Transport infrastructure foundation for economic development in Africa, says Mashatile

Transport infrastructure foundation for economic development in Africa, says Mashatile

Transport infrastructure foundation for economic development in Africa, says Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has described transport infrastructure as the cornerstone of economic expansion in Africa. 
“We must make sure that we use the discussions and deliberations of the symposium to bring tangible collaboration on bi-national projects that will strengthen the continent and its economy,” he said on Monday. 
The Deputy President was speaking at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) in Cape Town. 
He said he was confident that the gathering would establish more strategic collaborations with the other African leaders. 
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement remains an important platform for us as a continent to strengthen regional integration at both an economic and cultural level.” 
The gathering is a platform that brings together critical role players in the infrastructure investment space to accelerate an infrastructure-led economic recovery plan.
The symposium also sets the tone for collaboration and cooperation within the continent.
Meanwhile, the country’s second-in-command said he was also looking forward to the launch of the construction book, which is a repository of projects going into procurement or construction in the 2024/25 financial year. 
The Deputy President believes that this will serve as an important indicator to the market that the pipeline of projects is realisable.
“We also look forward to the announcement of the 12 infrastructure project priorities for the 2024/2025 financial year that will replenish the pipeline and receive project preparation funding from ISA [Infrastructure South Africa],” he said. 
He also reflected on the success of the Infrastructure Investment Plan adopted by Cabinet in 2020. 
The Deputy told delegates that the three central themes that anchor the plan have remained consistent throughout the sixth administration. These include quality infrastructure for development, recovery, and inclusive growth, which were all spearheaded by the government through policy development and implementation.
“When we say development, we mean both the development and delivery of infrastructure, and the development of our people through infrastructure delivery. When we say recovery, we mean the recovery of our economy through a large-scale infrastructure programme, led and championed by the government.” 
Mashatile defined inclusive growth as the redressing of spatial imbalances between urban and rural areas through infrastructure delivery programmes, which ought to address gender, racial and other inequalities. 
“The entire population should be included in the benefits associated with infrastructure investment and subsequent gross fixed capital formation,” he said. 
While challenges are restraining the fast pace of delivering quality infrastructure, the Deputy President called on the symposium to display some of the progress and successes that serve as a foundation for the incoming seventh administration. 
“In the last five years, we have put specific focus on the strategic integrated projects that have the highest GDP [gross domestic product] impact, high employment absorption capacity, and localisation potential.”
He is of the view that these projects have the potential to crowd in private sector investments due to their multiplier effect. 
“We are proud to say that of the pipeline that we gazetted both in 2020 and 2022, almost R10 billion worth of projects have completed construction, R233 billion worth of projects are currently in construction and R170 billion worth of projects are currently in procurement.” 
Some of the completed projects include Vaal Gamagara Phase 1, the raising of the Hazelmere Dam wall, student accommodation across different universities, transport projects like the Musina Ring Road, national routes and the construction of social housing.
Of these, Mashatile said significant work was done within the energy portfolio of projects. 
The energy project pipeline comprises more than 100 projects amounting to R240 billion. Some of these projects have a value of over R100 billion – spanning from transmission, gas, and renewables to green hydrogen.
The Deputy President said they have also noted the gap in the readiness and preparedness of projects for the market. However, he said in 2023, Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) received its first tranche of funding to support projects with project preparation. 
“This has proven itself a game changer as some projects show great potential but do not always have the fiscal allocation for technical support, legal support, or even capacity building.” 
According to the Deputy President, the project preparation funding allows ISA to support projects that otherwise would stay dormant for many years.
“It is important to note that of the first R200 million tranche received, 37 projects will already be receiving project preparation support.” 
Meanwhile, through coordination and support of various departments and government stakeholders, Mashatile noted that ISA has unblocked 195 permits for 47 projects. – SAnews.gov.za
 

Gabisile
Tue, 03/19/2024 – 10:50

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