The NEPAD business foundation, department of foreign affairs and the department of trade and industry, supported by SADC and NEPAD secretariat will discuss the significance of regional integration within the SADC region at a one day event taking place in August in Johannesburg.

The five partners will explore mechanisms to promote investment in cross-border infrastructure and enhance trade opportunities.  The event is aptly themed “Enhancing Regional Integration”.

NEPAD fully recognises that the development of regional infrastructure is critical for sustaining regional economic development and trade through the sharing of production, management and operations of infrastructure facilities and through hubs as well as development corridors.

The NEPAD/SADC event will discuss development corridors, with the aim of promoting investment.

The two development corridors and related projects under discussion will be: 

  1. The North-South Corridor (Botswana, DRC South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe); and 
  2. The Central Corridor (Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda).

The conference will specifically identify and analyse each development corridor including the status of projects, as well as actions required for successful implementation. Evaluation, prioritising infrastructure projects for immediate action, adopting pro-active measures; and defining modalities for the establishment of effective and action-oriented Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) will also be discussed.

The private sector plays a critical role as enablers and agents for the attainment of their strategic objectives. However, effective private sector participation in supporting the implementation of priority programmes/projects has remained negligible due to a lack of communication; poor access to information on existing and future opportunities; weaknesses relating to project preparation, particularly, bankable projects and the failure to bridge the gap between project preparation and actual implementation.

This conference provides a platform for incisive deliberations, in a structured manner, leading towards the implementation of concerted actions by all concerned to address these challenges. A key outcome of this conference will be a concrete plan of action targeting specific projects to be pursued by the private sector, in particular, the NEPAD Business Foundation in collaboration with relevant authorities and all interested parties. This conference will form the precursor to the Summit for the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit taking place from the 8 – 17 August 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will include a formal launch of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) on the 17th August 2008. For further information regarding the NEPAD/SADC Infrastructure Projects Conference, please contact the NEPAD Business Foundation on 011 – 884 1888 or by visiting the website www.nepadbusinessfoundation.org. ABOUT THE NEPAD BUSINESS FOUNDATION The NEPAD Business Foundation’s mission is to create a platform for dialogue between the private and public sectors in order to actively partner the governments of the continent to realize the objectives of the programme, but also to serve as an instrument which will directly influence public sector policies, bringing about greater trade synergies and co-ordination and craft a more enabling business environment. The Foundation, which is endorsed by the NEPAD Secretariat, will contribute actively to the implementation of the NEPAD Action Programme by ensuring constant communication between the Secretariat and the business community, representing the interests and vies of the private sector, and developing best practice standards in corporate governance for the entire region.