'Private investment in infrastructure needed'
South Africa needs innovative ways to include the private sector in the development of infrastructure in order to increase the level of private investment in the economy, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said.
The government has identified R3.2-trillion for 17 key infrastructure programmes around the country. Gigaba said that, while some of the money was available to start building the infrastructure, much still needed to be financed.
"The government has identified various funding models, including the possibility of an infrastructure fund, public-private partnerships, public-public partnerships and other models in order to unlock the balance sheet of the private sector," he said.
President Jacob Zuma was to host a conference in July at which the government would outline its plans to get buy-in from the private sector and identify areas for public-private participation, Gigaba said.
Lack of infrastructure has often been cited as one of the key challenges to trade between African countries. Intra-Africa trade is said to be at a mere 12%.
Gigaba said the continent was in dire need of further investment, particularly in transport and energy infrastructure.
"However, it is crucial that we also change Africa's relationship with the world as a producer and supplier of commodities towards a new position where we also add value and participate in value-added trade."
Gigaba said it was not viable simply to invest R3.2-trillion in establishing necessary road, rail and energy infrastructure without also ensuring the development of related jobs and skills.