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File photo / A view of Maputo
Investments in infrastructure in Southern Africa valued at nearly one billion dollars over the next decade are a great opportunity to create jobs and wealth, Márcia Castro, UN resident coordinator in Maputo, said today.
“Given that every US$1 billion invested in infrastructure in Africa creates about two million direct jobs, you just need to do the math to find out the potential,” she said.
“Job creation is key in Mozambique, for example, where only 10 percent of Mozambicans are employed in the formal sector,” she added.
Márcia Castro was speaking in Maputo at the opening of a regional meeting on “Environment, community, health and safety in the use of development minerals” that is bringing together participants from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
“Construction sands and gravel are very valuable to Africa. We need to unlock the potential of this sector to create jobs, stimulate development and accelerate the realisation of Africa’s industrialisation agenda,” industrial adviser to the African Union Commission Frank Mugyenyi said.
Development minerals are even more relevant now because oil and metal exporting countries are facing low commodity prices.
“The need for investment in infrastructure in southern Africa is immense and local building materials will play a huge role,” said Viwanou Gnassounou, deputy secretary general of the ACP-EU group.
However, national and local companies that extract, process and supply minerals and materials used in construction need to modernise and grow, and it is this need which has led to the creation of a support program.
The meeting in Maputo is part of the agenda of the Minerals for Development programme promoted by the countries of the ACP-EU group and by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The EUR13.1 million, three-year long course trains companies and industry institutions such as construction firms, mining, training centres, universities and community groups.
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States group is an organisation that brings together 79 states in a partnership with the European Union.Source: Lusa