Propelling African Development

Harry C. Alford | 4/20/2015, 10:51 a.m.
We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out this enigma about African development.
Harry C. Alford

We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out this enigma about African development. We traveled to Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Ethiopia again and again. It was a blur but now it is starting to emerge as a solid vision. Africa, a continent of 53 nations, multiple religions; many languages and races and political in cohesiveness is a very tough puzzle. On the positive side, it is a virtual basket of wealth and natural resources. No other continent on earth has the precious minerals, lakes, forests and 80 percent of earth’s arable land.

Like North America, the real wealth of Africa will not be realized until proper infrastructure is in place. The equivalent of the interstate highway system, Tennessee Valley Authority, East to West railway systems, Hoover Dam, etc. must be in place. Once established, great industries and economies will flourish. At long last it is beginning to take form. Africa is on the move and, unfortunately, America is a minor player.

There are 600 million citizens of Africa without the use of electricity. That’s 59 percent of the entire population. No major interstate transportation system and no major harnessing of potable water and irrigation exist. Fortunately, this is now being addressed.

Here are some of the major projects that will propel Africa into the 21st century.

BRICS Cable: BRICS is an economic alliance among Brazil, Russia, India, China and most recently South Africa. It is to compete with Europe and the United States in regards to economic growth and innovation. This project will connect these nations via cable and also mainline them with all corners of the world. The fiber optic cables will start in Vladivostok, Russia and go through Shantou in China and onto Singapore. From there, the cable will go to Chennai, India to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and then to South Africa. From there it will go to Fortaleza in Brazil and then on up to Jacksonville, Fla. Thus, with South Africa as the receiving base, all of Africa will be connected via high technology with the entire world. Business at the speed of “thought” will be realized in Africa.

Lagos Metro Blue Line: This is a New York City-style rail line for the 18 million inhabitants of Lagos, Nigeria.

Ethiopia Djibouti Railway: The port of Djibouti will serve as a virtual seaport for land locked Ethiopia. Trade in Ethiopia wills jumpstart exponentially.

O3b Networks: A $1billion satellite and fiber network providing Internet backbone to developing nations with limited access to broadband. This will connect several billion users within 177 nations.

Durban Waste to Energy Project: This model can be emulated. It will take methane gas derived from household waste and convert it to electricity serving the needs of the citizens of Durban, South Africa.

Abidjan-Lagos Motorway: This highway system will connect the nations of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria along the western coastline. It’s an $8 billion project.

Mombasa – Kigali Rail Link: This major railway system will connect the capitals of Kigali, Rwanda and Kampala, Uganda with the major Kenyan seaport of Mombasa.