Infrastructure Africa 2015 Draws in Sector Heavyweights

The spotlight turns to Africa’s infrastructure build programmes this September as Infrastructure Africa opens its doors to the sector and region’s most influential speakers

Prominent government officials, infrastructure experts and business professionals are gearing up for next week’s Infrastructure Africa Business Forum (IABF), which is set to unlock some of the enormous growth potential in Africa's infrastructure sectors, particularly in the transport sector.

There are exciting highlights expected at this year’s event, including the unpacking of new opportunities opening up in the continent’s transport infrastructure sector.

Relating to aviation in the transport sector, over the period 2010-2015, Africa will be the third fastest growing region in the world in terms of international traffic, with an average growth rate of 6.1 percent compared to the global average of 5.8 percent.

Forecasts indicate that the aviation industry’s impact on African economies is set to grow. Over the next 20 years, implied job creation by the industry is projected at 879,000.

“Africa has one of the fastest air transport growth rates globally at six percent, so this is where the market is,” says Dr John Tambi, NEPAD’s Transport Infrastructure Expert and steering committee member for the Infrastructure Africa Business Forum, who will also be speaking at the event. “Africa is the only frontier left in terms of the air transport market.

He continues: “You can’t compete in Europe and America; their markets have matured and are at the point of saturation. You can’t compete effectively in China or Asia either, so Africa is the last place left.

“We need to exploit this opportunity and encourage the African private sector to participate in this sector and address the issue of connectivity on the continent.”

The fourth annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, 1-2 September, and will address myriad issues raised by national governments, regional businesses and infrastructure players as they seek new opportunities of growth and address bottlenecks in the African infrastructure space.

Africa Project Access, a consultancy firm that identifies early-alerts on projects on the ground in Africa, has seen recent encouraging trends in the air infrastructure sector.

Paul Runge, Managing Director of Africa Project Access says: “There has been a particularly strong increase in the flow of airport projects in the sub-region.

“For the first eight months of 2015 alone, Africa Project Access has detected 25 new greenfields and brownfields airport projects for Sub-Saharan Africa, outside South Africa.”

Year on year, the event has drawn infrastructure experts who are responsible for the development and roll-out of Africa’s build programmes, and 2015’s event promises to be the biggest yet.