Localisation in infrastructure critical to the development of SADC region
Localisation in infrastructure development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is critical to industrialisation.
This was said by the Chief Director of African Integration and Industry, Mr Nigel Gwynne-Evans. Gwynne-Evans was speaking at the SADC Industrialisation Week that is taking place at The Focus Rooms in Sunninghill, Johannesburg that started on Monday and ended on Friday, 4 August 2017. The theme of the Week is Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains.
According to Gwynne-Evans, all SADC member states should prioritise localisation in infrastructure development. He said these developments would require long-term government plans and considerable preparation to achieve the requisite skills and industrial capacity to meet demand. These, he said would add to the build-up and opportunities to meet the demand for infrastructure.
“State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) have a critical role to play in creating the environment that attract the private sector to invest. The Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa has worked closely with SOEs around driving localisation. From an industrialisation perspective, infrastructure can be a key driver of industrialisation through the supply of key services, equipment and infrastructure on the large scale projects,” highlighted Gwynne-Evans.
Gwynne-Evans who described the gas sector as a game changer for the region, added that from an economic perspective, this sector needs a focused and holistic approach on how it can be developed in the region. He said the world-class resources in both the east and west coasts, present an opportunity to transform many lives in the region though this sector.
Gwynne-Evans further outlined that there was no shortage of funding from the private sector for projects. He said that the challenge in the region was getting bankable and investable projects in rail, road and power sectors amongst others. He added that the focus must be on how to make these projects ready and attractive to the private sector, utilising concessionary funding such as that provided by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the African Development Bank.
The Group Executive of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Mr Mohan Vivekanandan said according to the International Monetary Fund findings, infrastructure is crucial because it is an enabler to drive short and long term economic growth. He then stressed that if a region does not have quality infrastructure in place, it will not have an enabler to grow its economies.
The Vice President of Group Regulatory Services at Sasol Limited, Mr Johan Thyse mentioned the bi-lateral trade agreements between South Africa and Mozambique as a key element that contributed to the success of the Sasol pipeline in Mozambique. He mentioned that during the construction of the SA-Mozambique pipeline, 840 people were trained and hired. To date, he said, SA, Mozambique and Sasol have invested at least R24 billion in the pipeline.
“The successful development of the gas industry in South Africa was achieved through collaboration. Collaborations are key to the success of any project,” stated Thyse.
Reposition SADC region into the Global Value-Chain
For industrialisation to succeed, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region must reposition itself into regional and global value-chains. This is according to the President of the Regional Standardisation Organisation, Dr Eve Gadzikwa. Gadzikwa was speaking at the SADC Industrialisation Week that took place in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
According to Dr Gadzikwa, now is time to implement the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 and reposition SADC in the global value-chain. Gadziwa added that the region needed to take advantage of partnering with the private sector, which she said has the capacity to add value into industrialisation.
“There is an advantage when partnering with the private sector as they fill critical gaps in industrial development and in the manufacturing of quality products. Public-private partnerships are crucial for driving collective efforts to achieve sustainable development goals,” said Dr Gadzikwa.
Dr Gadzikwa mentioned the industrial parks programme as one which would boost industrialisation in the region. She cited Ethiopia as one country that has successfully implemented the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) programme and urged other countries to follow suite as a potential driver of industrialisation. According to her, three of the eight SEZs that Ethiopia has developed, have registered successful results.
“The central challenge that is facing the region is transitioning from commodity driven economies to added-value and knowledge-based intensive economies. We need to develop the industrial base, and partner with the private sector in developing industry. One critical factor to focus on while industrialising is to integrate small, medium and micro-sized enterprises into industrial development. In doing so, these would address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality in the region,” added Gadzikwa.
Dr Gadzikwa emphasised that the need for coordinated efforts to industrialise was now urgent and was no longer business as usual.
The programme for the Industrialisation Week that started on Monday and ended on Friday included site visits to companies in the agro-processing, mining and pharmaceutical sectors.