UK and SA sign agreement to support sustainable infrastructure delivery | Infrastructure news

South Africa’s capacity to deliver infrastructure projects will be bolstered with the support of the UK government – after the UK and South African governments extended a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the latter’s National Infrastructure Programme 2050.

UK Minister for Exports and Minister for Equalities, Mike Freer, and South Africa’s Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, signed the MoU at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, on Monday.

The UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), a body that conceptualises projects and then sees them through to execution, and Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) – a programme within the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) that supports the planning, management, and delivery of projects – are both involved in the partnership.

The UK will support South Africa’s infrastructure plans by sharing technical knowledge, advice, skills and expertise.

This is a continuation of a previous MoU signed in 2020, in which South Africa adopted the UK’s 5 Case Model and Project Development Route Map training programme, which are globally recognised as best practices.

Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, head of ISA, explained government realised the issue with rolling out infrastructure was a lack of “financial and technical engineering capacity” to prepare and package them in a way that they can raise funding through debt capital markets.

He recalled how a South African delegation visited the UK’s IPA and was exposed to the 5 Case Model and its robustness in packaging projects so that they could attract funding.

One of the requests made for the MoU was for South African officials to have training on the 5 Case Model. ISA staff were among those first trained, and so far over 150 officials across all spheres of South African government, including state-owned enterprises, have been trained.”

These are people typically charged with the responsibility of designing projects and evaluating projects … so that is what we have been able to benefit from. What we want to do is standardise that model across the three spheres of government.”- Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Ramokgopa explained that if a project has “survived the test” of the 5 case Model, it means its prospects of being funded through the debt capital markets is elevated. This is because development finance institutions and multilateral banks are familiar with it.

The extended MoU will benefit 150 more government officials and entities – this includes municipalities, public entities and state-owned enterprises that are “critical” in infrastructure delivery, a joint statement from the parties read.

In her remarks, De Lille noted that South Africa “borrowed a lot” of ideas from the UK and even used the UK’s methodologies to narrow down a pipeline of projects from 276 to 62 that were bankable and could be taken to market.

“The 5 case model has helped us a great deal,” De Lille said. In the next few months, her department is planning to incorporate it into the Infrastructure Development Act, so that it can become law.

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