SADC seeks investment in infrastructure
Southern Africa has taken its multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development plan to potential funders in China - a country that is now the leading investor in Africa.
In the last decade or so, Chinese investments in Africa have been on the rise, despite an overall decrease of foreign investment on the continent by some traditional partners due to a combination of factors, including depleted resources caused by the 2008/09 global financial and economic downturn.
According to the latest white paper on China-Africa economic trade and cooperation released in 2013, Chinese investment in Africa has rapidly increased from US$1.44 billion in 2009 to US$2.52 billion in 2012.
In addition to this, several agreements targeting infrastructure development have been signed to boost the blooming China-Africa partnership.
One such deal, hailed by the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the "most substantive project the AU has ever signed with a partner," is a continental transport deal signed early this year to develop road, rail and air transport routes to link cities across the continent.
At present, the quickest route to travel from one side of Africa to another can involve connections routed via Europe, although it is feasible to connect directly.
To complement this cooperation, as well as attract a significant share of Chinese investment into the region, SADC presented its infrastructure development plan to Chinese investors at a recent SADC-China Infrastructure Investment Seminar held in Beijing.