The infrastructure and Services Directorate held its Strategic Planning and Team Building Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa on 18 – 22 March 2013. The overall objective for the workshop was to share strategies for implementing the SADC Infrastructure Master Plan in an integrated manner.
The SADC Infrastructure Master Plan was adopted by SADC Heads of States and Governments at a Summit in August 2012, as a 15-year blueprint to guide the implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects between 2013 and 2027. The plan serves as a key strategic framework to guide the implementation of efficient, seamless and cost-effective trans boundary infrastructure networks in an integrated and coordinated manner in all the six sectors within the Infrastructure and Services Directorate, namely Energy, Transport, Tourism, ICT and Postal, Meteorology and Water.
The master plan is based on Vision 2027 which caters for implementation over three phases, the short term (2013-2017), the medium term (2017-2022), and the long term (2022-2027). In the energy sector, the plan is expected to address four key areas of energy security, improving access to modern energy services, tapping the abundant energy resources and up-scaling financial investment whilst enhancing environmental sustainability.
In the water sector the plan prioritises strengthening institutions; preparation of bankable strategic water infrastructure development projects; increased water storage to prepare for resilience against climate change; increasing access to safe drinking water; and enhancing sanitation services for SADC citizens; facilitating and coordination the SADC regional Water Programme (RSAP3).
In the sub-sectors of road, rail, ports, inland waterways and air transport networks, the transport sector plan focuses on Effective Regulation of Transport Services; Liberalisation of Transport Markets; Development of Corridors and facilitation of cross-border movement; Construction of missing regional transport links; Effective management of the SADC ICAO Permanent Mission in Montreal, Canada; Corridor Management Institutions establishment for Beira, Lobito and North-South Corridors; and harmonisation of road safety data systems.
In the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector plan the focus is on addressing Harmonisation of SADC Regional ICT Policy & Regulatory Frameworks; SADC Regional ICT Infrastructure Development; International and Regional Coordination; Coordination and harmonisation of SADC ICT and Postal Strategic Plans and Programmes; facilitation of policy dialogue and implementation of Transport, Communication and Meteorology Protocol.
The tourism sector plan is geared towards achieving enhanced socio-economic development; facilitating joint marketing of SADC as a single destination; increasing tourism arrivals and tourism receipts from source markets; and developing the tourism sector in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Meteorology sector plan focuses on the need to ensure the availability of timely early warning information relating to adverse weather and climate variability impacts. Another highlight of the Meteorology sector plan is the development of a framework for harmonized indicators for the provision of relevant climate forecasting information to facilitate preparations of mitigation measures against droughts, floods and cyclones.
The strategic planning workshop was attended by staff from the six sectors in the directorates, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration Eng. João Caholo, and representatives from the Gender Unit, Procurement Unit, Human Resources, and Finance, to share perspectives aimed at facilitating integrated and coordinated implementation of projects.
Eng. Caholo urged the Directorate to introduce a mechanism to provide progress updates on the implementation of the master plan on a regular basis as a way of keeping the momentum high among stakeholders. The Senior Programme Officer for the Gender Unit Mrs Magdeline Madibela emphasised the importance of mainstreaming gender in all infrastructural projects in order to address the different needs of SADC citizens.
In his welcome remarks to the workshop participants, the Director of the Infrastructure and Services Directorate Mr Remigious Makumbe emphasised the need for increased collaboration on initiatives to promote the infrastructure programme so as to attract investment for the development of regional infrastructure.
The week-long workshop was spiced with activities to promote team work, and study tours to enhance appreciation of the role of infrastructure to social and economic development. The study tours included a visit to Telkom and the City of Cape Town. At Telkom the staff toured one of the fibre optic cable stations to appreciate the infrastructure involved in the Broadband Connectivity for the Region. At the City of Cape Town the staffs learnt about the City’s newly Integrated Urban Transport System, and an innovative artificial groundwater recharge scheme in Witsand.