Jun 19, 2009
China responding positively to Africa’s desire for infrastructureBack
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“Because of the huge upfront costs, the private sector has shied away from investing in the sector but, in many cases, African governments cannot afford to foot the bill themselves,” he said.
While international response to Nepad infrastructure had been initially lukewarm, it, nevertheless, improved in the latter part of the decade, Rocha said.
There were at least 20 bankable projects in Africa, and China, in particular, had
responded to the opportunities and had
invested more than $10-billion.
Rocha pointed out that, in the Maputo Development Corridor, there had been an opportunity for an aluminium smelter, which had resulted in a highway being built between Gauteng and Maputo, at a cost of $5-billion.
Two corridors are currently in the pipeline – the central corridor, which would soon go out to tender and would comprise a refinery and oil storage tanks in a plan to upgrade the Dar-es-Salaam port – and the $1,6-billion north–south development corridor, in Zambia.
Rocha said there were four key priorities to Africa’s infrastructure development: energy, informationa and communication technology (ICT) and transport, and water and sanitation.
However, Rocha said the submarine cable running up the west coast of the continent would connect African countries directly with their destinations and thus help reduce business costs.
ICT companies had, however, invested in the continent while there were serious constraints in other sectors.
Transport was also a huge cost to business and it was sometimes cheaper to fly to London than to other African countries, Rocha said.
High transport costs added to the cost of building materials, making it nearly impossible to build roads in the DRC, with a bag of cement, for example, costing $4 in South Africa, compared with $25 in some other African countries.
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