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Transport infrastructure on the African continent is on the move

Truck on an African road

Abbas Jamie's column for Transport World Africa (May 2014) focuses on the role transport infrastructure will be playing in transforming the African continent into a vibrant, economic powerhouse as Africa prepares itself for the 21st century.

The South African Government has committed to a resource plan for intensified implementation of the National Development Plan.

The National Budget adopted by cabinet shows clear expenditure allocation from consumption spending towards infrastructure investment.

In support of this focus, government has committed to spend in the region of R850 billion on infrastructure over the next three years. A large portion of this infrastructure spend will be channelled to projects in the transport, energy, health and water sectors.

The Department of Transport’s (DoT) budget is in the region of R48.7 billion, of which R20 billion is earmarked for roads and public transport programmes.

The DoT will also be spending significant amounts on passenger rail and have committed to spending R51 billion over the next three years on further infrastructure improvements and new rolling stock.

Other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are also spending substantial amounts of money on major transport infrastructure, and integration at a regional level is therefore essential.

In light of this, the South African government has embarked on a study to unpack the status of regional infrastructure and the harmonisation of transport standards in the SADC region.

Projects identified include:

  • Development of a decongestion strategy for the Maseru Border Post
  • Working with the government of Zimbabwe on a strategy to decongest Beitbridge, the biggest and busiest border post in Southern Africa
  • Ultimately a Broader Regional Corridor Strategy

Across our borders, Mozambique is one of three of the main foreign investment destinations in Africa. According to Deutsche Bank, the country will be home to infrastructure projects worth an estimated US billion over the next few years.

Brazilian multinational company Vale is investing US.5 billion in a terminal and 900 kilometres of railway to link its coal mine in Moatize to the deep water port of Nacala.

North of the South African border, The National Railways of Zimbabwe has secured a million loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to rehabilitate its ailing infrastructure.

On the West coast, the Angolan government has committed US billion for transport and infrastructure over the next 20 years.

As Africa prepares itself for the 21st century, transport infrastructure will be playing a major role in transforming the continent into a vibrant, economic powerhouse.

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