Speaking about Transnet’s continental initiatives in Durban, 3 May, Minister Brown said currently Transnet is pursuing opportunities in Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
“These include possible joint ventures in areas such as rail and port opportunities; the development of infrastructure at ports and establishing transport corridors in those countries.
“Transnet is not only committed to develop infrastructure but their presence must also change the socio-economic conditions of those living close to these projects.
“The company must also as far as possible procure locally and develop Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in those countries,” the Minister said.
The road into the continent started in May 2015 when Transnet adopted its Africa Strategy which is based on their mandate to develop and pursue commercial opportunities on the rest of the continent more actively.
Minister Brown said this must be done with other state-owned companies and the private sector. She said it is also based on Transnet’s need to diversify revenue sources in response to the economic slowdown in the country and the world.
The continent has 15 landlocked countries requiring access to ports than anywhere else.
“If we can address Africa’s logistics infrastructure deficit, we can change the quality of lives of all Africans. And we look to Africa as a key, under-developed market.
“In 2015, intra-African trade accounted for less than 18% of total continental exports. Among the key factors underpinning these numbers is Africa’s logistics infrastructure deficit,” she said.
According to the Logistics Performance Index of the World Bank, just six of the 46 African countries ranked are in the top two categories, 18 are ranked “partial performers”, and 22 are ranked “logistics unfriendly”.
The minister is due to tour Africa’s busiest port- the Port of Durban, and visit the Maritime School of Excellence and Transnet Engineering.