Continued Infrastructure Development Essential In Unlocking Africa’s Economic Growth Potential

With infrastructure development playing a fundamental role in accelerating any country’s economic growth, governments’ spend on infrastructure development not only provides a stimulus to a country’s economic growth, but it can also crowd in private sector and foreign direct investment (FDI).

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This important topic will be one of those discussed at the 2016 Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, scheduled to take place at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton. Special attention will be paid to the thesis that countries that boast highly-developed infrastructure tend to do better than their less-developed counterparts when it comes to attracting private sector investment and FDI. 

Speaking ahead of the conference, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said that over the years South Africa’s world-class infrastructure, among other contributing factors, has played a crucial role in positioning the country as the entry point to the rest of the African continent.

“In order to fast-track economic growth in South Africa and the rest of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region during the prevailing turbulent economic conditions where competition is rife, countries within SADC have to develop infrastructure and transport logistics that would enable them to compete globally.

“Accelerated growth necessitates road and rail links that are continually improving,” Nyatsumba said.

However, current difficult economic conditions make raising money to finance SADC’s huge infrastructure backlog difficult.

“African countries in general and countries within the SADC region in particular are in dire need of FDI. This is one of the contributing factors which saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan embarking on an international roadshow to lure foreign investment into South Africa. Infrastructure development has the potential to play a positive role in attracting FDI and private sector investment, but the difficulty in raising finance for infrastructure development poses a threat to accelerating economic growth,” Nyatsumba said.

He added that without reliable infrastructure, it is almost impossible for any developing economy, including South Africa, to prosper.

“It is, therefore, of crucial importance that various stakeholders from government, labour and business get together to deliberate on strategies aimed at unlocking SADC’s economic growth through infrastructure development, among other things,” he said.

Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How to finance it will be one of the topics which will be robustly discussed at the 2016 Metals and Engineering Indaba. Debating this crucial topic will be International Monetary Fund Senior Resident Representative Dr Axel Schimmelpfennig, Development Bank of Southern Africa Group Executive Manager Sinazo Sibisi and Industrial Development Corporation Head of Basic Metals and Mining Mazwi Tunyiswa, among others.

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