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Business & Economy

Wednesday, 04 March 2009 11:03

Gauteng NEPAD Summit to promote African Regional Economic Integration

 
{pp}It’s all system go for the inaugural Gauteng NEPAD Summit, the first of its kind in the country where NEPAD projects implementation are discussed at a sub-national level.

Gauteng Premier Mr. Paul Mashatile will on Wednesday 4th March 2009 officially open the summit at the Sandton International Convention Centre starting at 09h00. The summit is expected to be attended by African Ambassadors, Economic Development Agencies from the continent, leading players and commentators in the global city region arena and over one thousand delegates across Africa.

The massive US$3.3bn Gautrain project and its $1.584 billion Lagos counterpart could provide an example of how African countries might collaborate on major projects in the near future, explained summit organizer Mr. Mudunwazi Baloyi.

The multi-billion Lagos initiative will link Marina to Agbado, using the existing Nigerian Railway (NRC) corridor, while the second part of the project will connect Marina to Okokomaiko, linking several other parts of the city and using the median of the soon to be reconstructed Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

“The Lagos undertaking bears many similarities to the Gautrain project, in terms of sheer scale and the benefits it will bring to millions of people,” says Geda CEO Blake Mosley-Lefatola. “The NEPAD Summit provides the ideal platform at which African countries can collaborate on such schemes in the years to come”.

The Gautrain project is the biggest of its kind ever in South Africa. When it is completed in 2011, rail transport in the Johannesburg area will enter a new era. The project will equip the massive population centre of the Gauteng area with a rapid transport service, providing a safe, efficient and reliable service to both commuters and airport travelers.

The Gautrain project has been the subject of extensive planning, following feasibility studies in the late 1990s to produce the first plans for a north-south and east-west rail route serving the Gauteng Province. As with many other rapid transit projects, Gautrain is aimed at reducing road congestion and aiding economic development.

The project is being managed as part of the Gauteng Department of Finance and Economic Affairs Public Private Partnership Unit and was initiated by the provincial government. Meanwhile in Lagos, Governor Babatunde Fashola said the concessionaire for the first of the two lines involved is expected to invest an initial amount of $271 million.

He said the line had an economic internal rate of return (IRR) of about 22%. Both rail lines have the potential to carry more than 1.6 million passengers daily. While the one covers a distance of 27 kilometres, with 13 stations, the other is a 37-kilometre long line comprising the same number of stations.

Fashola said the capital cost of infrastructure for both lines would be borne by the Lagos State Government. Mosley-Lefatola, meanwhile, believes the Gauteng NEPAD Summit will result in a “new way forward for Africa”.

“The Lagos and Gautrain projects are the sort of initiatives where African countries can swap ideas and work together. The Summit will result in numerous joint initiatives, which will benefit Africa and all her people”.

Contact Information:
Gauteng Economic Development Agency
www.geda.co.za
tel: 011 833 8750
fax: 011 833 8930
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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