Prominent government officials, infrastructure experts and business professionals are once again expected to congregate at the annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum (IABF), which is set unlock some of the enormous growth potential in Africa’s infrastructure sectors.
The third annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum, to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on the 21st and 22nd of July, will address a myriad of issues raised by national governments, regional businesses and infrastructure players as they seek new opportunities of growth and address bottlenecks in the African infrastructure space.
After a successful launch in 2012, delegates can expect further participation from African delegates at this year’s IABF. The two-day event continues to attract senior business leaders, policymakers, regulators and media to advance, debate and champion delivery of Africa’s critical infrastructure requirements.
This year’s event has more sponsors than ever before, each of which are working in the African infrastructure space and will provide delegates with exclusive insight into their project work on the continent.
The event’s strategic partner is the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GPDID), its founding partner is the NEPAD Planning & Coordinating Agency (NPCA), and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is a sponsoring partner. New sponsors sponsoring specific panel discussions include Werksmans, Accenture, ACSA and Santam.
Some of the topics included in this year’s programme are:
The evaluation of PIDAs implementation and progress
The African Union Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, completed formulating the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). This continental initiative, based on regional projects and programmes, seeks to address the infrastructure deficit that severely hampers Africa’s competitiveness in the world market.
Financing infrastructure development in Africa
Closing Africa’s infrastructure financing gap will not only involve raising additional funds but also improve the efficiency with which existing resources are used. Lack of timely maintenance activities, inefficiency of distribution networks, weak revenue collection performance, under-pricing of services, and low capital budget execution all lead to substantial wastage of resources currently available for infrastructure development. Bridging Africa’s infrastructure funding gap is as much about improving the performance of the relevant institutions as it is about raising additional finance.
Agriculture & trans-boundary water projects in Africa
Africa continues to suffer from low levels of agricultural productivity and is constantly bedevilled by famines. A large part of the continent’s inability to feed itself and provide clean and accessible water can be explained by poor infrastructure (transportation, energy, irrigation, and telecommunication).There is a need for Africa to better understand, manage, monitor and exploit its water and agricultural resources in a technologically modern way with good ecological and environmental safeguards.
ICT & telecoms in Africa
How can Africa foster a business climate and a development environment that will increase the drive to modernise the continent with regards to technology? Can Africa translate its mobile sector boom into growth of its ICT & telecoms sector – and inadvertently contribute to economic development?
Project development and access to projects
Infrastructure development is one of the top political priorities in Africa. The continent’s growing population, education levels and technology absorption rates are putting pressure on already stressed power, transport, water and information technology networks. The lack of existing infrastructure and future investments is a key factor hampering Africa’s economic development and constraining trade and job creation. Without an adequate infrastructure endowment Africa is at risk of sacrificing about 2% of GDP growth annually.
The transport sector and investment opportunity in Africa
African farmers without adequate road networks are condemned to grow not what they can eat, but what they can carry on their heads and eat quickly before pests destroy it. As a result, nearly half of the hungry people in Africa are farmers. Transport is an indispensable tool in the creation of a socio-economic space that would lead to free movement of goods and persons in Africa. Providing adequate and effective transport is one of the quickest ways to boost economic development.
Energy in Africa
Africa is experiencing rapid economic growth and urbanisation in many of its countries, making the demand for energy ever more urgent, but Africa remains a net exporter of energy. Can Africa develop the skills it needs to utilise its vast natural energy resources?