The UK extends support to strengthen SA’s ability to carry out infrastructure projects

  • The UK government will continue to support SA’s infrastructure program by sharing technical knowledge, advice, skills and expertise.
  • The experience can help the state package social infrastructure projects in a way that allows them to attract the required funding, says an official.
  • Over 150 government officials benefited from an existing agreement between the UK and South Africa.

The state’s ability to carry out infrastructure projects will be strengthened with support from the UK government, this after the UK and South African governments have extended a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the National Infrastructure Program 2050 of the latter.

The government has faced increasing pressure on the provision of public infrastructure in recent years.

UK Minister of Exports and Equal Opportunities, Mike Freer, and South African Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, signed the MoU at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Bishopscourt on Monday , Cape Town, Monday.

The UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), a body that conceptualizes projects and then guides them to execution, and Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) – a program within the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) that supports project planning, management and delivery – they are both involved in the partnership.

The UK will support South Africa’s infrastructure plans by sharing technical knowledge, advice, skills and expertise.

This is a continuation of an earlier MoU signed in 2020, in which South Africa adopted the UK’s 5 Case Model training program and Project Development Route Map, which are recognized globally as best practices.

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Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, head of ISA, explained that the government realized that the problem with implementing the infrastructure was the lack of “financial and technical engineering skills” to prepare and package it so it could raise funding. through the debt capital markets.

He recalled how a South African delegation visited the UK IPA and was exposed to the 5 Case model and its robustness in packaging projects so they could attract funding.

One of the demands made by the MoU was that South African officials receive training on the 5-case model. ISA staff were among the earliest trained, and more than 150 officials have been trained so far in all spheres of the South African government, including state-owned enterprises.

“These are typically people in charge of the responsibility of designing projects and evaluating projects … so that’s what we have benefited from. What we want to do is standardize that model across the three spheres of government.”

– Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Ramokgopa explained that if a project has “survived the test” of the 5-case model, it means that its prospects of being funded even though debt capital markets are high. This is because development finance institutions and multilateral banks know this.

The extended MoU will benefit another 150 government officials and entities, including municipalities, government agencies and state-owned enterprises that are “critical” in providing infrastructure, a joint statement by the parties reads.

In his remarks, De Lille noted that South Africa “borrowed a lot of ideas” from the UK and even used UK methodologies to narrow a pipeline of projects from 276 to 62 that were bankable and could be placed on the market. market.

“The 5 case model helped us a lot,” said De Lille. In the coming months, his department plans to incorporate it into the infrastructure development law so it can become law.

James Ballingall, head of the UK’s IPA, reiterated that the work through the MoU is to help South Africa put structures in place to attract international investment. The 5-case model was recognized as conforming to G20 best practices, he explained.

Knowing that a project fits well into the 5-case model gives potential investors confidence in the projects. The UK has partnered with other countries such as Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil and Peru to share the 5-case model.

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The British High Commissioner for South Africa, Antony Phillipson, explained that the role of the state is to develop the structures needed to give people the confidence to invest, especially in long-term projects. He sees the MoU as a “big step” in the UK’s partnership with South Africa.

He believes the MoU will bring significant benefits to the infrastructure sector and enable UK and South African businesses to work together. “Through our collaborative efforts in research and innovation, we look forward to working with the South African government to provide sustainable infrastructure that fosters growth and job creation,” said Phillipson.

Infrastructure is not the only area in which the two countries are collaborating. The UK is one of the international partners, along with the US, EU, Germany and France, which have pledged to mobilize $ 8.5 billion to assist South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The state has a “crucial role” in making commitments to create structures in which the private and public sectors can intervene, he added.

Freer, who is on a three-day visit to South Africa to strengthen the bilateral partnership between the countries, explained that such partnerships are necessary to build a legacy. UK businesses shouldn’t just build infrastructure and then leave without passing on knowledge and skills, she explained. The MoU shows the UK’s commitment to support the development and implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan for South Africa 2050, she said before the MoU signing ceremony.

“It is an important step towards building closer economic ties and sharing skills and expertise that will encourage trade and investment opportunities to help support South Africa’s recovery from the pandemic and provide shared prosperity,” he added.

He also stressed the importance of social infrastructure, such as public transport, road or rail, to enable people to participate in the economy and thus to self-determine financially.

Freer will also participate in the African Mining Indaba, currently underway in Cape Town. He plans to meet with government and businesses to discuss business opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, mining and renewable energy.

Freer will also meet with Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel to discuss existing trade and identify further opportunities.

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