South Africa: A project by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Regional Spatial Development Initiative (RSDI), South Africa, would soon provide free online maps (of areas where investment is required) to help attract investors to Southern Africa.
The RSDI, which was being implemented for the DTI by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, would provide technical assistance to help attract investors to specific development corridors. The project, under the leadership of programme coordinator Graham Smith, had identified areas where investment in flagship projects and infrastructure would likely catalyse further investment and growth.
The current focus is on Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Tanzania. Projects include the Maputo Corridor, where diversified miner BHP Billiton’s Mozal aluminium smelter was a flagship project and the Trans-Kalahari route between South Africa and Namibia.
“Providing good spatial information has always been an important part of the initiative, but making that information easily available was a challenge. Technology improvements in the past few years have now made it possible to bring all that information together in a single map-based web interface,” GIS project manager Zukhanye Mayekiso said.
Aspire Solutions’ Mike Steyn said the online maps would show several different levels of information. “Basic information like geography, hydrology, roads, power and information technology infrastructure will be available to all. Stakeholders and partner organisations will also have access to more detailed information, including existing and planned projects, trade flows and master plans,” he said.
Further to mapping existing investment projects and infrastructure, the interactive map would include links to photographs, documents and other media. Users will also be able to submit their own project profiles for inclusion on the map.
“Maps are a very powerful way to organise and present information. Because humans are primarily visual thinkers, we are able to take in much more information from a map than we are from a written document or set of tables. This project will help to showcase the RSDI’s work to the world,” Mayekiso observed.