12 June 2015
Infrastructure investment spending has quadrupled, exports have increased and Africa is receiving a growing share of foreign direct investment, according to President Jacob Zuma.
“It is not surprising therefore that infrastructure development took centre stage at the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting in Cape Town on 3 to 5 June,” he said.
“These positive trends come on the back of improved governance and a much sounder approach to macroeconomic management in our continent. We need to sustain these trends and deepen them,” Zuma said yesterday during the President’s Co-ordinating Council (PCC) meeting at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.
At the meeting were premiers and local government representatives; it was held to discuss governance and how to improve the performance of government at all three levels.
Infrastructure development work in all provinces and municipal metros is co- ordinated through the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC), led by the president. The president also chairs the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI), a programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. It reports to the agency’s Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee.
The PICI aims to facilitate continuous dialogue and work to boost infrastructure development. South Africa was given the task of co-ordinating the North-South Corridor, focusing on road and rail. The initiative links heads of state and government to specific infrastructure corridors to ensure strategic political leadership in the championing of cross-border infrastructure projects.
It is primarily tasked with bringing visibility to the infrastructure projects, facilitating the unblocking of bottlenecks and any political impasse, providing leadership in resource mobilisation and subsequently ensuring speedy implementation.
“Infrastructure development is one of our key job drivers together with tourism, manufacturing, mining and beneficiation, the green and blue economies and agriculture,” Zuma said.
“We are refurbishing and building new schools, clinics and hospitals; we are building three universities and 12 training and vocational education colleges; and we are constructing and improving rail, roads, ports, broadband, roads, dams and power stations.
“What we are doing in the country dovetails with the continental infrastructure programme.”
Catalyst for economic development
Regional integration is the key and infrastructure development is a catalyst for economic development on the continent. Many of the regional economic communities have developed regional infrastructure plans to facilitate regional trade and investments. However, it is also important to invest in national infrastructure, in addition to regional infrastructure.
These are projects that should ultimately unlock the economic potential of the continent and provide development opportunities for communities, cities and regions.
The North-South Corridor championed by South Africa is a multimodal and multidimensional infrastructure corridor that includes road, rail, border posts, bridges, ports, energy and other related infrastructure. It passes through 12 countries – Tanzania, Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
These projects form the nucleus of the implementation of the broader Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida). Pida is a multi-sector programme covering transport, energy, transboundary water and telecommunications and ICT. It is dedicated to facilitating continental integration in Africa through improved regional infrastructure and is designed to support implementation of the African Union Abuja Treaty and the creation of the African economic Community.
Pida is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Co-ordination Agency and the African Development Bank.
Progress has been made by the championing countries to bring these projects to a reality, which will be discussed at the 33rd Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting tomorrow.