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Africa on the brink of investment decade

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Kathy Gibson reports from the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town – Africa is standing on the edge of an “investment decade” as it brings to market large infrastructure projects that can be financed by interested investors.
That’s the message from Gordon Brown, chair of the World Economic Forum Global Strategic Infrastructure Initiative and previously Prime Minister of the UK, speaking on the progress of the Central Corridor project.

“If Africa could get it’s infrastructure, it could rival the growth rates of India,” he says.

The Central Corridor is a network of road and rail infrastructure that will link Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. It includes the upgrading of the port at Dar es Salaam, inland container depots and inland waterways.

The Central Corridor planning is nearing fruition, Brown says, with four of the 51 individual projects now bankable and others on the point of being bankable.

“There is a political will in Africa to move and solve the infrastructure gap,” he says. “There is co-ordination taking place among leaders.

“President Zuma has a personal interest in moving development forward. It is clear to me that the leaders know that the growth in Africa and quality of life will rely on these things.”

Improved infrastructure will make Africa one of the leading economies of the world, Brown says.

“We are sending a message to the rest of the world that Africa is ready for projects that can be financed by interested investors.

“We are at the start of an investment decade that the solve the infrastructure gap. It will give hope that the 600-million Africans without electricity that they will have that. If they don’t have water or sanitation it will be done.

“Infrastructure may sound like a technical or boring word, but it is essential fabric to improve the lives of people in Africa.”

Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the Nepad Planning and Co-ordinating Agency, adds that the Central Corridor experience has helped to develop a governance model for future regional developments.