Eastern Africa countries have increased investment in infrastructure projects in the past five years with Tanzania leading in terms of the value and number of projects that broke ground by June last year, helped by the new Likong’o-Mchinga Liquefied Natural Gas plant, the most valuable project in the region, according to a new report.
The Africa Construction Trends Report (2019) by Consultancy firm Deloitte released in January, shows that in the past five years Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda have almost tripled the number of infrastructure projects to 182 valued at $146.5 billion from 61 valued at $57.5 billion in the previous five years.
According to the report, the region’s top 10 projects make up 51.7 per cent ($75.5 billion) of the total value of projects in the region, thus accounting for a large proportion of expenditure on infrastructure projects.
Tanzanian, Ethiopian and Kenyan infrastructure projects make up the top 10 projects in the region valued at $43 billion, $19.7 billion and $12.8 billion respectively, with the transport and energy and power sectors recording four and three projects in the top 10 respectively.
The report says Tanzania has caught up with Kenya in terms of infrastructure projects, both recording 51 projects in 2019. But it’s total share of projects by value stands at 41.2 per cent ($60.3 billion), making it the largest contributor towards East Africa’s total project value.
Tanzania’s new Likong’o-Mchinga Liquefied Natural Gas plant worth $30 billion has become the most valuable project in the region. Once completed, the LNG plant, is expected to contribute about seven per cent towards the country’s economic growth.
Although Kenya has one of the most valuable infrastructure projects in the pipeline, the country accounts for only 24.6 per cent ($36 billion) of the region’s total project value.
In the transport sector the top projects included Bagamoyo Mega port (Tanzania), Kenya-Uganda-Rwanda-South Sudan rail project (Kenya), Nairobi-Mombasa highway expansion project (Kenya) and new Addis Ababa International Airport (Ethiopia).
The energy and power sectors included projects such as Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (Ethiopia), Tams Hydropower Project (Ethiopia) and Koysha Hydroelectric Dam (Ethiopia).
Other projects making the top 10 list are Tanzania’s Likong’o-Mchinga Liquefied Natural Gas plant (oil and gas), Ethiopian Fairfax Oil Refinery (oil and gas) and Tanzania’s Mtwara Fertiliser plant (Industrial Construction).
Kenya’s rail project is expected to contribute towards boosting trading activities in Kenya, thus, placing the country at the centre of East Africa’s rail network.
The East Africa region accounted for 40.3 per cent of the 452 projects sampled in the entire African continent and 29.5 per cent of the total value of these projects estimated at $497 billion.
East Africa’s total value of construction projects increased by 67.6 per cent to $146 billion in 2019 from $87 billion in 2018 buoyed by increased investments in large infrastructure projects within the transport and oil and gas sectors, such as Phase II of the Kenya Standard Gauge Railway and Tanzania’s new Likong’o-Mchinga Liquefied Natural Gas plant.
The transport sector continues to take the lead in terms of investments accounting for 30 per cent ($44 billion) of the region’s total projects by value, followed by oil and gas (27.5 per cent) and then the energy & power (20.9 per cent) sectors.
The report says the region prioritised investment in transport infrastructure to ensure reliable transportation network and boost intraregional trade and strengthen the regional integration agenda.
As a result, the sector recorded the highest number of projects (69 projects out of 182), followed by the energy and power sector with 40 projects (22 per cent) and real estate with 35 projects (19.2 per cent).
The increased number of transport projects came from investments in rail, road and airport projects.
According to the report numerous East African-based airports have launched expansion projects to cater for the rapidly growing passenger and cargo traffic volumes.
For instance, the Bole International Airport Expansion project in Ethiopia, seeks to transform Africa’s second most populous nation into the largest aviation hub in Africa.
“Such cross-border infrastructure projects demonstrate East Africa’s commitment to boost regional integration,” according to the report.
According to the report projects in East Africa are mainly owned by Government (79.1 per cent), while private domestic companies own 6.6 per cent.
Various East African governments have played a significant role in boosting infrastructure development in the region.
For instance, the East African Community Development Strategy that aims to support the region in becoming a competitive and sustainable lower-middle income region by 2021, and also highlights infrastructure development as one of its regional priorities.
The report notes that East Africa relies on external funding for most infrastructure projects, with the region’s project funding being dominated by China (20.9 per cent) while Governments account for 13.7 per cent of total funding.
International and African development finance institutions also play a significant role in East Africa’s project funding, accounting for 13.2 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively.
The ongoing and upcoming regional infrastructure projects have also attracted various development financiers such as the African Development Bank.
Construction activities in the region are also dominated by China, who is responsible for building 40 per cent of the projects. Both private domestic companies and European Union countries construct 14.8 per cent of projects.