Manuel to tackle African infrastructure

26 October 2010

South African Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel is to help President Jacob Zuma with his work on a New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) sub-committee responsible for mobilising resources for infrastructure development on the continent.

The Presidency said in a statement on Monday that Manuel – who is responsible for South Africa’s National Planning Commission – would help Zuma in his role as the African Union champion of the north-south infrastructure development corridor on the continent.

“We have the enormous task of promoting tangible action, and have to mobilise resources for the development of infrastructure on the continent,” Zuma said in the statement.

“Minister Manuel and I will work closely together to ensure that South Africa fulfils its continental responsibilities on infrastructure … We trust that we will be able to mobilise the private sector to work with us on this massive but very important project.”

Zuma is the “political champion” of road and rail links between the north and south of the continent as a member of Nepad’s high level sub-committee on infrastructure.

The sub-committee includes heads of state from South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal.

A ministerial group on infrastructure is being established to support the designated heads of state. Manuel has been tasked with this role for South Africa in line with his national planning responsibilities.

The Presidency said the ministerial group was set to work on the “concept document” of prioritised projects generated by a task team and other “expert institutions”.

The group will also monitor the implementation of projects on behalf of the heads of state.

The announcement followed weekend reports that Zuma was set to make several “possible key changes” to his Cabinet, which was holding a special meeting on Monday on a new economic growth strategy.

One possible change was the departure of Manuel to take up a senior position either at the World Bank or in Nepad, reports said.

Sapa