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PPPs can boost rural development

An image of Gap Infrastructure Corporation CEO Roelof van den Berg

ROELOF VAN DEN BERG While the government has an abundance of workers and funding, the private sector brings the technical expertise and project management planning that is often lacking

3rd November 2023

     

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In rural areas, infrastructure development should entail more than merely meeting basic communication, energy, sanitation, transport, and water infrastructure needs.

Gap Infrastructure Corporation CEO Roelof van den Berg asserts that members of both government and the private sector ought to make a collaborative effort to ensure that infrastructure projects address recreational, safety and social requirements to improve the quality of life for rural residents.

This can be achieved through the establishment of auxiliary projects – by the public and private sectors – to build onto already-existing primary infrastructure development initiatives. Auxiliary projects will address the unique needs of rural residents by going “above and beyond” the sphere of basic service provision.

The business collaboration between government and private sector entities – in both South Africa and Africa at large – will ensure the successful provision of funding and workers by government, and extensive expertise and project management planning from private sector entities across the continent.

“While the government has an abundance of workers and funding, the private sector brings the technical expertise and project management planning that is often lacking,” says Van den Berg.

He notes that it is crucial for private sector infrastructure developers, government or municipal entities to make a collective effort to improve rural infrastructure development by implementing such auxiliary projects, which will, in turn, better the lives of residents in rural communities.

A Collaborative Effort

Firstly, during the tender phase of infrastructure projects, private sector entities can encourage government and municipal entities to implement auxiliary projects, says Van den Berg.

The idea of implementing auxiliary projects suggested by private sector developers can be supported by illustrating to government how past successful auxiliary projects have positively impacted on rural communities.

Moreover, private sector developers can identify the needs of rural communities, drive support for auxiliary projects, and improve these auxiliary project deliverables by engaging with other private sector developers and public sector organisations.

Secondly, governments and municipal entities can create policies to mandate the inclusion of auxiliary projects during the process of implementing rural development objectives. Additionally, government can award private sector developers who incorporate auxiliary projects in proposals with funding and incentives, which could be awarded in the form of grants, subsidies and tax benefits.

Van den Berg concludes that, government and private sector entities making a collective effort in adopting the steps of including auxiliary projects in rural development plans, will see both parties contribute to improving life for rural community residents by making a deeper, positive impact on their lived experiences and the socioeconomic environment.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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