Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele (MP), Minister of Transport - RSA

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the 14th Annual African Renaissance Conference


Keynote Address at the 14th Annual African Renaissance Conference
Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele (MP), Minister of Transport - RSA
-25th May 2012
Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, Durban
Programme Director
Your Worship the Mayor of eThekwini: Councillor James Nxumalo
KZN Premier: Dr. Zweli Mkhize
Mr Gugile Nkwinti: Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform
Public Enterprises Minister: Mr. Malusi Gigaba
Mr Nicholas Goche: Minister of Transport in Zimbabwe
Mr Kalumba Mwana Ngongo: Minister of Commerce in the DRC
Mr Ntuthuko Michael Dlamini: Minister of Works and Transport in Swaziland
Dr Samuel Chief Ankama: Deputy Minister of Works and Transport in Namibia
Dr Eusebio Saide: Vice Minister of Transport and Communications in Mozambique
Mr Remigius Makumbe from the SADC Infrastructure Desk
MECs for Transport, Works, Community Safety and Liaison
Ms Ruth Bhengu: Chairperson of the Transport Portfolio Committee in the
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and Portfolio Committee Members
Members of National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures
Directors-General & Heads of Department
Regional Infrastructure Experts, African Renaissance Veterans and Intellectuals2
Company and Transport Agency Leaders
Captains of Commerce and Industry
Delegation from the United States of America, representing the African Diaspora
Senior officials representing Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia
Colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen
This 14th African Renaissance Festival kicked off on Tuesday with the African
Renaissance Youth Conference, which was over-subscribed. The organizers had to
fetch additional chairs as young people, some as young as fourteen years old,
kept pouring relentlessly into the conference. This gives us pride because when
we started this Festival and Conference 14 years ago, some of these young people
who attended this year's youth conference were only being born. Indeed, the
future of the African Renaissance has been assured.
In their deliberations on Tuesday, the youth tackled various issues of access: chief
among whom was the young people's desire to achieve universal access to
education, skills, capacity building programmes and job opportunities. They also
spent their time deliberating on strategies to uproot all forms of inequality - past
and present. The events of the past few days in South Africa, clearly
demonstrated that there is still a long way to go before universal equality is
achieved in our land and others around the globe. Much has been celebrated
about the willingness of Black people of South Africa to forgive those who
previously oppressed them. The question is: are the others ready to be forgiven?
Our youth has seen a need to unpack the meaning of a renaissance and
reconciliation in the context of an unequal society.
In the course of the deliberations over the last fourteen years, the African
Renaissance Festival in Durban has taken many forms and shapes. It moved from
being pre-occupied almost exclusively with the issues of African identity, culture
and heritage, to focusing on connecting with the African Diaspora and supporting
the efforts to promote peace, democracy, intellectuality, growth, development
and prosperity throughout the continent.3
It is encouraging to see that most of those with whom we started in 1999 are still
steadfastly attending and contributing to the proceedings of this Festival and
The term renaissance was coined by French Historian, Jules Michelet, to mean a
re-birth. In the current context, renaissance is a call to collective re-discovery of
self by all Africa's people. Through its association with intellectuality, the term
expresses itself in the programmes of innovation, creativity, growth and
development. For a society to undergo a renaissance it must accept that it has a
task to drive itself out of a negative past. Our African Renaissance means that the
time has come for us to re-claim our dignity.
2012 Theme
The theme of this conference is: Connecting Africa. It has a sub-theme titled:
"Southern Africa's Infrastructure Development Program and its Continental
Perspectives". In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, the President of the
Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, articulated far-reaching
and wide-ranging infrastructure projects which the country is to engage in for
many years to come. These include five geographically focused programs, namely:
The development and integration of rail, road and water infrastructure in
the Limpopo Province, which is linked to the expansion of rail transport for
the transportation of coal in the Mpumalanga Province.
Improvement of the movement of goods and economic integration through
further development of the Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and
Industrial Corridor.
Improving the industrial and agricultural development of the Eastern Cape
by expanding the Province's linkages with KwaZulu-Natal and Northern
Cape provinces.
Rolling out of water, roads, rail and electricity infrastructure programmes in
the North West Province; and
Expansion of the iron ore line along the West Coast of the country.4
Concluding his extensive announcement on the infrastructure programmes, the
President then said: "Lastly, our infrastructure work extends beyond our
borders", and cited South Africa's involvement with the North-South Road and
Rail Corridor which is an African Union's NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure
Championing initiative.
Continental Perspectives
In conceptualizing this conference, we took our lead from the President and the
infrastructure planning, development, management, maintenance, operation and
promotion programmes of the African Union and its Regional Economic
We are, therefore, here to declare that the time for individual countries in our
continent and the region to act alone is over. Cooperation and partnerships are
what we would like to market as founding principles for our transport
infrastructure programmes going forward.
Transport Corridors
The development of transport infrastructure is equivalent to economic and social
development, including the free movement of people and goods. Critical to
Africa's development, which is the ultimate expression of the African
Renaissance, is promoting connectivity. In line with this thought the people of the
continent have embarked on major regional road infrastructure corridors, which
are currently underway throughout the continent. These include:
The Nairobi-Cairo Corridor : which connects Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and
The Dodoma-Kigali Corridor: which connects Tanzania, Burundi and
The Lobito-Beira Corridor: which connects Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe,
Mozambique and the DRC.
The North-South Corridor: which connects a total of seven countries in the
SADC region.5
The Trans-Kunene Corridor: which connects Namibia and Angola.
The Algiers-Abuja-Lagos Corridor: which connects Algeria with Nigeria.
The Nacala Corridor: which connects Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia
The Mtawara Corridor: which connects Mozambique and Tanzania, to
name but a few out of some thirteen similar corridors all over the continent
Obviously, there are a lot of infrastructure development initiatives currently
taking place in the SADC and the Southern Africa region. However, there is more
to be done. President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the African Union's Champion
of road and rail transport infrastructure projects on the North-South Corridor, is
on record saying that Africa needs to mobilize over R480 billion over the next 10
years for infrastructure development.
The existence of the transport corridors, which are at various stages of the
planning, development and management processes, is a clear indication that
Africa is now a united entity, poised to improve its global status through
cooperation and partnerships. Critical to the deliberations of this conference is to
answer the question: What are the implications of this massive investment for the
future of the continent and its people.
Connecting Africa: Access and Mobility Foundation
Our experiences in the past fourteen years, as well as our experiences in
government has convinced us that the ultimate realization of the practical
renaissance of our continent needs the mobilization of both government and civil
society, including business, around a common developmental goal. We will soon
establish the Connecting Africa: Access and Mobility Foundation. This
organization, to be formed through a public-private partnership, will concern
itself with the vigorous development of transport infrastructure knowledge base,
engage in leadership development and capacity building programmes for the
transport infrastructure sector, implement transportation advocacy programmes
and facilitate the infrastructure and connectivity dialogue through conferences
such as this one, exhibitions as well as intra-regional people to people travel and
In promoting the transport infrastructure of the region, the Connecting Africa:
Access and Mobility Foundation will also focus on the issues of engineering,
education, enforcement and transport and society - as intricate parts of a
successful transport infrastructure programme. It will publish vigorously,
establishing a network of regional scholars in the fields of transport, tourism,
sociology, development and anthropology, among others, so as to promote a
better complementary connectivity among the people of our region through
better self - knowledge. It will benchmark itself against the best similar
organizations around the world. It will be the brain child of this assembly of the
African Renaissance. To kick start the process of setting up the Foundation, we
will call a special African Renaissance colloquium before the end of September,
2012, where the details of the organizational structure will be discussed. Primary
among the issues to be raised is the implementation of the SADC protocol on
Transport, Communications and Meteorology, which carries all our aspirations for
access and mobility in the region.
Economic Targets and Millennium Development Goals
Programme Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, Africa is in urgent need of new
measures and interventions to plan, develop, manage, maintain, operate and
promote the transport infrastructure in the continent in general and in the SADC
region in particular. A better planned, developed, managed, maintained, operated
and promoted transport infrastructure in the region can only enhance our
meeting of the regional economic targets and the Millennium Development
Goals. The interventions in the transport infrastructure should be supported by
interventions in other forms of infrastructure like energy, water, and ICTs.
In a 2006 report of the Experts Meeting on Promoting and Financing Transport
Infrastructure in Africa, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) calls for "partnerships to facilitate private sector
participation, a redefined role of the public sector, local community participation,
regional and continental organizations as well as international donor
involvement", which will see a more coordinated and sustainable manner of
planning, development, management, maintenance and operation of Africa's
transport infrastructure networks. The OECD also notes general lack of local skills 7
and capacity among potential local investors. Transport infrastructure is widely
recognized as being significant for facilitating investment, trade, growth and
poverty alleviation. The OECD concludes that Africa's transport infrastructure
programs need vigorous promotion - including project appraisal, capacity building
and partnerships.
In the Aviation sector such a spirit of cooperation and partnerships is reflected in
the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1988 whose aim is to create an environment
conducive to the development of intra-African and international air services in
Africa. Although the implementation of the Decision is slow, one of the
immediate results is that the growth rate of Africa's share of air traffic remains
higher than the global average.
