Africa’s enhanced trade and investment is leading to massive ports infrastructure development and the pace of new trans-shipment port developments is projected to grow strongly to meet this demand. Massive investments by port authorities are being rolled out continent-wide, for example over $1.02bn is being invested by Transnet to rejuvenate and expand infrastructure in South Africa


The continent has a total railway network of 90,320 km or 3.1 km of per 1,000 km2, most of which is disjointed. With the exception of North Africa, railways in Africa generally have a low level of traffic. The railways carry only one per cent of the global railway passenger traffic and two per cent of goods.

Although continental rail master plans have existed for more than a century, most of the African railway network remains disconnected, operating within a single country, or linking a port and its immediate regional hinterland. The only significant international network is centered in South Africa and stretches north to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Road transport is the most dominant mode of motorized transport in Africa, accounting for 80 per cent of the goods traffic and 90 per cent of the passenger traffic on the continent. African countries together have about 2.06 million km of roads in 2001, resulting in a road density of 6.84 km per Whereas the average road-to-population ratio for the whole continent is 26 km per 10,000 inhabitants, there is a large sub-regional variation.

Central Africa and Southern Africa have the highest road distribution, with 49.5 km and 56.3 km, respectively, for every 10,000 population. In 2005, only 580,066 km or 22.7 per cent of the total African road network was paved.

4. SEA

Maritime transport is the most dominant mode of transport for moving freight from and to Africa. It accounts for over 92 per cent of Africa’s external trade. With a total coastline of 30,725 km, Africa has 90 major ports and a number of other ports providing services for fishing and tourism. African ports handle only 6 per cent of global traffic, of which about 6 ports, three each in Egypt and South Africa, handle about 50 per cent of Africa’s container traffic.

5. AIR

In the last several decades’ airplanes have become a significant means of travel and transport across Africa, both commercially and privately, and have become an avenue for economic development. It is especially so because there are several parts of the continent that still struggle with poorly developed road and rail transport systems. Africa’s historical link to European colonisers has also shaped not only the current state of continental transport systems generally, but also the airline industry present today.

Africa’s airline industry faces a number of challenges, including poor airline safety standards and operating problems. Airlines often struggle with managing fleets and services, sustaining capital for operations, and the difficulties of maintaining old aircraft. They are challenged in their abilities to expand routes both domestically and internationally, facing airspace restrictions and even the inability to purchase necessary parts to upgrade fleets For African-operated airlines there has been a mixture of successes and failures in meeting international flight standards and keeping up with international competition.


Showcasing the continent's projects

The Network’s unique investment platform prioritises six streams of development projects related to: