Infrastructure development companies gear up for inaugural SIDSSA

​​On 23 June 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa will host the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA), when government will lay out its long-term pipeline of priority projects for construction and infrastructure development companies.

This symposium is part of government's plan to provide visibility, knowledge and understanding of where infrastructure investment is being made and by whom, to boost market confidence and help the infrastructure sector with planning. It will also be a platform to explore partnerships between the public and private sectors. This is key to the continued growth of strategic infrastructure projects, especially after the slowdown in the construction sector that followed government restrictions on almost all projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We view the symposium as a step in the right direction to create much-needed stimulus in the infrastructure sector. It should provide a credible infrastructure pipeline across six priority areas: water, transport, energy, digital infrastructure, human settlements, and agriculture (including agroprocessing).

In preparation for the symposium, SIDSSA held pitch sessions to sound out the market on 28 and 29 May 2020. These sessions provided potential project sponsors with an audience that included multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, asset managers and commercial banks to which they could present potentially bankable projects and those that require project preparation funding.

The SIDSSA platform has been established by the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency, headed by Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. It has attracted sector specialists, technical and financial structuring experts and departments that have considered 177 infrastructure projects across public and private sectors. DBSA was advanced ZAR 635 million to set up the ZAR 100 billion Infrastructure Fund to fund priority infrastructure projects.

This credible infrastructure pipeline is government's response to the decline in infrastructure spend in recent years to 13% of total spending. Government aims to increase this to 30% by 2030 to achieve the growth targets in the National Development Plan.

On the government website, the presidency's office said: “Government recognises that infrastructure investment is a critical driver for the future growth of the South African economy. South Africa requires a catalytic kind of infrastructure investment that will contribute to higher long-term growth, and address spatial disparities, transform the economy and create much needed jobs”.

Webber Wentzel’s dedicated Energy and Infrastructure and Transport sector groups combine expertise in project development and finance, regulations, procurement, mergers and acquisitions and disputes. The groups can offer legal solutions including early development, structuring, permitting and environmental reviews, and draft commercial agreements for project development and ultimately project financing. We can assist project participants in successfully navigating investment challenges in South Africa (and more broadly, sub-Saharan Africa) through our deep sector expertise and effective mixture of local and international knowledge.