Localisation in infrastructure development across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is critical for industrialisation, according to African Integration and Industry chief director Nigel Gwynne-Evans, who spoke at the SADC Industrialisation Week in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Gwynne-Evans stated that all SADC member States should prioritise localisation in infrastructure development, adding that these developments would require long-term government plans and considerable preparation to achieve the requisite skills and industrial capacity to meet demand.
These, he said, would add to the build-up and opportunities to meet the demand for infrastructure.
“State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have a critical role to play in creating the environment that attracts the private sector to invest. The South African Department of Trade and Industry has worked closely with SOEs around driving localisation,” he noted.
Gwynne-Evans added that, from an industrialisation perspective, infrastructure could be a driver through the provision of key services and equipment on large-scale projects.
He noted that the gas sector was a game changer for the region and that, from an economic perspective, it needed a focused and holistic approach on how it could be developed throughout the region.
He said the resources on both the east and west coasts presented an opportunity to transform many lives in the region though the oil and gas sector.
Gwynne-Evans further outlined that there was no shortage of funding from the private sector for projects.
“The challenge in the region is getting bankable and investable projects in the rail, road and power sectors. The focus must be on how to make these projects ready and attractive to the private sector, using concessionary funding such as that provided by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the African Development Bank. “