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

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

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.