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We are nearly halfway into 2022 and there are already quite a few major infrastructure development projects that are going to transform the face of the continent by the end of the year. The African infrastructure landscape is rapidly growing and evolving, with governments, private investors, and foreign direct investments bringing some much-needed distinction through the building of megacities, skyscrapers, superhighways, and many more. These major infrastructure investments are giving our cities and communities those long-awaited facelifts while offering immense social and economic value to governments, citizens, and investors. These investments come with new job opportunities, improved quality of life, and an allure of flourishing cities for investors.
Highlighted are some of the major infrastructure developments that will create a significant impact on the continent in 2022.
1. Dangote Petroleum Refinery – Nigeria
The Ukrainian war has brought with it economic pain and suffering in many parts of the world, including Africa, by throwing the global supply of crude oil products into disarray. Russia, the third-largest exporter of refined crude products has slowed down its crude exports due to sanctions and technical challenges with some of its facilities, causing the already volatile fuel prices to skyrocket. African countries have been hit the hardest, especially because our refineries and importers do not have large reserves and the much-needed capital to cushion them from impending price shocks. Over the last month, the fuel crisis has been consistent across the continent. Fuel shortages and abnormal price hikes have been reported in Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, South Africa, and other African countries, thereby denying African countries the lifeblood of our modern economies.
However, much of this can be avoided in the future, especially with the construction of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer, yet it imports almost all its petroleum products. This has been largely due to the mismanagement, corruption, and running down of its 4 major refineries, leaving the country with no choice but to import refined petroleum products. The new refinery plant is expected to be completed later in the year, consequently changing the narrative. With an expected processing capacity of 650,000 barrels a day, the refinery will be the largest single-train refinery in the world.
2. Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project – South Africa
South Africa remains Africa’s richest country in terms of GDP per capita, but its growth has been drawn back by persistent power supply problems. Load shedding in the country has become an undesirable norm that is slowing down industrial and individual productivity, especially with the advent of remote work and employees not being able to install personalized power backups within their residences.
In 2015, the South African Department of Energy announced the Redstone solar thermal project that is expected to generate up to 100 megawatts at the cost of approximately 715 million dollars on completion. Targeted to operate at maximum efficiency for 30 years, the plant is expected to deliver stable electricity to more than 200,000 homes across the country during peak periods and will be capable of storing up to 12 hours of full-load energy.
3. Grand Inga Dam – DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo was recently admitted to the East African Community, a significant political and economic effort that connects the Central African country to new allies and positions the country on a path to much-needed cooperation with its neighbors. DRC is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of mineral resources, yet the majority of its population remains some of the most economically excluded people in the world. In an effort to light up the country, there’s a fast track to the construction of a major hydroelectric power plant known as the Grand Inga Dam. The country is working with the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development in their efforts to get the power station built. Expected to generate 70 gigawatts of electricity at full capacity, the power plant will be the biggest power generation plant in the world, with the surplus production to be exported to Nigeria, South Africa, and some countries in Africa and Europe.
4. New Capital City – Egypt
The Egyptian government has been building a new smart city that will become its new administrative capital. The ambitious project has been ongoing since construction began in 2015 and is expected to accommodate up to 7 million people upon its completion, making it the largest urban community in the world. The project is part of Egypt’s Vision 2030 delivery goals that were unveiled in 2016, highlighting eight key national goals to be achieved by 2030, largely in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Key features of the smart city are its solar farm, green gardens, and theme park.
5. Standard Gauge Railway – Tanzania
After Kenya and Ethiopia completed the construction of their standard gauge railway lines, Tanzania is on course to deliver its own standard gauge railway. The project is more consequential as it is expected to be the network of choice to connect countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Dar Es Salaam seaport is likely to affect Kenya on a regional economic level by disconnecting these countries to its Mombasa port through its already established railway line. The first phase of the project was completed in April 2022, while the second phase is set for completion and operation by December 2022.
These sample projects show the progress that the continent is making to position itself as an economic stronghold, while solving critical infrastructure challenges in energy, transportation, logistics, and industrial processing, among others. Africa’s improved infrastructure will bolster a new and unequivocal narrative of the continent.