Africa has a total coastline of 30, 725 kilometres, and has 90 major ports. Africa's
Maritime transport accounts for 92% of Africa's international trade. However, as a
challenge and opportunity for growth, Africa's ports handle only 6% of global
maritime traffic. Only six ports - 3 in Egypt and 3 in South Africa - handle 50% of
Africa's container traffic. Dwell time for vessels remains a challenge, with the
average dwell time for major ports being around eleven days. In the extreme of
dwell time is the port of Douala in Cameroun where, as NEPAD reports, the
average dwell time is 19 days; while on the other extreme Banjul and Durban's
dwell time is averaged at 5 days.
While private sector investment in Africa's transport infrastructure remains low,
Africa's rail sector has been boosted by the emergence, since 1995, of railway
concession agreements between governments and the private sector, as evident
in such countries as Cameroun, Gabon, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe,
Mozambique, Senegal and Mali. Various rail concession proposals are being
considered in South Africa.8
Inland water transport is active in such major rivers as the Nile, the Congo, the
Niger, the Senegal and such lakes as Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi.
A communique promoting the recently held Africa Infrastructure Exhibition and
Conference noted that Africa is emerging as a market with huge business
potential. The continent has registered a real GDP annual growth of 5.5% from
2002 to 2010. Africa is also noted for its rapid urbanization, which makes the
infrastructure sector the most rapidly growing market sector. It is also equally
projected that capital investments in Africa, which includes infrastructure
development, are expected to reach 150 billion US Dollars in 2015. The World
Bank focuses that Africa is on the brink of an economic take off.
Transport Investments
African Governments and the African Union's Regional Economic Communities
remain the primary funders of transport infrastructure in Africa. There is also a
sizeable amount of donor funding. SADC, COMESA and the East African
Community cooperate on a number of infrastructure development programmes
and projects in the area. According to a report done by Trademark Southern
Africa on the North-South Corridor (NSC), pledges of up to 1.2 billion US dollars
were made for the implementation of the North-South Corridor and other
infrastructure projects during the North-South Corridor Financing Conference in
April, 2009. Project funders included the Development Bank of Southern Africa,
the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom, the World
Bank and the African Development Bank.
Private Sector Funding
Private funding in the transport sector remains generally weak. According to a
2006 report evaluating the rail concession system in the continent until recently,
participation in railway concessions appears to have been driven more by the
desire of firms to control logistical distribution chains or benefit financially from
managing large investment programmes rather than earning substantial direct
return on their investment. Actual railways financial performance has been 9
disappointing so far. However, this seems to be more a result of poorly designed
concession financial structures, that is, unsustainable debt levels and concession
fee payment requirements, than a lack of performance on the part of
concessionaires, the report concludes.
Mobilization of Funding
One of the objectives of the 2012 edition of the African Renaissance Conference is
to create a mechanism to locate these projects and future plans, and create a
common handbook and database, accessible to, and updatable by, all relevant
role players. To achieve this we need a clear vision, and a five-to-ten year plan
that seeks to institutionalize the regional transport infrastructure planning,
development, management, maintenance, operation and promotion.
Mauritian scholars, Jameel Khadaroo and Boopen Seetanah, writing in their
scholarly paper titled: "Transport Infrastructure and FDI: Lessons from Sub
Saharan African Economies," note the lack of empirically studied material which
focuses on transport recipient country's transport infrastructure where that
would be a factor in attracting Foreign Direct Investment. The authors decry the
fact that most studies on Africa's transport infrastructure and FDI are almost
always cut and paste products from developed countries, and that study samples
from developing countries in Africa are either absent or generally neglected by
the decision makers.
Africa's New Narrative
In its 2012 Africa Attractiveness Survey Report, Ernst & Young highlight the need
to bridge the perception gap about Africa's state of readiness to grow and
compete with the rest of the world. Introducing the survey, Ernst & Young's Mark
Otty and Ajen Sita write: " We need to bridge this perception gap by telling new
stories about Africa, stories of economic growth and opportunity, democratic
progress and human development...We need to re -write the news headlines."10
Ladies and gentlemen, while the details for the Connecting Africa: Access and
Mobility Foundation as a centre of knowledge will be further discussed in the
course of this conference and in future consultations. It is imperative that when
we assemble for the 15th edition of the African Renaissance Festival and
Conference in Durban in 2013, we report on the anticipated positive progress
about its founding. In the wake of the transport infrastructure revolution
currently taking place in Africa, the time for the Connecting Africa : Access and
Mobility Foundation to be launched and activated is NOW. Let us re-write Africa's
I thank you

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the 14th Annual African Renaissance Conference

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