Seven big dollar infrastructure projects that are reshaping Africa

Grand Inga dam
Phase 1 of the proposed Grand Inga Dam in the DR Congo. PHOTO | FILE
Africa has recently embarked on dozens of big ticket projects as the continent moves to set up the necessary infrastructure to support its fast growing population that is expected to double by 2050.

Here are some of the most ambitious projects announced or underway in Africa.

1. Grand Inga Dam
The proposed Grand Inga Dam in the DR Congo is primed to become the largest energy-generating body in the world with an average output of 39,000 MW annually – nearly twice as much as the Three Gorges dam in China. The facility will cost an estimated $100 billion.

2. Bagamoyo Port
In its race to become a regional economic powerhouse, Tanzania has embarked on the construction of a $11 billion facility that is expected to become Africa’s largest port handling 20 million containers per year. The Bagamoyo Port, whose construction is underway at the Swahili historical town of Bagamoyo, is set for completion in 2045.

3. Konza Technology City
Kenya is betting on information technology to drive its economic growth. The country has embarked on construction of a $14.5 billion technology city in Machakos County in a bid to attract technology talents and investors. The smart city, which is modelled around the US Silicon Valley, has so far attracted several wealthy investors including a leading Korean university.

4. North-South Corridor
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) is undertaking an ambitious project dubbed North-South Corridor – comprising a series of roadways and railways spanning over 9,600 kilometres across seven countries.

The project, which kicked off in 2009, links the port of Durban to the Copperbelt in DR Congo and Zambia and has spurs linking the port of Dar es Salaam and the Copperbelt and Durban to Malawi.

5. Modderfontein New City
Construction is well underway on a new Chinese financed $8 billion city in Modderfontein, Gauteng – South Africa.

The development that is christened Modderfontein New City is being undertaken by Chinese developer Zendai Property Limited on 1,600 hectares of land near Johannesburg. The city will become a hub for Chinese firms investing in African infrastructure.

6. Grand Ethiopian Dam
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is under construction in Benishangul-Gumuz in Ethiopia. Work on the 6,000 MW dam began six years ago and is now 70 per cent complete. The $4.8 billion facility is, however, facing criticism from rights groups who argue that it has displaced nearly 20,000 people.

8. Jasper Solar Farm
Jasper Solar Farm, which opened in 2014 in Kimberley, Northern Cape – South Africa, produces about 180,000 MW-hours per year, capable of lighting 80,000 homes. It is considered to be the largest solar power farm in Africa.

7. Dangote Cement
Africa’s largest cement producer Dangote Cement has signed contracts worth $4.3 billion in 2015 with a Chinese engineering firm to increase its capacity to 100 million tons across 15 countries by 2020.
The deal, which will see construction and expansion of more than a dozen factories, will enable the construction of many other projects around the continent.