Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

South Africa’s Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Sihle Zikalala unpacked the country’s 2024/2025 infrastructure priorities and project pipeline during a panel session at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) 2024 in Cape Town on Tuesday.

According to Minister Zikalala, the country’s top 12 infrastructure priorities seek to stimulate job creation, promote economic competitiveness and contribute to broadening economic inclusivity.

“We announced the 12 priority projects today and it’s important to give a background as to how we arrived at this priority list. We want projects that will contribute to higher GDP impact, but at the same time, ensure export and embrace the green economy,” he stated.

Taking place on March 17-19 at the Century City Conference Center, SIDSSA brings together key stakeholders in South Africa and across the continent with the aim of driving infrastructure development. SIDSSA 2024 serves as a crucial platform for discussions and partnerships in the infrastructure investment landscape, with a focus on accelerating economic activity through strategic infrastructure plans. Energy Capital&Power – the leading investment platform for the African energy sector – is a media partner for this important platform. For more information, visit https://SIDSSA.org.za/.

With support from Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) – a program within the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure – the projects also aim to accelerate private sector-led development. The projects are poised to serve as a catalyst for closing the infrastructure investment gap, while meeting the infrastructure target set out by the government’s National Development Plan.

“It was very important for us to ask what we plan to contribute from an operational perspective to all the socioeconomic perspectives outlined by the Minister,” stated Mameetse Masemola, Head of ISA. “We will work very closely with the project sponsors in unpacking the work and once we are ready, we will invite transactional advisors.”

It was noted during the session that shortfalls in operation and maintenance have resulted in the underdevelopment of South Africa’s infrastructure strategy. As such, the need to meet end-user’s requirements, the mobilization of digital infrastructure and ensuring operational competency were noted as prerequisites to de-risk investment in the sector.

“The projects listed give the catalytic impetus to develop our industry,” stated Wayne Petersen, Director of Transport and Infrastructure at WSP Group. “We have to ensure that the private sector invests strongly in the projects that are implemented.”

Meanwhile, panelists touched on the importance of bankability and sustainability in attracting private sector investment towards infrastructure projects in the country.

“Infrastructure assets are not only about the assets themselves, but also about the economics that surround them,” said Catherine-Candice Koffman, Group Executive for Project Preparation at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. “Bankability is very much about ensuring we have a project that doesn’t rely too much on the fiscus. A successful project is one where you use as little budgetary capital to fund the projects as possible.”

For South Africa’s infrastructure projects to maintain operational efficiency after completion, it was noted that the country will need to invest in attracting international talent while promoting human capital development, with Partner at PwC Southern Africa Chris van der Merwe stating, “These projects need to strike a balance between economic and social projects.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital&Power.

About SIDSSA 2024:
SIDSSA 2024 is organized by the Investment and Infrastructure Office under the Presidency, in collaboration with the Association of African Exhibition Organizers. The National African Federation for the Building Industry joins as an association partner, while the Development Bank of Southern Africa is the official sponsor of the event.

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