Africa’s R600-billion public infrastructure programme – the continuation of which is viewed as increasingly important if the country is to stave off recession in the context of a slowing global economy – will come under the spotlight again next week at a conference organised by the Presidency and the Business Trust.

The gathering falls under the aegis of the Support Programme for Accelerated Infrastructure Delivery, or Spaid, a public-private initiative established in 2006 to deal with constraints to the effective delivery of infrastructure.

The one-day conference will be attended by representatives from government, labour movements, the construction, financial and manufacturing sectors, as well as executives from the State-owned enterprises leading the investment push.

Newly installed Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka will also use the occasion to launch the Ukulungisa Project Preparation Fund, a new support programme aimed at assisting municipalities in the preparing and packaging infrastructure projects.

The Presidency will provide insight into government’s progress on meeting infrastructure targets, as laid out under the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa, or AsgiSA, with Alan Hirsch, who is deputy head of policy coordination and advisory services, scheduled to make an address.

Other key speakers include World Bank lead economist Dr Ioannis Kessides; Seeraj Mohamed, an academic economist from the School of Economics and Business Sciences at Wits University, who will unveil the ‘Infrastructure Inputs Monitoring Project’; Andrew Donaldson from the National Treasury; Yusuf Patel, who is DDG at the Department of Planning and Local Government; Brian Whittaker, who is Business Trust CEO; Edwin Richkin, of the Department of Public Enterprises; and Dempsey Naidoo, the executive chairperson of P D Naidoo & Associates.

The conference, which will meet under the theme ‘Public Private Sector Cooperation Driving Delivery, will take place on November 20 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, in Midrand.