Mr Nyatsumba said that Governments’ spend on infrastructure development not only provides a stimulus to a country’s economic growth, but it can also crowd in private sector and foreign direct investment (FDI). He said that countries that boast highly- developed infrastructure tend to do better than their less-developed counterparts when it comes to attracting private sector investment as well as FDI.

Mr Nyatsumba said that over the years South Africa’s world-class infrastructure, among other contributing factors, has played a crucial role in positioning the country as the entry point to the rest of the continent.

“In order to fast-track economic growth in South Africa and the rest of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, countries within SADC have to develop infrastructure and transport logistics that would enable them to compete globally.

Accelerated growth necessitates road and rail links that are continually improving,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

However, current turbulent economic conditions make raising money to finance SADC’s huge infrastructure backlog difficult.

“African countries in general and countries within the SADC region in particular are in dire need of FDI. Infrastructure development has the potential to play a positive role in attracting FDI and private sector investment, but the difficulty in raising finance for infrastructure development poses a threat to accelerating economic growth within SADC,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

He added that without reliable infrastructure, it is almost impossible for any developing economy to prosper.

“It is, therefore, of pivotal importance that various stakeholders from government, labour and business get together to deliberate on strategies aimed at unlocking SADC’s economic growth through infrastructure development, among other things,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

The topic of SADC’s huge infrastructure backlog and how to finance it will be the main focus of attention at break-away session three of the inaugural two-day Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba scheduled to take place on 28 and 29 May at Emperor’s Palace outside Johannesburg.

Sharing their insights on this important topic will be:

  • The Industrial Development Corporation’s Executive for Mining and Manufacturing, Mr Abel Malinga;
  • SADC Regional Integration Deputy Executive Secretary Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo;
  • International Finance Corporation Infrastructure Manager Mr Ram Madhidhara;
  • and Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking Head of Power and Infrastructure Mr Ntlai Mosiah.

The Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba will be attended by policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector in the SADC region, and will focus on the following topics, among others:

  • Does Manufacturing Have a Future in Southern Africa?
  • Striking a Healthy Balance Between International Competition and Dumping
  • Transformation in the Metals and Engineering Sector
  • International Competitiveness and Intra-African Trade
  • South Africa and the National Development Plan
  • Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How To Finance It?

Organised and hosted by SEIFSA, the Indaba is aimed at encouraging growth in the sector, which has under-performed over the past five years. The conference, which will take place at Emperor’s Palace in Ekurhuleni, will bring together business owners, trade unionists and policymakers from across the SADC to deliberate on turn-around strategies.