Under the proposal, the trade route would include the South African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the East African Community. The goal is to make it easier for foreign investors to move capital to South Africa and other African nations.

The idea was mentioned by South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan and trade and industry minister Rob Davies at a parliamentary media briefing.

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Both men also spoke of their support for foreign investment in South African infrastructure, financial services, healthcare and IT. Linking the north of Africa to the south has been a dream for decades. As early as the 1890s, African colonists, especially Cecil Rhodes, were discussing ways to build a rail connection from Cairo to Cape Town.