Infrastructure key to moving Africa forward

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pretoria - South Africa has identified infrastructure development as a critical priority for the country in order to boost economic growth, with 18 ambitious development projects prioritised by the government.

“We deem these projects to be effective game-changers in that they will enable new economic activity on a significant scale, which will stimulate the country’s economic growth in line with our developmental objectives,” said Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the South African headquarters of the China Overseas Infrastructure Development and Investment Corporation (COIDIC) offices in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

COIDIC will be involved in the planning, designing, financing and construction of infrastructure projects across Africa in the energy, transportation and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors. This will be in line with China’s Belt to Road initiative, which emphasises international cooperation on infrastructure development.

Deputy Minister Magwanishe reiterated that the South African government did not view the country’s development in isolation from that of the rest of Africa, rather it has it has prioritised the integration of the African continent, which is premised on infrastructure development, industrial development and market integration.

“We support regional integration, which should locate Africa as a critical player in the global economy. In this regard, COIDC’s public-private partnership model augurs well for the meaningful participation of African governments and the private sector in changing the economic and social trajectory of the African continent.”

He said the South African government was encouraged by China’s position on the continent and expressed optimism that COIDIC’s initiatives would contribute significantly in strengthening sustainable trade and investment relations between Africa and China.

“We are encouraged by the People’s Republic of China’s commitment to invest in infrastructure development projects through COIDC. We need to ensure that our trade and investment relations have an optimal developmental impact.

“Investment in infrastructure will be a key driver in enabling this developmental impact. We view developmental integration as a fundamental precursor to the economic growth and rise of the African continent,” stressed Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

He said Trade Invest Africa, which is located in the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), was well-poised to working with COIDIC and South African businesses to build manufacturing capacity and infrastructure in SA and the rest of the continent. -

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