Infrastructure master plan
At a recent validation workshop between delegates of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) the energy sector was identified as the key absent factor in future integration of the block.
The SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan meeting was held in Johannesburg to discuss ways for SADC to implement trans-boundary infrastructure in order to facilitate trade and deepen the process of regional integration and co-operation.
The plan is a strategic framework which articulates the SADC’s objectives, underpinned by a collection of projects in sectors including energy, infrastructure, trans-boundary water, transport, meteorology and ICT.
Engineer Joao Caholo, Deputy Executive Secretary, Regional Integration for the SADC Secretariat addressed delegates from all fifteen SADC member states. “We need to focus on the priorities that make a difference to the bigger picture relating to the deepening of our regional integration,” he stressed. “One of the main priority areas discussed at the meeting was the telecommunications and ICT sector. As ICT expert Mike Jensen remarked, a strong and viable ICT sector will lead to a well-informed, rapid decision making and knowledgeable public. But strategic ICT implementation is not possible without a reliable energy grid.
“ICT infrastructure is a key tool for socio-economic development on the continent. However, whilst it is possible to reach required capacities in this sector, progress is impeded by the current lack of complementary infrastructure, especially in the energy sector” stated a report released by the Secretariat after the meeting. According to research, the backbone infrastructure for the ICT sector is plentiful and there is more than enough bandwidth serving the subcontinent to achieve the 2027 vision. “For this to happen It is imperative that we connect the remaining three mainland member states; Angola, Malawi and Tanzania to the Southern African Power Pool,” commented Caholo. “The recent Africa Infrastructure Diagnostic Study (AICD) has focused capital outlay of approximately US$ 93 billion per annum to enhance infrastructure and services in the SADC Region.”