Infrastructure: Africa Infrastructure Desk (Afri-ID) - North-South Rail Corridor & Gas Project

Rail infrastructure:

We remain committed to accelerating Africa’s infrastructure development as infrastructure remains the key and critical enabler for integration and increased intra-African trade. The Afri-ID’s flagship project is the North-South Corridor rail project which demonstrates the power of collaboration for regional integration. 

The North-South Rail Corridor consists of a rail network that stretches over 3000 km from Durban in South Africa through Zimbabwe and Botswana and links to the Democratic Republic of Congo passing through Zambia. It is one of SADC’s main international rail gateways for transporting inbound and outbound cargo. The objective of the North-South Rail master plan project is to develop a seamless, safe, predictable, reliable and competitive railway service that will    increase the freight and passenger volumes transported on the corridor and to reduce the cost of rail transportation through better pricing and service strategies.  The rail corridor project will create a single coordinated operating, infrastructure and financing plan across six countries, endorsed by seven rail operators and SADC.

As neutral facilitators and the project sponsor, the NBF is responsible for coordinating the efforts of participating rail operators on the corridor which includes Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL); Grindrod/Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railways (BBR); Société Nationale des Chemins de fer du Congo (SNCC); National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ); Swaziland Railway (SR); Transnet SOC and Botswana Railways (BR). The success and speed at which this project has progressed is a testament to the level of cooperation between the partners and the role the NBF has played as facilitator.

The pre-feasibility study for the North-South Corridor Rail project has completed phase 1, with the study being in the final draft stage and now awaiting sign off by participating rail operator CEO’s in January 2018. Within only three years, the NBF has managed to bring key stakeholders together, facilitate their interactions and mobilise financial resources from the SADC Project Preparation Fund to conduct a pre-feasibility study for this massive multi-country rail project. 

Gas infrastructure:

Energy is a valuable resource required by growing and fast urbanising populations such as the SADC region. With the availability of natural gas reserves found in countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia, there is an urgent need for a regional gas masterplan to be developed to understand the full potential of these gas reserves.   The NBF’s Afri-ID will be launching the SADC Regional Gas Task force which will bring public and private sector together to support the development of the regional nascent gas sector, by bringing gas demand and supply on stream at the same time as well as stimulating broader regional demand and infrastructure investments.

We are pleased to announce that Siemens has signed on as the anchor sponsor of the Regional Gas Task Force and a project manager, Mr. John Rocha, has been appointed to lead this initiative.  

In Q4 of 2017, the NBF has had positive engagements with key public and private sector stakeholders including the SADC Secretariat, Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), Department of Energy South Africa (DOE) and the Department of Trade and Industry South Africa dti. Current plans include setting up a steering committee in January 2018 and jointly hosting a workshop with dti in March 2018. 


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