Will these large investments pay-off, or are they illconcieved?
Africa is undergoing a major facelift with the help of the Chinese and Africa 50 among many other investors and contributors. Africa50 is an investment vehicle established by the African Development Bank in line with the Declaration on the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa. It is “an infrastructure fund that focuses on high-impact national and regional projects mostly in the energy, transport, ICT and water sectors”. With an obvious drive to develop the continent’s infrastructure, Africa already has some incredible mega-projects in the pipeline and the following are just some of the most breath-taking projects ever embarked on in not just the continent but the whole world.
1. Grand Inga Hydropower Project, Democratic Republic of Congo
Redefining the meaning of “mega-project” is the Grand Inga Dam, a complex hydropower project which could potentially power 40% of Africa. When completed, this dam will be the largest of its kind, with double the capacity of the Three Gorges dam of China (the current largest in the world). With a total cost of almost $100 billion, construction of Inga III (the first phase towards building the Grand Inga) is set to begin “by the end of 2016 or the start of 2017.” Commencement of construction has, however, had several false starts and in August, the World Bank withdrew its $73.1 million grant. Once Inga III is completed, the DRC will then begin building the Grand Inga Dam which is expected to be completed by 2025.
Worthy Mention: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam will generate 6,000 MW of electricity and will cost the government $4.7 billion.
2. Bagamoyo Port, Tanzania
At a cost of around $11 billion, Tanzania’s Bagamoyo Port is its show of eagerness to accept its economic expansion and even accelerate it. The port should be able to handle 20 million containers annually when completed and is being funded by China Merchants Holdings International and Oman’s State Government Reserve Fund. It has been described as a model to connect East Africa to China’s silk road and will be the biggest port in Africa. According to The Diplomat, “An integral part of the Bagamoyo project will be an Export Development Zone (EDZ) which will include the construction of an industrial city as well as upgrades to road and railway infrastructure.”
3. Konza Tech City, Kenya
Konza Tech City should be considered as Africa’s official invitation tendered to the future. The future is coming to Kenya and since 2008 when the Government of Kenya approved the creation of the City, the role of Africa in defining what future cities should look like has been asserted. The City will cost a big but worth it $14.5 billion. According to the city’s website, “Konza will be a sustainable, world-class technology hub and major economic driver for Kenya.”
Worthy Mention: Modderfontein New City Project, South Africa
The Modderfontein City has been described as the “New York of Africa” and will cost no less than $7 billion. It will be built on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
4. Jasper Solar Project, South Africa
Though it was completed in 2014, the Jasper Project makes the list for its ground-breaking role in clean energy in Africa. It supplies 80,000 homes with clean solar-generated electricity of up to 96 Megawatts from 325,360 solar panels. That makes it the largest solar harvesting project in the whole continent.
5. Coastal Railway, Nigeria
Nigeria and China are partnering to build this 1,400km railway stretching from Lagos to Calabar. It has been described as one of the highest value rail projects in African history. The Government of Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). China Railway predicted the venture would create around 200,000 jobs for Nigerian locals during construction and 30,000 permanent jobs once the line had been completed.
Worthy Mention: Chad-Sudan Railway
This is another Chinese-funded railway which will connect landlocked Chad to the Red Sea.
Note: All costs within this article are expressed in United States Dollar terms.
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