Gigaba: We need better rail infrastructure and cheaper electricity

Caption: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba at the first African Round Table on Infrastructure Governance in Cape Town. Image: Farren Collins.

 

Rail and electricity capacity are key sectors earmarked for infrastructure development by government, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

Gigaba told TimesLive that Southern Africa lost about 2% of annual GDP growth due to lack of infrastructure capacity, and that investment in these key areas would benefit business and allow for greater economic growth.

“We need to continue improving our rail capacity and reduce the tariff and administrative costs for electricity, ports and rail so that we can ensure greater uptake by business including small enterprises and emerging black businesses,” Gigaba said.

He was speaking at the first African Round Table on Infrastructure Governance taking place Cape Town, where over 100 delegates from across the continent and other key global institutions such as the World Bank, met to discuss infrastructure development on the continent.

“We need sustainable and affordable low cost electricity capacity, and moving forward we need to expedite our broadband connectivity so that we can make it easy for small businesses and township businesses to do business.”

The conference was being hosted by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and aimed to offer insights, new ideas, and solution-focused tools that help improve the governance of public investment in order to deliver essential services and goods, “with direct and indirect benefits for the economy and society as a whole”.

In Sub-Saharan Africa only 35% of the population had access to electricity, and access to modern transport declined in the region over the past 20 years. Less than 25% of the population still lacks access to safe water.

DBSA President Patrick Dlamini believed that the figures masked a fundamental need that could be met through good governance.

Gigaba said that infrastructure development also had a positive role in terms of promoting gender equality.

“It not only provides the capacity for women to live better and far improved and easier lives, it also changes the way we view the role of women in society,” he said.

“I hope that this inaugural event will pave the way for a greater understanding of the importance of good governance that is entrenched in the project preparation and implementation stages for infrastructure development globally,” Dlamini said.

BY FARREN COLLINS

SOURCE: TMG DIGITAL

 

 

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