Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for efficient infrastructure development in Africa to create a competitive environment which can support economic activities in the continent.
Obasanjo made the call at the opening ceremony of the 3rd International Conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa in Abeokuta on Monday.
The conference was organised by the Bells University of Technology, Ota, in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
The theme of the conference is “Environmental Sustainability, Safety and Health in Infrastructure Development in Africa”.
“The creation of adequate and efficient infrastructure, particularly in the areas of energy, telecommunications, transport, housing and other civil works to bring about a positive and internationally competitive environment for economic activities is needed in Africa.
“Without adequate infrastructural base, efforts at socio-economic development, growth and progress will amount to futility and our youths will wallow in unemployment, frustration and premature death,” he said.
He, therefore, called for the creation of a platform for infrastructural development which could address Africa’s environmental challenges.
Obasanjo noted that such could be enhanced through research and interaction with experts from developed and developing nations so as to contribute to the existing knowledge in environmental sustainability.
The former president also called for a change in policies and techniques in order to adequately address Africa’s challenges of human insecurity such as food, power, transportation and health care.
He urged participants at the conference to break new grounds for progress in infrastructure development.
Earlier, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Prof. Olusegun Areola, noted that infrastructure was a critical element of the human environment system.
Areola, Dean, College of Environmental Sciences of the Bells University of Technology, noted that infrastructure had been poorly developed and managed in most African countries.
He said the development had resulted in the low capacity of most African environments to facilitate or support productive enterprise.
The chairman said the conference was meant to address such continental challenges.