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Cape Town - South Africa, together with Nigeria and Egypt, were forecast to meet 69 percent of their infrastructure needs by 2040, but South Africa would still need to spend 2.4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) a year to meet these needs in the next 13 years.

This is according to the Global Infrastructure Outlook report released on Wednesday and conducted by the G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub and Oxford Economics.

The report included a study of 50 countries across the world and seven industry sectors. The results found that African countries had to spend $174billion (R2.26trillion) collectively per year until 2040 if the continent was to meet its infrastructure needs under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“The infrastructure investment forecasts for South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria appear the most affordable out of the African countries in our sample, and amount to no more than 3.2 percent of GDP in the current trends scenario, or no more than 4.9 percent of GDP under the investment needs scenario” the report said. If African economies wanted their performance to match that of their best performing peers, the total infrastructure investment would need to be $240bn per annum over the next 23 years.

Most African countries had very large infrastructure needs, relative to the size of their economies and faced significant investment gaps, but that South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia and Egypt, had each contributed between 6 percent and 11 percent of Africa’s infrastructure investment since 2007.

To achieve the SDGs by 2030, South Africa needs to commit an additional $23bn in the water and electricity sectors, taking the total to $464bn by 2040.

The report further found that South Africa would need to spend 0.5percent of its GDP on water and sanitation infrastructure to meet the SGD requirements.

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South Africa’s Treasury, in this financial year’s budget committed to spend more than R50bn to fund national and provincial economic infrastructure requirements.

The Infrastructure Development Act No 23 of 2014 was signed into law by the President Jacob Zuma. The Act, which facilitates and co-ordinates public infrastructure development, also established co-ordination structures of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (Picc).

The Picc ensures that all three spheres of government are part of the Picc and that all the main executive authorities across the public sector meet on a regular basis to drive the implementation of infrastructure development plans.

A World Bank report released earlier this year found that only 35 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's population had access to electricity, with rural access rates less than one-third of urban ones. Transport infrastructure is likewise lagging, with sub-Saharan Africa being the only region in the world where road density has declined over the past 20 years. However, access to safe water has increased, from 51 percent of the population in 1990 to 77 percent in 2015.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE