African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018



    Connecting Within and Across Africa

    One of the most important factors in Africa’s future development will be increasing cross-border trade, both within Africa and with the rest of the world. That means solid road and rail networks that span regions, and indeed, the continent.

    There are already a number of trans- African highways, and several, like the Lagos-Abidjan highway through West Africa, already include expansion plans. A quick look at the map suggests that the
    highway network provides good access for road travel all across the continent. But appearances can be deceiving. Road quality is very patchy on these highways. While some offer a good transport route,
    others are in such bad repair that they are essentially unusable. One example is the Beira-Lobito corridor. In the view of our experts this stretch of road isn’t an available freight route at present, with
    some sections unfinished and others frequently subject to floods. However, in the future it could develop into a viable corridor.

    What about Rail?
    Regional integration with new rail lines and the extension of existing tracks has started in southern and eastern Africa. South Africa is collaborating with Swaziland on a joint rail project. In the East, Tanzania is working with neighbours Rwanda and Burundi on plans to link the gateway city of Dar es Salaam with Kigali in Rwanda and Musongati in Burundi. And Kenya is already connected to neighbouring Uganda via rail. But rail integration in the west is nearly non-existent.

    Gateways to the Rest of the World
    While transport within Africa is important, so is getting the continent connected to the rest of the world. That’s where gateways – ports and airports – come in. Ports are by far the most important entry point to the African continent with most goods travelling by ship, but there aren’t enough ports to handle existing traffic, much less allow for growth. That’s set to change. There are currently plans to build or significantly expand five ports – in the west at Barra do Dande (north of Luanda) and Lobito in Angola, and Lekki in Nigeria, and in the east at Lamu in Kenya and Musoma in Tanzania (see map on page 24). While these
    projects will be a big step in the right direction, demand is rising even faster and congestion will remain.
    In the South, Durban is indisputably the number one port – not only in southern Africa, but the whole of the continent. In North Africa, by far the most important shipping route is the Suez Canal in Egypt.
    The transhipment centre of Port of Said has emerged as a state-of-the-art facility since it began operations in 2004, serving the Mediterranean as well as the entrance of the Suez Canal. East and West Africa have a number of competing ports, but there are big issues with capacity and efficiency. While the
    western African coast includes several larger ports, it still lacks a clear maritime hub. One strong contender for the role was the Port of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, but a local political crisis in 2011
    has had a negative impact. Another competitor, the Lagos Port Complex, offers direct access to the large Nigerian market, but it is massively congested. This picture could shift after 2016, when a new deep-sea port at Lekki in Nigeria is due to be completed. The Port of Tema benefits from Ghana’s political stability, but it currently has severe capacity constraints. Long waiting times pose security risks for ships. As Africa grows, all of these ports will need to decrease congestion and become more efficient. On the east coast, Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania compete as the preferred maritime “gateway into
    East Africa”. Congestion in Mombasa has led to some shippers shifting to Dar es Salaam, but the port is now also congested and faces issues around clearing through customs efficiently. New railway connections between Dar es Salaam and Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda are planned, which could help
    goods move through faster. Similarly, in Kenya there are plans to build a new access road and railway link to better connect the Port Mombasa container terminal and existing port network to the hinterland.
    Africa has a number of international airports for passenger traffic across the continent. The busiest ones are 8OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa (capacity of almost 21 million passengers annually) and Cairo International Airport in Egypt (13 million passengers annually). Africa’s trans-continental highway network looks better on paper than on the ground. It’s a real constraint for transport and logistics companies. Rail connections are lacking too, but a number of projects to improve regional connectivity are underway

    Extract from ‘Africa gearing up’
    The report ‘Africa gearing up’ was created in close collaboration between PwC and Econometrix, South Africa’s leading independent economic consultants and supported from independent industry



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