africa, government institutions that are charged with the responsibility of delivering and maintaining infrastructure have become stretched by skills shortages and increased maintenance responsibilities. Regular long term reinvestments and refurbishment schedules that is required to maintain infrastructure assets have not been adhered to. Moreover, many assets are being utilised beyond their planned lifespan and are being employed to service much greater population densities than originally planned for.
Investment in key infrastructure projects is needed
Infrastructure delivery targets outlined in the National Plans and Visions across Africa Cities require large sums to be invested to further social, economic, service delivery and capacity goals. Cities’s have a large database of proposed infrastructure projects with the need to select the best infrastructure projects to meet their goals. While Cities need to ensure alignment with National Plans and Visions priorities, they also have their own mandates from the electorate, as well as City-specific needs. At the same time Cities need to ensure system integrity is managed, and sectoral backlogs and capacity requirements are met.
In addition to this, Cities also need to select the infrastructure projects that deliver the greatest benefits, with the least risk, as affordably as possible. And at the end, Cities need to select the infrastructure projects that will contribute most to the community and the sustainability of the City over the long term.
Concerns regarding the prioritisation processes
While many acceptable infrastructure projects are proposed, there is some difficulty in prioritising the project implementation. Cities have expressed the following concerns regarding their prioritisation processes:
- Short term infrastructure projects are favoured over long term infrastructure projects
- Sustainability goals are not considered holistically
- Political interests bias decisions
- Risks are not adequately accounted for
- Economic impact is poorly evaluated
- Funding and financing of infrastructure projects is not adequately assessed
- Operation and maintenance costs are not properly evaluated or included in the capital budgeting process
- Project dependencies and localization criteria are not suitably incorporated
The key challenges
Cutting across these planning weaknesses are some key challenges in resources, processes, systems and institutions.
- Shortages in skilled planning staff and or time available to undertake the process
- Limited technical resources
- Short term planning and budgeting horizons
- Silo planning between departments
- Weak project planning processes and systems
Within these challenges and weaknesses identified, Cities need to prioritise the infrastructure projects that are most strategic and generate the greatest impact in terms of economic growth and sustainability.What are your views on the prioritisation processes and do you agree with the concerns expressed by the Cities?
About Femi OkeRelentless passion for creativity and digital acumen to help a professional services firm thrive in the digital space. Femi is an individual with a rich experience on regional African knowledge, its diverse business culture and he understands the continent’s economic drive. He thrives on selfless service and lasting mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues and especially clients encountered in the course of his duties. He is creative, practical and self-motivated with business judgement in corporate, brand and strategic communications, social, digital & traditional media and executive profiling. Roles in the firm include New Media, Digital Communication, Corporate Communication, executive profiling and Brand Management execution. Working on the multi-million dollar Africa high growth market project stands out for femi; besides this, managing all KPMG’s digital communication for the World Economic Forum on Africa is another project that gives him great delight. Femi holds a Masters Degree in Global Marketing from the University of Liverpool.
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