Transnet SOC Ltd and the NEPAD Business Foundation launched the Africa Infrastructure Desk on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at the annual NBF Founding, Platinum Members and Ambassadors luncheon to government officials, ambassadors, NBF’s corporate members, private sector and development agencies.
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. However, it is noted that Africa’s infrastructure projects have not been financed nor 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.
In order to tackle these issues, Transnet SOC Ltd and other blue chip companies have partnered with the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) to establish an Africa Infrastructure Desk (Afri-ID). The Afri-ID will focus on researching and developing projects, linking private and public sectors in deals across Africa and managing relationships that ensure implementation. This innovative research, linkage and relationship 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 terms of trade and investment. Through the Afri-ID, companies will access, collaborate and implement infrastructure project opportunities across Africa. 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.”
Also speaking at the luncheon on infrastructure investment opportunities in West and East Africa were the Ambassador of Tanzania (HE Zacharia Masanja), Ghana (HE Martha Pobee) and Kenya (HE Patrick Wamoto) and of who highlighted rail, pipeline, gas, oil and energy opportunities in their countries. Her Excellency Martha Pobee said, “Working with the private sector and with NEPAD will be important to Ghana’s development. We welcome and are eager to explore opportunities on working together more closely. The opportunity to present at this forum is most appreciated”.
As the sponsor of the establishment of the Afri-ID, Brian Molefe, Group CE of Transnet SOC Ltd said, “We envision an Africa without borders 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. On this basis, we decided to support the Afri-ID to ensure that there is high level of coordination between stakeholders to ensure implementation takes place.”