18 July 2006
South Africa’s Public Investment Commission (PIC) is to create a continent-wide 25-year equity fund to mobilise local and international investment for infrastructure development in Africa.
The PIC, which includes the Government Employees Pension Fund, has around R600-billion in assets under management, making it the largest fund management initiative in South Africa and one which “compares favourably with the rest of the world,” Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told journalists in Cape Town in June.
PIC chief executive Brian Molefe, speaking at the same media briefing, said the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund would target pension funds from across continent, and had already set up an office and put together a team with an eye to raising around US$1-billion from Africa by the end of 2006/07.
“Then we will go to the international investor community to mobilise another two to three billion [dollars],” Molefe said.
Manuel said the fund would initially focus on transport, energy, water and sanitation, and telecommunications infrastructure investments. “It will focus on projects that can contribute to the regional integration of the continent and that will have regional impact,” the finance minister said.
Molefe said the infrastructure backlog on the continent had been estimated at around $120-billion US, “and it is clearly right that Africans should engage the challenge.”
Rural, township property development
Molefe also announced that the PIC would spend around R1-billion on property development – mostly in shopping centres in South Africa’s townships and rural areas – over the next three years.
He said the PIC’s “Project Rural” would merge its Community Property Fund with Government Employees Pension Fund retail properties to create a vehicle – which already owns property valued at around R1-billion – that would be “at the forefront of township and rural developments and has projects in the pipeline which will double the size of the fund over the next three years.”
SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews