Avoid having international investors just ‘parachute in’ – transport official

Leipzig – Development investment agencies often just want to “parachute in” for a project, but without including any genuine skills development capacity building.

This is according to Gershwin Fortune, portfolio manager of integrated transport at the City of Cape Town.

“There is no silver bullet for transport projects. It needs a holistic and fiscally correct approach,” he said at the 10th annual summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF).  He took part in a panel discussion on politics versus local interests in terms of infrastructure development investment.

Job creation

“In developing countries, projects need to take into account the need for job creation. When we open our city for business it must, therefore, also be about job creation,” said Fortune.

It is estimated that between $1.2trn and $1.5trn are invested annually in developing infrastructure in the world and the big question is whether the money invested ends up where it is needed for local development.

“Some investment agencies are fixated on the mode of transport to be used, but it should rather be about having an integrated network of transport,” said Fortune.

“There needs to be a greater appreciation among investment agencies of our local regulations and of the need to include informal modes of transport in the process.”

A clear-cut plan

Fortune said it is important for cities to establish a clear, long term plan to also respond to the technical side of development investment projects. Green transport is just as important an aspect. Local governments must also gear up and offer a compliance framework.

“Key issues I would like to raise with development agencies include that we would like donors to do more research on viable para-transit models and to avoid cumbersome and repeated compliance processes for various agreements,” said Fortune.

“It is not just about financial capacity, but also about technical capacity. Investment agencies should also look into alternative analyses of modes of transport for projects; passenger demand; costs and the effective use of land. At the same time I want to emphasise that Cape Town is open for business.”

* Fin24 is a guest of the ITF at its summit.

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