Despite the perception that Africa is poor, the continent is rich with opportunity and there is enough private sector money to partner with governments and state institutions on the continent to speed up the roll-out of infrastructure and build programmes.
This is according to Liz Hart, managing director of Infrastructure Africa, the two day event which takes place next week at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on the 21st and 22nd August.
“There is greater scope for Africa’s private sector sources of finance to commit to financing infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships (PPP),” she says, adding that in previous years, Africa’s private sectors have lagged behind other emerging markets and developing economies where approximately 20 percent of infrastructure expenditure is financed by private sources.
According to Hart, intra-African trade sits at around 11% and if Africa could boost its regional integration levels, it would boost its economic growth plans. “There is power in numbers and collaboration on infrastructure projects between African nations would be to the benefit of Africa as a whole, while also bringing down the costs of doing business.
“The story of Africa’s development is an exciting one, with enormous untapped potential still to be accessed and realised, especially in the infrastructure space. Infrastructure is the key to Africa’s socio-economic transformation and faster growth, but requires the collaboration of experts and policy makers, which is what the Infrastructure Africa conference is all about,” says Hart.
The way forward will be examined in light of Agenda 2063’s goals for Africa’s infrastructure growth and development. Agenda 2063, which represents the AU’s vision for unity, self-determination, progress and collective prosperity, is a shared framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development to be achieved by 2063.
The idea was birthed and agreed upon by the African leaders in 2013 during the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, and was ratified in 2015. It is the African Union’s plan for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years and includes the AU’s infrastructure plan to expedite Africa’s build programmes.
The African Union’s Agenda 2063 presents a framework for a future integrated Africa that is prosperous, peaceful and productive and where all its citizens are in a position to develop their potential. The plan is to promote sustainable and long-term stewardship of Africa’s heritage and resources, placing Africa in a position to drive its own development, while accelerating socio-economic growth and technological transformation, with the resultant eradication of poverty and gender discrimination.
Agenda 2063’s infrastructure goals for Africa include well-developed ICT and digital economies as well as world-class transport infrastructures such as high-speed railway networks and roads, supported by efficient sea and air transport. A Pan-African High Speed Train Network will connect all the major cities of the continent, with adjacent highways and pipelines for gas, oil, water, as well as ICT Broadband cables and other infrastructure. This will be a catalyst for manufacturing, skills development, technology, research and development, investments and tourism.
The planned world-class infrastructures will promote Africa’s socio-economic growth and sustainable development and will see intra-African trade growing from less than 12% in 2013 to approaching 50% by 2045. By 2063, Africa’s share of global trade will rise from 2% to 12%, making Africa an important player on the international stage.
“However,” says Hart, “achieving these goals requires collaboration by relevant stakeholders such as those represented at next week’s Infrastructure Africa Business Forum.”
The event has the highest level of African and South African endorsement for an infrastructure event on the continent and provides the business platform for private and public sector players seeking to meet African infrastructure project owners.
The event partners are the NEPAD Planning & Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) and Trade Invest Africa. Strategic corporate sponsors have aligned themselves to the Infrastructure Africa Business Forum and include Liquid Telecom, DBSA, Trade & Development Bank and ECIC.
There is still time to register for the event. Visit: www.infrastructure-africa.com.