Propelling African Development
By Harry C. Alford, NNPA Columnist
We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out this enigma about African development. We traveled to Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Ethiopia again and again. It was a blur but now it is starting to emerge as a solid vision. Africa, a continent of 53 nations, multiple religions; many languages and races and political incohesiveness is a very tough puzzle. On the positive side, it is a virtual basket of wealth and natural resources. No other continent on earth has the precious minerals, lakes, forests and 80 percent of earth’s arable land.
Like North America, the real wealth of Africa will not be realized until proper infrastructure is in place. The equivalent of the interstate highway system, Tennessee Valley Authority, East to West railway systems, Hoover Dam, etc. must be in place. Once established, great industries and economies will flourish. At long last it is beginning to take form. Africa is on the move and, un-fortunately, America is a minor player.
There are 600 million citizens of Africa without the use of electricity. That’s 59 percent of the entire population. No major interstate transportation system and no major harnessing of potable water and irrigation exists. Fortunately, this is now being addressed.
Here are some of the major projects that will propel Africa into the 21stcentury.
BRICS Cable: BRICS is an economic alliance among Brazil, Russia, India, China and most recently South Africa. It is to compete with Europe and the United States in regards to economic growth and innovation. This project will connect these nations via cable and also mainline them with all corners of the world. The fiber optic cables will start in Vladivostok, Russia and go through Shantou in China and onto Singapore. From there, the cable will go to Chennai, India to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and then to South Africa. From there it will go to Fortaleza in Brazil and then on up to Jacksonville, Fla. Thus, with South Africa as the receiving base, all of Africa will be connected via high technology with the entire world. Business at the speed of “thought” will be realized in Africa.
Lagos Metro Blue Line: This is a New York City-style rail line for the 18 million inhabitants of Lagos, Nigeria.
Ethiopia Djibouti Railway: The port of Djibouti will serve as a virtual seaport for land locked Ethiopia. Trade in Ethiopia will jumpstart exponentially.
O3b Networks: A one billion dollar satellite and fiber network providing Internet backbone to developing nations with limited access to broadband. This will connect several billion users within 177 nations.
Durban Waste to Energy Project: This model can be emulated. It will take methane gas derived from household waste and convert it to electricity serving the needs of the citizens of Durban, South Africa.
Abidjan-Lagos Motorway: This highway system will connect the nations of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria along the western coastline. It’s an eight billion dollar project.
Mombasa – Kigali Rail Link: This major railway system will connect the capitals of Kigali, Rwanda and Kampala, Uganda with the major Kenyan seaport of Mombasa.
Grand Inga Dam: This hydroelectric project in the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be double the size of the massive China Three Georges Dam. This will certainly be a game changer for the center of Africa.
Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project: This will produce energy to markets in Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
Lake Turkana Wind Power Project: This is Africa’s largest wind farm scheme. It will supply northeast Kenya with 300 megawatts of clean power.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: This dam will work the Blue Nile River close to the Sudan border. The dam will flood 1,680 square kilometers, twice the size of Ethiopia’s largest lake, Lake Tana, and will supply precious water for farming and human consumption.
Mtwara Corridor Development Project: This is a series of over 300 infrastructure projects dealing in sea ports, railways, roads, bridges, airports, ferries and pipelines throughout the nations of Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
Jasper Power Project: This is a major solar project that will supply 96 megawatts to the Northern Cape of South Africa. The major funding, $12 billion, is coming from Google.
North South Corridor (NSC): This is a combination of 157 projects dealing in mining, airports, roads, rail and energy output. Eight nations including Tanzania, DRC, Zambia and South Africa will be connected in this industrial scheme.
Trans-Kalahari Railway: This will link the coal fields of Botswana to the seaport of Walvis Bay, Namibia. A game changer for land locked Botswana.
The above is just a sampling of what is going on in the continent of Africa. It is a transformation from rural, jungle in fact, to modern industrial might. The continent is arriving step by step and relatively fast.