Africa needs $95 billion per annum for the next 10 years to meet its infrastructure demands. The demand for infrastructure is driven by rising populations and rapid urbanisation and is causing a shift for all players in the sector. Internationally, the outlook is extremely positive between now and 2020, signalling new business opportunities for the continent’s infrastructure players. 


The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) of the South African government has set aside R845-billion for public sector infrastructure projects with a further R3,2-trillion infrastructure projects under consideration up to 2020. So far, around 25% of these are being financed and implemented. On the African continent $20-billion expenditure in infrastructure projects is already underway.

With these ambitious goals in sight for Africa’s build programmes, the fourth annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum will be hosted in a month’s time in Johannesburg, South Africa. With the aim of engaging with African governments and African infrastructure players, the two-day event and exhibition with business-matchmaking will facilitate business connections for Africa’s build programmes and seek to unlock private sector opportunities in infrastructure projects. 

Prominent African infrastructure players, government officials, infrastructure experts and business professionals have already confirmed their attendance. The event has the highest level of African and South African endorsement for an infrastructure event on the continent, and provides the business platform for private and public sector players seeking to meet the sector’s national and regional who’s who. 

The event’s strategic partner is the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID), its founding partner is the NEPAD Planning & Coordinating Agency (NPCA). 

Some of the topics included in this year’s programme include: 

Financial Innovation: Infrastructure Development & Financing 

Closing Africa’s infrastructure financing gap requires innovative financing resources with different types of financiers, including private sector, bilateral and multilateral partners in order for Africa to achieve a strong and sustained growth. For Africa’s growth to be sustainable, all financing should adhere to debt sustainability criteria and where possible be also ‘climate-proof. 

Air transport development

Providing adequate and effective transport is one of the quickest ways to boost economic activity. Aviation is a supporting leg of any transportation system and it is essential for the import and export of goods, driving the economic development currently underway in the region. Air transport has grown strongly in certain regions in Africa in recent years, which has helped boost exports; however, air transport in Africa is still expensive, connections are patchy, and safety is a major problem. The liberalisation of Africa’s air space, and the adoption of the Yamassoukro Decision of 1999, will assist in the economic development of the continent. 

Addressing Africa’s infrastructure project preparation challenges

Large infrastructure projects are expensive, complex and require adequate and transparent planning and preparation. The infrastructure funding deficit is estimated at US$ 68 billion dollars in the short term between now and 2020, however the lack of a strong pipeline of well-prepared, bankable projects is widely recognised as one of the key constraints to unlocking private sector finance for infrastructure development in Africa.

Bridging the infrastructure gap: The physical connectivity of markets through road, rail, ports

Transport is an indispensable tool for Africa to enjoy free movement of goods and persons across the continent and overseas. Providing adequate and effective transport is one of the quickest ways to boost economic development. About 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated, arable land is in Africa, but because of poor roads and a lack of physical connectivity, African farmers, producers and suppliers can lose up to half of their produce just trying to get their goods to market. Connecting Africa’s produce to its markets is imperative to the success of its agricultural sectors and the development and upliftment of its poor, rural communities. 

Accelerating regional integration & access to markets 

The African Union Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency are rolling out the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). This continental initiative, based on regional projects and programmes, addresses the infrastructure deficit that severely hampers Africa’s competitiveness in the world market by promoting and facilitating regional integration. 

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