It's Christmas in Africa too, if only

Africa needs infrastructure! If only we had  an infrastructure corridor from Cape Town to Cairo. The 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer event has given us a start. The road network in South Africa has been upgraded substantially, and wow, its looking awesome. Despite economic recession thousands of engineers, surveyers and civil construction workers of every discipline have beavered away for the past thirty six months or more to create a labyrinth of access to commerce.

If only we could extend this up Africa, beyond the road infrastructure to include ICT, Banking, Energy and Water. I've been following Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang's excellent work at the World Bank during 2009. A report entitled "A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Cell Phone Coverage in Sub-Sahara Africa" provides some insight to the challenge.

 The figures above from that World Bank report indicate GSM penetration and pro-competitive policy respectively. This got me thinking about what other infrastructure "penetration" or project initiatives there may be that would support or at least have a relationship to Infrsatructure. So I had a look by country, in order of the "Doing Business" rankings at the projects mentioned on Engineering News.
MTN probably gets the most mentions so I added the little grey and green graphic above that shows the 22 odd countries where MTN operates. Just on the basis of MTN's presence there is almost a continuous green band from the Cape to Cairo. To close the great big gap in the middle would need Vodacom and MTN to consider co-optitition, yeah right! But what really struck me in the table below is that I only found ONE active PPP (Public Private Partnership) and NO evidence of any real regional collaboration (particularly private-public) across all of this development. I recently attended an emerging markets seminar and the the Indian and Chinese Bank's were well represented and looking for opportunities.

The table below lists the projects and companies that caught my eye, where the coutry ranked below 100 on Doing Business:

Countries below 100 by “Doing Business” Ranking:
Source: Engineering News
MTN, Telkom, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Eskom, Dimension Data, Sonjica, Neotel, Sanral, AFD, Motorola
· Neotel secures R7,5bn to fund infrastructure roll-out
MTN, Botswana Telecom, Mascom, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Botswana Power Company, CIC Energy, Dimension Data, Bharti, Karoo Sustainable Energy, Atlas Copco, Lancet Laboratories
· Atlas Copco appoints new distributor in Botswana
· PPC expands aggregates business in Botswana
· China's ICBC, Standard Bank to sign finance deal for Morupule Power Plant
· CIC Energy enthused and disappointed by Eskom's strategy shift
· CIC signs Mmamabula project development deal
Barloworld, Selco, Raubex, Shell
· Botswana, Namibia to ramp up Zim power generation
· Major natural gas strike off Namibia
· Namibia to invest $910m in energy projects
·  Namibia's Selco swings to profit
· Raubex enters Namibia with contracts worth R1bn
· NamPower to lease dark fibre capacity on transmission lines
· Telecoms operators seal West Africa cable system agreement
MTN, Sace, ATI, Altech, CDC
MTN, Telkom, BP, DBSA, Lancet Laboratories
MTN, Oando, Lancet Laboratories
Altech, Vestas, Daewoo, SITA Aero, MAN Diesel, Lancet Laboratories
MTN, Lancet Laboratories, Altech

It's amazing how many of these projects are related or at least similar in that they imply some Infrastructure development.

If only they (the Countries, the Companies in those countries and the people) could all have some common vision to truly empower Africa, then it may be Christmas in Africa too. Leadership that shapes the future and makes things happen must be key.

The table below lists the projects and companies that caught my eye, where the country ranked above 100 on Doing Business:

Sadly the DRC is right at the bottom of the list...

Countries above 100 by “Doing Business” Ranking:
Source: Engineering News
MTN, SAPPI, Illovo, Lancet Laboratories, Rainbow Construction
· Taking It Right To The Top 100
MTN, Telkom, Econet, Chevron, Shell, Actis, RMB, Nitel, Nissan
· Aes Nigeria Barge Power Project
Vodacom, Phillips, TCTA, Sonjica
Vodacom, AfDB, Distell, Dimension Data, Afrisam, Illovo, SABMiller, Siemens
G-mobile, Beryl Capital & Telecoms, Zain, Telekom Networks, BP, MTL
Vodacom, O-Line, Barloworld, Jeffares and Green, Sasol, Lancet Laboratories
MTN, Tata, ACT
MTN, Togo Telecom
· MTN launches Uganda mobile-banking services
· Transmission integration project two-thirds complete
· SA is gearing up to produce batteries for electric vehicles
MTN, OilVoice, Alcatel-Lucent
MTN, Vodacom, Westcor
MTN, Pfiser, The Bearing Man Group
· West Africa Power Pool
Tongaat Hulett, ArcelorMittal SA
MTN, Nedbank Capital
· Semiurban drinking water supply and sanitation project
· River Wouri deep seaport
· Memve'ele hydropower project
· Sub-Saharan road freight costs 200% more expensive than rest of World
· Telecoms operators seal West Africa cable system agreement
· Foreign assistance schedules Coega LNG regasification project visit
· Tower sharing can save African, Middle Eastern mobile operators
· Safety product enters refinery market
· MTN subscriber base reaches 100m mark
Vodacom, Siemens, WBHO, Eurocopter
· Short Term Energy Market
· Construction margins under pressure – WBHO
· Eurocopter expands SA facilities in anticipation of growing post
· North-South Corridor project 'perfect' example of aid for trade – Lamy

Merry Christmas 2009. May 2010 be a new beginning of hope and prosperity for Africa!