WINDHOEK - Infrastructure networks in Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) remain highly fragmented, reflecting the continent’s small-sized nation states.
As a result, the level of regional connectivity is very low, whether measured in terms of transcontinental highway links, power interconnections, or intra-regional fibre optic backbone.
This is according to the Infrastructure ‘Development Projects in Support of Industrialisation and Regional Integration’ report, which was availed during the Sadc Council of Ministers meeting held in Windhoek recently.
The report shows that in terms of infrastructure, Sadc adopted a regional approach because Sadc’s small and isolated economies are simply too small to go it alone.
Further, it states that regional integration lowers the cost of infrastructure by giving smaller Sadc countries access to more efficient technologies and a larger scale of production.
“For example, many Sadc countries have power systems that are too small to be able to generate power efficiently. Nor would they have the means to provide for their own satellite or submarine cable,” the report indicates.
Further, it highlights regional cooperation on infrastructure also helps to harness and share the benefits of trans-boundary common infrastructure.
The report cited Sadc’s 15 river basins, which are shared by two or more countries and require careful coordination of water resource management and associated infrastructure investments.
Similarly, the ports and connecting sea corridors of the coastal nations are regional public goods that typically service multiple landlocked countries in the hinterland.
It is mentioned that although well-endowed with both hydro and thermal energy resources, the Sadc region has developed only a small fraction of its power-generation potential. One reason cited is that some of the continent’s most cost-effective energy resources are concentrated in countries that are remote from major centres of demand and too poor to raise the multi-billion dollar finance needed to develop them.
At the same time, most Sadc countries have national power systems that fall below the minimum efficient scale of 200 megawatts for electricity generation.
As a result, the report shows that they pay a heavy penalty, with operating costs reaching U$0.30 (N$3.90) per kilowatt hour compared with the U$0.10 (N$1.30) per kilowatt hour found in the continent’s larger power systems.
The Sadc Secretariat has an infrastructure directorate which is responsible for the facilitation and transformation of the region into an integrated economy by promoting the provision of adequate, interconnected and efficient regional infrastructure.
The regional infrastructure integration programme entails; transport, communications, and meteorology, energy and
2019-04-17 09:51:26 4 days ago