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Projects in Progress 2022 (First Edition)

Beating the backlog together

South Africa has made investment, especially investment in infrastructure, a key priority as it desperately seeks to reignite growth and spur employment creation through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. It is one thing prioritising investment, but quite another making it happen, particularly given global and domestic headwinds. Globally, the ongoing pandemic, rising inflation, an intensifying climate crisis and a growing number of conflicts, epitomised by, but definitely not limited to, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are all undermining the allocation of capital to developing economies. Domestically, the microeconomic reforms that are viewed as so crucial to unblocking investment in energy, logistics and digital infrastructure are either progressing too slowly or experiencing growing pains. On all these fronts, South Africa is currently lacking, which is why partnerships are now so crucial between government and business. To lay the foundations for far higher levels of economic growth, government needs to enter into a true collaboration with the private sector and civil society to realise infrastructure delivery. In such an environment, government should use its policy muscle to leverage those fixed investment areas, such as green energy, which will have the biggest economic-, employment- and climate-resiliency multipliers, while ensuring that the guardrails are in place to prevent corruption and abuse of dominance. It is a partnership that can begin with pockets of excellence, such as unlocking new distributed power generation by miners, before being progressively expanded to other crucial areas, including water, sanitation, roads, bridges, rail, housing, and broadband infrastructure. It is time to beat the backlog together.

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