A “REAL” Vision for African Development!
A proposal by Craig Eisele and the Trans-African Development Company.
First and foremost I must say that “most” of the “Aid” to Africa is needed and serves a good purpose. HOWEVER… I believe, that the most important “aid” to African Development is not being given in the manner in which it is most needed.
Given the Statement released at the Last AU Meeting in Accra this month (July) and the focus on Regional Integration and the Ultimate Goal of African Integration and Unity I feel that this proposal, I put forth today, is in keeping with these stated Goals and Ideals. I hope the leaders and governments of those Countries read this and believe in it half as much as I do and commit to making this “Vision” a reality… for the future of Africa is at stake.
It is no secret that the “Keys to Investment” (as well as economic prosperity) are Power, Communications and Transportation. No society can develop without these three key components… and the lack of these components also hinders (actually cripples) the ability to have an effective (let alone vibrant) “manufacturing” sector of the economy. Manufacturing brings most jobs to the most people. Without these Components poverty, and despair become the norm. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Africa today… yet that can change dramatically and substantially within 10 years IF we can do what I propose.
So what can be done for Africa that is “really” in Africa’s Best interest… and even in the best interest of the world at large. If you believe my introductory statements above, then I will hope you agree that what Africa needs, more than anything, is a MAJOR COMPREHENSIVE Development of its Infrastructure. A form of Governmental/Private development needs to be initiated. A Developmental Project that will NOT create any Debt to any Country. A project that will have a portion of it as private (but publicly traded components) as well as a segment or portion under “Governmental Ownership and Control” …. specifically, the Highway Portion of the project.
I envision this Comprehensive Infrastructure Development Project as follows:
It is through the building of a “Highway” and “rehabilitation” of the major trade roads in conjunction with the establishment of a “uniform” railroad; Development of the Power Generation and Transmission sector and the Ability to Communicate with the outside markets and the world for Technology, education, ideas and innovation that matters the most. If this is done, then I believe, that not only will the economic benefits proliferate throughout the ENTIRE Continent of Africa, but that the overall health education and welfare of the vast Majority of Africans can be established quickly and effectively.
The world has tried to “fix” or otherwise address problems throughout Africa without the basic means of delivering their “aid” to Africans. Kofie Annan, in his recent quest for better Agricultural production, has indicated in a footnote that transportation is necessary for the Agricultural Sector to flourish. It is evident that Africa can not only grow sufficient food for every person in Africa and have more than enough for a productive export market for basic food products, but there is no effective way to get that food to markets before it decays throughout its own Country or to even a neighboring Country …. let alone the rest of the Continent or the world.
OK… sorry I am impassioned on this subject and sometimes I get carried away in what I want to say… so here is MY Vision for the Future of Africa that I firmly believe will not only be able to create a 100 plus million strong “Middle Class” of Consumers within Africa, but will exceed the Millennium Development Goals that CANNOT be met without the program that I will articulate below. ANY person who believes that the MDG’s can be met without this and believes Africa can be self-sufficient within 20 years without this project is at the least incredibly nieve’ or worse delusional.
Africa today is in a unique position of building infrastructure from the ground up using 21st century technology that can be effective for the next 50 years with minimal maintenance and upkeep before major upgrades will be required… by that time the “tax base” and revenues generated by the individual countries will be sufficient to upgrade that Infrastructure the same as all industrialized countries currently can do today and without international “aid”.
My Vision on How to best accomplish the MDG’s (and so much more) and actually give Africa an opportunity to be something more than a depository for international aid, is listed below in three phases that are to be implemented simultaneously:
- Phase 1: Obtain a right of way one kilometer wide from each Country that the first segment of a “highway” will go through. This is envisioned as a Trans Continental Highway similar to the ones that Most Industrialized nations have and close to the US Model of Interstate Highway System. However the FIRST segment must be constructed to prove its worth.
I have already received expressed interest from 3 of the first nine countries that this first segment will go through.
ALL of this Construction MUST be done by a Private Company with focus on costs and efficiency and completion and MUST be done at NO COST to any country. The Highway Component of this Infrastructure along this “right of way”, will be transferred to COMPLETE Ownership by the AU (African Union) and the individual Countries for the revenue generated to be used for routine Maintenance, security and general governing purposes.
It is hoped that each country will take advantage of this “highway” to create planned communities, cities and Industrial parks along this path. Planning for Potable water, Electricity and sewage and trash and looking for synergies between industries and natural resources along the way is imperative to maximize economic benefit and the quality of life for the citizens. I suggest a 50-kilometer “zone”or buffer on either side of this project for the planning to be professionally engineered and developed for maximum effectiveness.
I would like to see a fleet of NEW Trucks and tractor-trailers built by someone like Peterbuilt ON THE CONTINENT of Africa. Given that Peterbuilt has a factory that produces 5000 trucks a year in a single factory today in the USA, it is obviously more cost effective to build a NEW plant in Africa for the Construction of these trucks… AND, I would be willing to not only help them build such a plant but to BUY the first 5,000 trucks for exclusive use on this highway. The Domestic Market in Africa and the export potential is worth this type of investment IF we build such a “highway”. Just look at South Africa now who is building cars for export to Europe!
Simply the creation of such a Highway by itself gives access to huge economic benefits that those countries involved are not able to see without this “highway”.
Now the scary news for some… the cost for this 4-lane highway is estimated at 45 to 50 Billion dollars (35 to 40 Billion Euros). Given the 60 billion to be spent on Aids in Africa the next 5 years by the US Government… I DO NOT expect the US Government to pay the entire cost for this highway… but I do expect them to substantially contribute to this highway. And yes, I do expect them to mandate that a certain amount of this money be spent with US Companies as I expect any other country “donating” to this project will also expect benefit from their “donation”. But, the majority of labor MUST be African and local subcontractors within Africa MUST be incorporated into this project to maximize the benefit within Africa and create an economic benefit far greater than the highway itself in the short run. Further… wages must be at least 2 times the current local wages.
I consider this “Highway” a bargain at twice the price. But again the key is to let a “PRIVATE” company under the auspicious of a “Not-for-profit” subsidiary to build it to keep cost LOW and assure that the monies spent are mostly on the “Highway” and then transfer ownership as indicated above. Using the Non Profit Company forces greater transparency in the process and assures a corruption free development.
I consider this HIGHWAY a moral imperative for aid by countries claiming they want to help Africa. This Highway however should be incorporated into “Phase 2” of this project as listed next… making the total cost over 7 to 10 years close to 100 Billion Dollars or 75 Billion Euros. But Combined, the benefits as indicated by David Wheeler would be many times that amount on a regular and recurring basis… and that was a study just on Trade… if you factor in the self-imposed mandate I am offering that 80 percent of labor and available raw materials be purchased in Africa… the economic benefit on a local level is staggering. I also proposed to make pay for workers 2 to 3 times the current wages being paid locally for the greatest benefit to the local economy.
- Phase 2: Joining ALL the Sub Sahara Countries. I mentioned a study by David Wheeler earlier. In this study (which I consider extremely enlightening and beneficial) he and his group, in a study done for the World Bank, were very specific in identifying the existing roads, the quality of these roads, the trade that exists on those roads, and the economic benefit that repairing these roads would bring based upon Trade alone.
Phase 3: Components to be added along the “right-of way”. The right of way does not mean that these components can link into any country or their infrastructure… only that the Skeletal Structure of this build can be available and ultimately subject to “Interconnect Agreements” with each country. It is obvious that those agreements will need to be worked out on an individual basis and that those will involve complicated negotiations… but the idea that these “Components” of the Infrastructure are available ultimately makes the interconnects a matter of reality for all parties. The Components I am hoping to build along this “right-of-way” are as follows:
The initial Cost of a MODERN Rail System with RF readers and GPS (which can also be utilized on the “highway” for truck locations etc.) with a Modern State of the Art “Central Operations Center” electronically controlling all operations of the system I have been able to estimate at 35 to 40 billion dollars… again as with the Power Project Component, I plan on this to be financed by Equity issuance in a Publicly listed Company on international stock exchanges.
Fiber Optic Cable: So much as has been done to bring Fiber to the coast of Africa that it is like saying that only the coastal areas of Africa are worthwhile… I propose a Fiber Optic Program through the interior of Africa with FREE access to the WWW for Schools established along the corridor that this project will go through… the estimated cost (high actually) for 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of Fiber Optic Cable is under 500 million dollars. And Yes, I have a plan for that financing as well but it is NOT via Public Offerings.
Pipelines: As with the section I wrote on Railroad there is extensive wealth of Oil and Gas that is locked within the Continent of Africa… not easily accessible without the “highway” and even if it was accessible the transport is next to impossible without this being a major component of the right of way I am proposing. This pipeline should be used for “Crude” as well as “Refined” as the “Power” Component listed above will make it realistic and economical for Oil Companies to develop their field, refine a portion of their products IN AFRICA and sell those products in Africa as well as export to the world. Remember that Major Oil Companies have already said that existing Oil Production is not sufficient for the demand expected in 2030… so 200 a dollar a barrel prices are realistic generation will allow for refineries within Africa. This is also a case for the development of the Wind Power generation listed above as the revenue from Oil will be more important and better used from sale then for domestic consumption… a fact most industrialized nations are facing now and are rushing to use renewable energy to sustain their economies in the future. Cost: I have no Idea…. nor do I care… as the price of Oil and Gas makes this component economically feasible and a necessity for Oil and Gas Companies. So simply… they will have to pay for this.
But I also want to add the most precious commodity… a Water pipeline… this commodity is required by every country… and its availability… or unavailability is of extreme importance to every country on the continent. As Natural and renewable energy becomes the norm and oil and gas is in short supply the need for water will only continue to grow around the globe. Currently it is not economical to ship water around the globe… but agriculture and populations within Africa will need this in ever greater numbers and quantities… so the addition of this component is looking forward to the basic future of the Continent of Africa.
Well this is my Vision for Africa. One that I see creating 75 million jobs on the continent within 20 years. One that will bring development, the creation of wealth The Industrialization of Agriculture and reduction of hunger, one that will bring new opportunities in improving the human condition in Africa in areas such as education, health and the reduction of poverty to levels comparable to industrialized nations… but honestly it requires a commitment by the industrialized nations to actually want to improve Africa for the people of Africa… it requires a commitment of 100 billion dollars over the next 7 to 10 year to build the Phase 1 and 2 components of this project… to build the road structure necessary for the delivery of goods and services necessary for an economy that can be vibrant and not a welfare state … A Commitment that will allow Africa to grow itself into an Industrialized Continent capable of taking care of itself. Where the aid that may still be necessary in Medical and Education can be delivered to those that need it and done so in an expeditions fashion and minimal delays… A Continent that can feed itself, getting food to the people who need it will take days, and not months…. But again the Industrialized nations around the world MUST DONATE this to the Continent so as not to saddle the continent with excessive debt and where dribbling of aid that currently takes place is supplanted but a surge in aid with the objective of significantly reducing that aid as Africa grows and prospers from this project.
I have more than this… but I feel this is sufficient… the “Highway” will need to be expanded to run through at least 43 countries. While the rehabilitation will be a temporary substitute for that, it will be necessary to grow such a “highway” of 4 lanes or more of high speed from the benefits that the first 2 phases of this project I am proposing will be able to generate.
While this is my “Vision” for Africa… it is also a Moral Imperative that this take place for the benefit salvation of 800 million Africans.
This article is not a “puff” piece article… it is my drive in life to make this a reality… and so far I am extremely encouraged by the response I have gotten. Yes. There are the Naysayers. Those that say Africa will never develop. Those people and organizations that only see Africa as a giant war zone… Those that have no real comprehension of the real Africa, its people or its potential…. And those that say the project is simply too big to be accomplished… and yet I say to them “Pashaw!” ok… maybe that is too nice… but it is a nice way of saying that this project CAN AND MUST be done… and I expect to work on this for the rest of my natural life to assure that it is done and done right…. That being NO DEBT to already impoverished Countries!!!
If you have read this and are in a position to help make this a reality then I encourage you to write to me at the address listed on “About Craig Eisele” section of this blog. If you are not able to help and support this idea or concept… then please leave a message to let others know that this project has broad support.
I am willing to meet and discuss this with ANY Governmental or NGO group or organization that truly wants to help Africa and wants to see them flourish. Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime… I will always try to be available to make this project succeed… heck I have even established a methodology to that 92.5 percent of ALL funds donated to this project are used for the Construction with complete transparency to the world… not how is that for a capitalist….