Captains of Industry Play Key Role in Construction Projects

Pretoria — Captains of industry have a crucial role to play on the African continent's construction projects, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe says.

Addressing the annual congress of Master Builders SA Conference in Durban on Thursday, Minister Radebe said while construction opportunities are plenty on the continent, challenges persist.

"What is clear from the data is that South Africa and Africa remains firmly on the construction investment and infrastructure activity radar. But in the landscape of large-scale infrastructure development, there are challenges. Construction projects face deeply individual complexities and one should not be traversing this space without the necessary know-how, resources and expertise.

"This is why the captains of industry here at this congress have such a crucial intersect and role to play," said Minister Radebe.

Over the past few years, government has championed the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI), which includes the North-South Road, Rail and Related Infrastructure Corridor.

South Africa has registered progress in its 11 PICI projects. It has also submitted an updated North-South Corridor report of progress on 34 infrastructure projects that are mostly in the SADC region.

"We are aware, for example, that there are more than 110 infrastructure projects currently on the go on the North-South Corridor alone at various stages of development, implementation and project management.

"A study on infrastructure in Africa noted that Africa has become a megaproject hotspot, with 301 transport, energy, water and mining projects denoting investment of $375 billion. We also have a book of 87 infrastructure projects and a list of 24 New Development Bank projects," said Minister Radebe.

In addition, the African Development Bank disbursed over $1 billion in 2015 on infrastructure alone.

Minister Radebe said across the continent, investment in infrastructure continues to be exciting with the building of roads, railways, ports bridges and energy continuing steadily.

Private sector financiers have ploughed billions of US dollars into Africa-based infrastructure projects - close to $9 billion. Minister Radebe acknowledged that since the start of 2016, the construction industry has felt two impacts, one being the liquidity limitations as the global economy continued to contract and the second being the commodity crunch.

"What we also know, based on our relatively new experience, is that this infrastructure landscape is a litmus test for national and regional leadership. It is the new 'circle of influence' in which heavyweight political and economic support needs to come together."