Africa's corridors -- an engine for growth?

June 14, 2010

While South Africa comes under the world's spotlight for the World Cup, it is being scrutinised by a University of Leicester researcher because of an innovative policy initiative.

Rachel Tate, a PhD research student in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester, is focussing on the Maputo Development Corridor, a cross-border spatial development initiative.

This mega-project is held up as the pinnacle for growth and development in the area. It links Gauteng, the industrial heartland of South Africa, to Maputo Docks in Mozambique, which is in fact the shortest route to the sea.

Ms Tate said: "This multi-faceted mega-project has already gone some way to heal the fissures caused by slavery, colonialism and apartheid. However, the research investigates a number of questions:

"How equitable has the delivery of the benefits been? Have the populations in South Africa and Mozambique benefited from the corridor policies or do the same people always benefit? Without community development and the involvement of civil society can these benefits be sustained over the longer term?"

Ms Tate is also assessing another cross border corridor initiative, from Mozambique to Zambia, which also aims to create regional economic growth and actively lift people out of abject poverty.

She said: "By researching the various facets of policy, their successes, failures and current challenges I hope to develop an understanding of how each sector operates and interrelates with another. Is it possible to provide a template for growth and social development? The level and type of organisation within civil society has made amazing impacts within the individual mega projects in South where the policy was first developed. I hope to show that it is possible to provide a repeatable pattern, a template that can be learned, moulded and developed."

Explore further: Central America Agrees to Jaguar Corridor

More information: Rachel Tate will be presenting her research to the public at the University of Leicester on June 24.

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