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PPPs the way forward for African infrastructure

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With Africa being touted as the ‘new frontier’ for infrastructure development, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat has started developing an “infrastructure development master plan”, reports Engineering News, which will deal with an estimated $100-billion deficit in the region’s roads, railways, ports and inland waterways, power, communication and water infrastructure.

The new developments are in addition to the infrastructure projects already being implemented across the region.
Prompted by a recent World Bank-initiated study that estimated Africa’s yearly infrastructure deficit at $91-billion, while the yearly infrastructure gap stood at $31-billion, the region’s Finance & Economic Planning Ministers also agreed to proceed with a workshop in March to strategise the development of a new SADC fund to support the direct financing of infrastructure projects in the territory.
Public private partnerships (PPPs) are widely recognised as a vehicle to assist governments close material, financial, managerial and technical gaps, while supporting further regional infrastructure integration. SADC’s Deputy Executive Secretary for regional integration João Caholo recognises this by stating that the plan – the finalisation of which was accelerated following the inaugural meeting of SADC’s Infrastructure Ministers in Zimbabwe last year – would seek to leverage private sector funding and partnerships to alleviate public financing constraints. The new finance and investment partnership model in line with SADC’s protocol calls for greater economic policy convergence and regulatory harmonisation to remove restrictions to greater economic integration.
The same ministers from the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development in Uganda, the Ministry of Finance in Kenya, the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning in Ghana as well as from the PPP Unit at the Department of National Treasury in South Africa will attend PPP Investment Summit in June to discuss and debate successful strategies and models for structuring and financing PPPs across Africa.
The Johannesburg-based summit facilitates discussions on leveraging PPP opportunities and highlights the vision for infrastructure growth as one of the most important drivers to ensure service delivery goals are achieved.