Need for in­no­va­tive Africa in­fra­struc­ture

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS - Adri Senekal de Wet

GLOBAL lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Canada, France, Switzer­land, China, South Africa and the US, ques­tioned the abil­ity of pub­lic sec­tors across the globe to de­velop proper in­fra­struc­ture ecosys­tems.

Fi­nanc­ing of in­fra­struc­ture projects seems not to be the ma­jor ob­sta­cle any more with much lower cost of bor­row­ing cap­i­tal.

Ac­cord­ing to Chris­tian Mu­men­thaler, the group chief ex­ec­u­tive Swiss Re, the fo­cus should rather be on un­lock­ing funds for in­no­va­tive in­fra­struc­ture solutions and catalysing trans­ac­tions with risk mit­i­ga­tion in­stru­ments.

Pa­trick Dlamini, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the De­vel­op­ment Bank of South­ern Africa, noted the im­por­tance of trans­for­ma­tion and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment in Africa.

“It is crit­i­cal that var­i­ous gov­ern­ments work to­gether in Africa, agree on re­gional de­vel­op­ment projects and en­sure that what has been promised, is de­liv­ered.

“There is a big need for po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in African coun­tries that cre­ate an in­vestor friendly en­vi­ron­ment”, he said.

Dlamini is con­fi­dent that South Africa and Africa can at­tract long-term fund­ing, but “in­vestors re­quire a har­monised eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment”.

Del­e­gates were en­ter­tained by Lawrence H Sum­mers’ re­marks at the Strate­gic Up­date: The Fu­ture of In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment.

Sum­mers warned against gov­ern­ments of­fer­ing “guar­an­tees” and gov­ern­ments of­fer­ing projects to their “con­nec­tions”.

It seems as if this is not only a South African phe­nom­e­non!

He also ques­tioned the suc­cess of the so called “Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship” trans­ac­tions.

“There are no real suc­cess­ful trans­ac­tions that I am aware of ”, he said. “Let us rather talk about pri­vatis­ing of ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture to fi­nance new in­fra­struc­ture projects,” Sum­mers said.

‘There is a big need for po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in African coun­tries that cre­ate an in­vestor friendly en­vi­ron­ment.’

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