A South African minister has said that infrastructure development can play a pivotal role in regional integration,increased inter-regional trade and industrialisation in Africa.This will ultimately boost Africa’s economic growth.
Dr. Rob Davies the Minister of Trade and Industry, acknowledged that there was a huge deficit in infrastructure that is necessary to support high levels of inter-regional trade that connects African countries to one another.
Speaking during the opening of a two-day Infrastructure Africa Business Forum in Sandton South Africa, Dr Davis said that development of infrastructure has been given top priority in his country as it is “an essential and absolutely fundamental catalyst” for Africa’s economic growth.
“Infrastructure development lies in the very heart of our efforts to promote high levels inclusive growth and development throughout the continent,” said Dr Davis.
The minister also said that infrastructure development can help generate economic activity especially at a time when other sectors of the economy are doing badly.
Dr Davies said that at present Africa has an infrastructure deficit estimated at $93 billion per annum for the next 20 years.
“There is a huge amount of catch-up that we need to undergo as a continent in order to achieve regional integration,” he added.
As a result explained Davis, Africa was losing over 40% of its competitiveness as a continent.
“We need to partner to build the required infrastructure and the real capability that will assist all of us to build our countries. Adequate, effective, affordable and well-maintained infrastructure is an essential tool for Africa’s economic growth and development”, he maintained.