In the face of growing international competition in Sub-Saharan Africa, South African-based companies need to take a long-term strategic view of the region and how best to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the industrial and energy evolution that is taking place, combined with increasing urbanisation in many African countries. Infrastructure development is viewed as a crucial ingredient to foster growth and productivity in the region.
Many businesses think of countries or regions in Africa as single-driver opportunities, which when buoyant, offer great short-term opportunities, but when depressed, signal the time to leave. But Sub-Saharan Africa’s mining and energy belts that were initial drivers of development have opened up support for infrastructure opportunities that offer growth prospects in the longer term.
Africa is urbanising at breakneck speeds, which means the need for infrastructure such as bypasses, bridges, new highways and new technologies need to be deployed in congested areas where traditional methods cannot work. The total population in the continent is projected to reach almost 2.5 billion people by 2050 with about 55% living in urban areas. This is a significant increase given that less than 10% of Africa's population resided in urban areas in 1950. Most of the increase in urban population is taking place in small- and medium-sized cities. The growth of existing villages and towns is also transforming rural landscapes into urban areas.
This evolution of infrastructure and the underlying drivers will be highlighted at the Infrastructure Africa 2018 conference on 9th and 10th October 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre. With discussions on specific project development opportunities from infrastructure players operating on the ground, the Infrastructure Africa Business Forum offers businesses the opportunity to set their regional strategies for long-term growth. Sub-Saharan countries, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, will feature a host of infrastructure project development opportunities at the event, with a desire to grow the private sector participation in their respective projects.
Each country will present a few of the latest infrastructure project development opportunities and explain the business possibility linked to each project. There is enormous potential for companies to develop a local regional presence and to integrate their strategies with the evolving economies and underpinning infrastructure development in the region.