AFRICA IS IN THE MIDST OF AN UNPARALLELED CONSTRUCTION BOOM
A look at some of its biggest, most ambitious projects.
- Great Inga Dam ($80 billion) – With 40,000MW capacity, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Great Inga will be the largest dam in the world, doubling production of China’s Three Gorges Dam. First phase is expected to provide over 4,500MW of electricity with a cost of $12 billion. Once complete, Inga will be able to provide over 500 million Africans with energy.
- Konza City ($14.5 billion) – Located southeast of Nairobi, the “African Silicon Savannah” is Kenya’s answer to the United States’ Silicon Valley. The technology and financial mega city, expected to be completed in early 2018, will include a business district, a science park, residential apartments, hotels and malls, and a university. It is expected to attract over 100,000 jobs.
- Mombasa-Kigali-Nairobi Rail Project ($13.5 billion) –The project seeks to link Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, covering an estimated 3,000 kilometers and dropping barriers to regional trade and import and export costs for landlocked Uganda and Rwanda.
- Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ($4.8 billion) – Despite tension between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over use of the Nile, the dam is to generate 6,000MW of energy and provide Egypt and Sudan with electricity. It will create over 12,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is expected to be completed in 2017.
- Eko Light Rail Project ($1.2 billion) – Built by a Chinese construction giant, the Blue Line rail project aims to decongest traffic in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. The line will move commuters from Marina – a densely populated business district – to Okokomaiko, with 13 stops in-between, providing workers with an easier alternative to the hectic traffic faced daily on roads.
- Eko Atlantic City ($6 billion) – This development in Lagos, Nigeria is a joint venture between Lagos State government and South Energyx. It is expected to occupy 10 square kilometers of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean and will contain financial institutions, commercial and retail, residential and tourist accommodations with state-of-the-art high-tech infrastructure.
- North South Corridor – NSC is a series of inter-related projects that address road, rail, port, air transport infrastructure; border posts and energy interconnectors. It includes a corridor linking the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with the Copperbelt in Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo; and another link is via the Copperbelt to the Port of Durban in South Africa. It spans eight countries and entails improvements to 8,650 km of roads (outside S. Africa) and 600 km of rail tracks. There are 157 identified projects, including 59 road projects, 38 rail projects and six bridge projects. Ultimate goal: a 7,300 km trans-African highway from Cape Town to Cairo.
- Lake Turkana Wind Power ($600 million to $700 million) – Africa’s largest wind farm, under development since 2005, will provide 300MW of clean power to Kenya’s national electricity grid. It will be the largest single private investment in Kenya’s history. The wind farm covers 40,000 acres in northeast Kenya and will contain 365 wind turbines, a grid collection system and a high voltage substation.
- Mmamabula-Walvis Bay Trans-Kalahari Rail Line ($9 billion) – The rail line, to be known as the Trans-Kalahari Railway, will run 1,500 km from the landlocked Botswana’s Mmamabula coal field to the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia.
- DESERTEC ($400 billion) – This project is intended to harness solar power from the Sahara and pipe it through a Mediterranean super-grid to energy-hungry Europe. DESERTEC includes a consortium of European and MENA companies. Under its proposal, concentrating solar power systems, photovoltaic systems and wind parks would be spread over the desert in northern Africa. Electricity would be transmitted to European and African countries by a super grid of high-voltage direct current cables. It would provide a considerable part of the electricity demand of MENA countries and provide continental Europe with 15% of its electricity needs by 2050.
- Mtwara Development Corridor – A 300-project transportation corridor involving Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. The aim is to give these regions easier access to the port at Mtwara, Tanzania. Involves development and rehab of roads and bridges, sea and lake ports, telecoms, air transport facilities and ferry services. Anchor projects include a $1.7 billion Manda-Mchuchuma-Mtwara rail line from Lake Malawi to the coast.
- BRICS Cable Project ($1.5 billion) – This is a 21,000-mile undersea fiber-optic cable that will run from Fortaleza, Brazil, through Cape Town, South Africa, to Chennai, India to Shantou, China to Vladivostok, Russia to carry high-speed Internet traffic without reliance on U.S. and European networks.
- O3b Networks – Continent-wide project deploying a $1 billion, next-generation satellite network that combines the reach of satellite coverage with the speed of fiber-optic, providing an Internet backbone for Africa.
- Durban Waste-to-Energy Project – Converts methane gas from household waste into electricity. Will supply up to 6,000 low-income households in South Africa with reliable power.
- Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway ($1.2 billion) – A 656 km line connecting Addis Ababa with Djibouti, giving landlocked Ethiopia access to the sea and lowering the cost of transportation.
Sources: Frontier Market Network, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Business Day
Square Kilometer Array Telescope
The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be the world’s biggest radio telescope and will be developed in South Africa, where the view of the Milky Way Galaxy is best and radio interference least. It is a global project with 10 member countries and aims to provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the universe. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 for initial observations by 2019 and full operation by 2024. It will require high performance central computing engines and long-haul links with a capacity greater than the current global Internet traffic. Thus a related development is the plan to have 13,125 km of fiber-optic cable refurbished and strengthened across South Africa by 2020. The expected cost of the SKA is $2 billion.