Transnet and the NEPAD Business Foundation launched the Africa Infrastructure Desk yesterday in Sandton, yesterday, with an aim of oiling infrastructure development investment across the continent.
The parties said infrastructure continues to be Africa’s missing link to developing integrated intra-Africa regional trade. With less than 10% intra-African trade, increased infrastructure availability is a critical means to promote trade and investment.
They added that Africa’s infrastructure projects have not been financed or implemented quickly enough. Lack of information, inconsistent cross-border policy and poor project bankability has limited the pursuit of commercial and investment interests in infrastructure.
The Africa Infrastructure Desk was designed to address bottlenecks. The desk will focus on researching and developing projects, linking private and public sectors in deals across Africa and managing relationships that ensure implementation.
The partners said the platform will contribute to the development of investment and commercial opportunities for participating companies, allow coordination on pursuing projects, provide leading information on developments in infrastructure and allow engagement between public and private sector. The Africa Infrastructure Desk will have meaningful impact for spatial and industrial development, as well as regional integration in SADC and the North South Corridor.
Speaking about the partnership Lynette Chen, CEO of the NBF said, “Africa’s infrastructure deficit is crippling the continent in trade and investment. Through the Afri-ID, 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 (PIDA) programme. Transnet and the NBF’s partnership reflects the potential that private and public sector could have to harness resources and skills to tackle the huge infrastructure deficit while ensuring local empowerment.”
As the sponsor of the establishment of the Afri-ID, Brian Molefe, CEO of Transnet said, “We envision 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. We therefore decided to support and fund the Afri-ID at the NEPAD Business Foundation, to ensure that there is a high level of coordination between stakeholders to ensure implementation takes place.”