N4 Platinum Highway Project
- May 20, 2002
Upgrading of a major transport corridor in the North of South Africa, linking Pretoria with Botswana, ultimately connecting the Trans Kalahari route with the Maputo Development corridor into Mozambique.
The corridor provides for a mix of long distance and urban traffic, serving, amongst others, the Pretoria agglomeration. It consists of roads with very different characteristics and levels of service, ranging from light density heavy duty long haul to intense urban traffic in the Pretoria Metropolitan area. To cope with steadily growing traffic and road safety and security demands, modernization and upgrading of the roads in these transport corridors is necessary and will also result in reduced travel time.
The section west from Pretoria is a project in one of the "South African Spatial Development Initiatives", aiming to develop the economic potential of specific regions, using public resources to leverage private sector investment.
The Bakwena Platinum Corridor Consortium (BPCC) was the winning bidder for the tender to design, build, finance and operate this "Platinum Toll Highway" on a limited recourse basis. It is a partnership of mainly local firms, Murray and Roberts, Concor Holding (associated with the Hochtief group), WBHO Construction and Grupo Dragados of Spain. Similar to earlier models in South Africa, BPCC is a special purpose company solely responsible to the South African Road Authority, the NRA. It will discharge its responsibilities in the design, construction and operating phases through sub-contracts with various groupings amongst its partners and the South African Toll management company.
The first phase of the full Environmental Impacts Assessment EIA has revealed the necessity for mitigating measures for some biophysical (noise, air quality and the hydrology) and social impacts. The detailed EIA has involved full public participation, in line with South African Environmental legislation.
EIB's decision to finance
The project is of considerable regional importance as it improves the link between the Gauteng industrial area and Botswana and ultimately with the Trans-Kalahari route.
The project is an example where EIB finance can help to catalyse private sector resources for public sector infrastructure, one of the stated aims of the South African program of "Spatial Development Initiatives". Mobilising private sector resources for public sector investment frees public resources for social investment expenditures.
The project revenues will be in local (South African) currency, the Rand and project financing is in the form of long term amortising Rand facilities. The EIB's existing Rand treasury has the required financing flexibility to meet the project sponsor's needs.
EIB financing will be guaranteed by first class South African banks. The EIB will continue to monitor the project
In 2001 the project was voted Infrastructure Deal of the Year by Project Finance International Magazine