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SADC to benefit from African infrastructure programme

August 2014

AT LEAST seven infrastructure projects in southern Africa were presented at the recent Dakar Financing Summit for implementation under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

PIDA is a blueprint for African infrastructure transformation for the period 2012-2040. The programme was adopted by African leaders in January 2012 and provides a strategic framework for priority infrastructure projects expected to transform the continent into an interconnected and integrated region.

To mobilise financial investment to accelerate PIDA implementation, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) organized the Dakar Financing Summit on 14-15 June in Senegal where a total of 16 strategic and regionally balanced projects were presented to potential donors.

Of these, seven are in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).These include the Ruzizi III Hydropower Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); the Dar es Salaam Port Expansion Project in the United Republic of Tanzania; the Serenge-Nakonde Road in Zambia; and the Lusaka-Lilongwe ICT Terrestrial Fibre Optic linking Malawi and Zambia.

The other three are the Zambia-Tanzania- Kenya Transmission Line linking the power grids of the three countries; the Batoka Gorge Hydropower Project involving Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the Brazzaville-Kinshasa Road Rail Bridge Project and the Kinshasa Illebo Railways in the DRC.

“The 16 projects were selected due to their strategic, political and economic importance as flagship regional projects,” NEPAD said in a statement, adding that “once implemented, these projects will significantly transform the way Africa does business.”

All the 16 selected projects cover the three main sectors of energy, transport and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Construction of the Batoka Gorge hydropower station is expected to add 1,600 megawatts of electricity, enough to ease shortages in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Since the two countries are connected to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which coordinates the management of electricity in the region, the proposed power station will also benefit the SADC region.

The Batoka project entails the construction of a 181-metre gravity dam and the installation of eight 200MW units with the power shared equally between the two countries.

The proposed Ruzizi III project in the DRC will add another 147MW, and will be a run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant with three power units.

With regard to the Zambia-Tanzania- Kenya Interconnector, the project is expected to improve regional integration and energy trade within and between the SAPP and East African Power Pool (EAPP), as well as link Tanzania to the SAPP.

The refurbishment of the Dar es Salaam Port will include deepening and strengthening the berth for deep sea vessels, and increasing the capacity to handle bigger vessels.

The Dar es Salaam port is the second most important gateway for regional trade in east Africa after Mombasa, catering to 90 percent of Tanzania’s international trade and a significant part of trans-shipment trade for Zambia, Malawi, DRC and Uganda.

Rehabilitation of the Serenge Nakonde Road will involve widening of the road, and its improvement will contribute to cost reduction for road transportation along the North-South and Dar es Salaam Corridors, as well as reduce accident losses for the transport of passengers and goods.

With regard to the Lusaka-Lilongwe ICT Terrestrial Fibre Optic, the project aims to facilitate interconnection between Malawi and Zambia.

The Brazzaville Kinshasa Road Rail Bridge Project and the Kinshasa Illebo Railways in DRC will include a combined road, rail and rail-bridge as well as a one-stop border post.