Urgent Investment in Transport Infrastructure Needed to Spur Africa Growth

East & Central Africa Roads & Rail Infrastructure Summit 2020

Regional and international stakeholders for East and Central Africa’s transport infrastructure sector will be gathering once again at the 10th East & Central Africa Roads & Rail Infrastructure Summit 2020 to be held on 4-5 August in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This Summit is particularly timely and relevant as it will tackle the COVID-19 impact on economic development in Africa and investments in the transport sector given that China has been a key partner in Africa’s infrastructure development.

Investment in African transport construction – roads, railways and bridges – is set for rapid growth from US$47.1 billion in 2019 to US$69.0 billion in 2020. This growth is being driven by increasing investment in railway projects where road and rail links from East Africa’s major ports will play an increasingly important role in connecting inland trade and the growing economies throughout the East and Central African region.

The coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in July this year – where member countries are expected to open their borders for free movement of people and goods – will be putting additional pressure on governments to invest in their railway and road infrastructure.

In particular, the Government of Tanzania has made the development of transport infrastructure its key priority to improve its internal and external trade and commercial activities. It has highlighted the improvements to the nation’s roads, railways, ports and airport infrastructure as critical for the country as it strives to become a middle-income nation through Tanzania’s Vision 2025 Plan. Regional integration has seen Tanzania agree to link its new railway line to Burundi and the DRC, with a similar agreement in the works with Rwanda.

The 10th East & Central Africa Roads & Rail Infrastructure Summit is committed to address the region’s transport infrastructure. It will again bring together government authorities, railway and highway operators, major end-users and international investors to get the latest updates on the current pipeline of projects in the region. This annual authoritative platform works to mobilise investment into this sector by identifying bankable projects, promoting public-private partnership, fast-tracking key enabling frameworks, and evaluating the latest technical expertise and technologies critical to supporting the booming economies in this rapidly developing corner of Africa. Industry experts will share their insights on investment risks, bankability, PPPs, transport modelling and real-time traffic management.

Maggie Tan, CEO of the conference-organizing company, Magenta Global Pte Ltd (Singapore), added: “Africa has huge potential for growth, but the lack of infrastructure is a serious impediment to this growth and development. A report by GlobalData projected that an investment of some $3.54 billion is needed to make the network of transport infrastructure in Northern and Central corridors fully-functional. These two corridors serve the nine countries in East Africa: Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, DRC, South Sudan, Sudan and Djibouti). Concerted efforts by donor agencies and private sector participation are critically needed.

China has one of the strongest infrastructure construction capabilities in the world and is arguably best placed to help Africa address its vast infrastructure gap. The COVID-19 outbreak has created major uncertainty on such projects.” She urged all stakeholders to join this Summit and contribute to the meaningful discussions on regional connectivity.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.

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