This week, South Africa is hosting the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group for the bloc’s 10th annual Summit. South Africa will again this year champion key African priorities alongside its own. For African countries, infrastructure development and industrialisation will remain key areas of strategic cooperation with the BRICS.
“Business is down”, this is Lillian’s rather dejected response as I browse through her curios store on a side street of Mombasa’s old town. It’s true, the streets are largely deserted, but I do see something I didn’t expect – there are quite a few small groups of tourists who seem to be local Kenyans, or at least from the region, as I hear bargaining in Swahili.
Ambitious plans have been formulated in recent years to put the African continent onto a more sustainable economic development path, with industrialisation as the focal point.
All SADC governments recognise that infrastructure development is crucial for creating momentum in their economies, which will help to swell the number of sustainable jobs and alleviate poverty.
An assessment of SADC’s current infrastructure financing challenges is important in determining how the RDF can better support infrastructure development within the region.
While the RDF has the potential to make the SADC region more self-sufficient when it comes to its infrastructure development plans and initiatives, we have seen how a number of obstacles might complicate the full operationalisation of the Fund. Governments must move beyond talk if they are to realise their vision of a more economically agile and trade-friendly region.
In August 2016, SADC member states signed an agreement to mobilise approximately $1 billion in seed funding to create the SADC Regional Development Fund, with infrastructure development being one of the fund’s four key categories of finance.
Embracing digitalisation is not an option for countries. The digital era has arrived and its effects will increasingly be felt as time goes by. Whether the developing world will be able to grasp the unfolding opportunities and not be overwhelmed by the challenges will depend on the policies that countries formulate and the diligence with which they implement them. Left to its own devices, the digital economy will simply widen the digital divide and exacerbate countries’ economic problems.
The GEGAfrica project has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.