Advisory network promotes shared infrastructure in Africa

29 June 2015

To fast-track high-level private sector investment in Africa’s regional infrastructure, top global and African CEOs launched the Continental Business Network (CBN) – an exclusive infrastructure investment advisory platform for African heads of State – earlier this month, reports risk, social and environmental consulting firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM).

The CBN comprises leading African and global business and finance bodies, as well as regional and international organisations, with the acknowledgement that cross-border, shared infrastructure is a requirement for business growth and investment, explains ERM partner and head of the Impact Assessment and Planning Practice for sub-Saharan Africa Max Clark.

With infrastructure deficits impacting significantly on Africa’s competitiveness in the global market, Clark believes that it makes sense for Africa to promote shared infrastructure, in particular transport infrastructure, including rail.

He notes that, with the launch of the CBN, strategic issues such as policy, project structuring, investment risks and existing constraints to the implementation of shared infrastructure will have to be analysed in depth.

Sustainable Model

Successful capital projects are achieved when the integration of sustainability forms part of the business model, from concept to completion, asserts Clark. “Importantly, planning a network of shared infrastructure that will incorporate various forms of transport across countries requires a more strategic framework.”

Clark notes that environmental and social issues are key factors in all large-scale infrastructure projects, and are best addressed very early on in the strategic planning of shared infrastructure.

Planning Shared Infrastructure

Clark warns that planning shared infrastructure, including transport infrastructure, often suffers owing to a lack of coordination between neighbouring jurisdictions.

“A policy planning framework, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which launched the CBN, is therefore vital to create coherence,” he states.


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