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SADC woos investors for its infrastructure programme

June 2013
SADC WILL take its multi-billion- dollar infrastructure development plan to potential funders when the region hosts an investment conference at the end of June in Mozambique. The conference, scheduled for Maputo from 27-28 June, is expected to bring together SADC heads of state and government, ministers responsible for Infrastructure, international cooperating partners, prospective investors including multilateral financial institutions such as the African Development Bank and World Bank, as well as representatives of the African Union.

SADC leaders expected to attend the conference are the current chair, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, deputy SADC chair and Malawian President Joyce Banda, Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

Guebuza is expected to deliver a keynote address before delegates hold a high-level roundtable discussion on various thematic issues including investment opportunities in the SADC region based on the master plan, participation by the private sector and development finance institutions, the transport corridor concept and border post operations as well as the streamlining of gender issues in infrastructure projects.

Another topical issue to be discussed at the conference will be the inclusion of island states such as the Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles in the SADC regional infrastructure development through specific projects targeting these countries.

“SADC needs to be at the forefront of the development of the blue economy, and it is only through investments in maritime networks that we will truly be able to boost trade and development to its full potential in this region,” said Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean-Paul Adam.

The conference will seek funding for a total of 418 infrastructure projects identified by SADC for development by 2027 in the six priority areas of energy, transport, telecommunications, tourism, meteorology and water.

“The purpose of the SADC Infrastructure Conference is to lure potential investors into the rolling-out of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan Vision 2027, a 15- year blueprint that will guide the implementation of crossborder infrastructure projects between 2013 and 2027,” the SADC Secretariat said in a statement.

The SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan was approved by the Heads of State and Government at their 32nd Ordinary Summit in August 2012 in Maputo, Mozambique.

So far, priority infrastructure projects at a cost of about US$500 billion have been identified and will be showcased at the Maputo conference to mobilise resources for their implementation.

The regional infrastructure master plan is expected to guide implementation of coordinated, integrated, efficient, transboundary infrastructure network in the six priority areas.

For example, the target for the energy sector is to address the four key areas of energy security, improving access to modern energy services, tapping the abundant energy resources in the continent and up-scaling financial investment whilst enhancing environmental sustainability.

Regarding the water sector, the plan prioritises strengthening institutions, preparation of bankable strategic water infrastructure development projects, increased water storage to prepare for resilience against climate change, increasing access to safe drinking water; and enhancing sanitation services for SADC citizens.

With respect to the sub-sectors of road, rail, ports, inland waterways and air transport networks, the transport sector plan focuses on effective regulation of transport services, liberalization of transport markets, development of corridors and facilitation of cross-border movement, construction of missing regional transport links, and harmonization of road safety data systems.