Promising Infrastructure Deal Between South Africa and Alstom Trains

A Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) train.

A Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) train.

The infrastructure industry in South Africa is steadily on the rise. On December 5, 2012 the South African government proudly announced its most recent economy boosting deal with Alstom SA, a French railway company, which will renovate South Africa’s passenger trains.

This development has been 20 years in the making, as the nation has been working toward a total railway renewal. Presently, there are about 4,600 usable passenger coaches working through the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. Some African nations have let their colonial-era train systems fall to ruin, but South Africa has kept theirs in full function. Even still, the majority of the working trains are over 30 years old. Clearly, the new venture with Alstom SA will greatly benefit the South African infrastructure but it will also ease the unemployment levels; as part of the deal, 3,600 coaches are set to be built and they will require new employees to do this work. In fact, an estimated 8,000 new jobs are projected to be created within South Africa as a result of this deal.

Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins was pleased to mention how much this will modernize and elevate the safety standards of the South African railroads. He also said that it represents a complete revival of the “rail engineering sector [that will contribute] to skills development and job creation amongst other bigger objectives.” Finally, he promised South African citizens that all future plans regarding the railway system will have the highest levels of transparency between the government and the people.

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