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Africa is hard at business
Reuel J Khoza, chairman Eskom
Published: 17-JUN-05

When we see infrastructural development and job creation Africa-wide, when the regional economic blocs pull together with a common vision and see themselves as part of one big African family, then our victory will have begun.

NEPAD sees an Africa that moves from condescension and derision to a vibrancy and technological prowess. This could not be more apparent now that the NEPAD Business Group has been repositioned as the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF).

Since its inception the NBF has interfaced with representatives of G8 and has formed relationships with Government, Civil Society, SA business, business foundations, regional councils and the international community.

The NBF has identified 15 priority cross-continental sectors in agriculture, audit & accounting, energy, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), finance, healthcare, information and communication technology (ICT), infrastructure, mining & resources, stock exchanges, transport and water.

Potential future sectors include leadership development, education and human resources and tourism. Through the ongoing management of these groups, the NBF addresses the implementation of sustainable cross-continental projects aimed at benefiting the prosperity of the African continent.

Some of the projects are: � Western Power Corridor (Westcor) (Energy) � West African Gas Pipeline (Energy) � e-Schools (ICT) � The NEPAD ICT Infrastructure Development Programme (ICT) � Transport Infrastructure Recovery in Angola and DRC (Infrastructure) � Project Thusanang (Stock Exchanges) � Trans-boundary Water Resources (Water) � Integrated Water Resource Management (Water)

We are part of the initiative driven by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to bring closer contact between NEPAD and private companies to promote sustainable development throughout Africa. We have also met with Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe NEPADs' to work in long-term value chain projects involving several countries within regions.

One example is the optical fibre submarine cable project spearheaded by Telkom, which connects a number of African countries to Europe and Asia. This cable system assists in bridging the digital divide between Africa and the developed nations and offers a faster, more efficient trading channel between the continent and international markets.

The cable system delivers an African solution for Africa, the kind that doubles Africa�s tele-density, lowers costs, ensures more reliable telecommunications and e-readiness.

Valuable lessons on regional co-operation can be learned from the Westcor project, involving the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The project aims to connect the DRC and South Africa, spanning the five countries in the SADC region.

This is a bold vision to harness Africa�s huge energy resources and to power the continent's economies. The power pool through integrating the region�s electricity sector will result in a massive market. Due to inexpensive energy in southern Africa, the Western Power Corridor inter-connection will attract high power-consuming industries to the region.

Another example is the West African gas pipeline project, which is an international gas transmission system that transports Nigeria's abundant natural gas resources for the energy needs of Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Under the auspices of ECOWAS, this cooperative international venture brings a long-term source of natural gas to Ghana, Benin and Togo and stimulates economic growth and attracts additional investments. These projects can be replicated in other regions throughout the continent.

Africa needs business leadership that counts and has shared interests and commitment to rebuild the African continent. For those companies looking to expand their operations into Africa the NEPAD Business Foundation, through its network and reach, offers a unique platform on which to bring like-minded parties together to create and effectively launch projects.

When the whole of African society, governments, and business sees NEPAD as a call to action, then we will have begun our journey to self-realisation. When we see infrastructure development and significant job-creation, Africa-wide, when the regional economic blocs pull together with a common vision and see themselves as part of one big African family, then our victory will have begun.

Extracts from a presentation given by Reuel J Khoza, chairman Eskom, at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

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