There are few industries as pivotal to driving Africa’s sustainable economic development as the civil engineering sector.
No shortage of challenges lies ahead in the development of Africa’s built environment. These challenges are, primarily, financial; how can capital be raised to improve infrastructure and living conditions dramatically?, and environmental; how can a continent of over 1.2bn people (and counting) develop without accelerating climate change and degrading the natural environment?
Shaping a path of truly sustainable economic development on the African continent will need engineering minds at the forefront of policymaking, strategy, and delivery.
As the leading economies of the continent seek to accelerate industrialisation, does Africa’s civil engineering sector have the depth and capacity to deliver on the mega-projects required for growth?
Who are the innovators that will find solutions to challenges around affordable housing, the infrastructure gap, skills shortage, access to capital and environmental impact?
AfricaLive.net speaks with sector leaders from across Africa to understand how African civil engineers seek to shape the future of the continent.
The industry must have a vision of what it sees as its future and the best possible scenario. We then present that vision to academia so that they know how to prepare students. The industry wants to produce the best quality at the lowest possible cost without compromising quality while ensuring social good. Academia must come in by producing quality research that we can buy into so that we can have the outcomes we want. When we have the outcomes we want, we can then help fund higher education initiatives that help all of us.
We must have these kinds of discussions when engaging with academia because they will make the whole industry better. When the whole industry shines, the young ones will want to join in and be part of it. The entire engineering scene in Africa will be attractive if we stay in contact, and do projects together.
Emerging technological breakthroughs in fields including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology and materials science are accelerating innovation and disrupting industries across the world. Indeed, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is creating new ways of catering to societal needs and improving the speed, quality and cost of delivering value. From self-driving cars and automated flight systems to navigation equipment and drones, societies and industries are going through a time of unprecedented technological change.
The land mapping and surveying sector, which serves engineering, infrastructure development and environmental conservation projects, is one such industry that has been transformed in the early days of the 4IR.