Tackling Africa’s infrastructure deficit

7 June 2013

South African state company Transnet and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) Business Foundation have launched the Africa Infrastructure Desk, a platform for linking the private and public sectors in getting infrastructure projects implemented across Africa.

The “innovative research, linkage and relationship platform” will provide information on infrastructure developments, help develop investment opportunities for companies, and facilitate engagement between the public and private sector, Transnet said at the launch of the desk in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The aim is to make a meaningful impact on spatial and industrial development, as well as regional integration, in the southern African region and sub-Saharan Africa’s north-south corridor.

According to Nepad, infrastructure continues to be Africa’s “missing link” when it comes to developing integrated intra-Africa regional trade. While intra-African trade falls far below the continent’s potential, infrastructure projects suffer from “lack of information, inconsistent cross-border policy, and poor project bankabilit”.

“Africa’s infrastructure deficit is crippling the continent in trade and investment,” Nepad Business Foundation (NBF) CEO Lynette Chen said in a statement. “Transnet and the NBF’s partnership reflects the potential that the private and public sector could have to harness resources and skills to tackle the huge infrastructure deficit while ensuring local empowerment.”

Through the Africa Infrastructure Desk, Chen said, “companies will access, collaborate and implement infrastructure project opportunities across Africa. Through Nepad, access to public and private sectors will be managed on the basis of political and regulatory certainty through strong alignment with Nepad’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.”

Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said the partnership envisioned “an Africa without borders, an Africa that is seamlessly linked from Cape to Cairo by efficient infrastructure.

“But in order to achieve this vision, closer collaboration, partnership and coordination between all stakeholders, including government and private sector, is required to find joint solutions to implementing these large-scale infrastructure projects.”

SAinfo reporter