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 US$ 1.5 billion Tema Port expansion and the $500m Takoradi Port expansion represent two milestone moments in the development of Ghana as an African trade & investment hub.
Ghana has long been on the path to establishing itself as a major centre in the global maritime network. The current infrastructure projects coupled with the launch of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) have accelerated Ghana’s journey towards building a truly globally competitive maritime hub.
Ghana will soon be able to accommodate the world’s largest container ships and continues to invest in improved transport connections with neighbouring countries.
It appears to be a time of unprecedented opportunity for Ghana’s industrialists and exporters. Is the maritime industry in Ghana prepared to drive the country towards its next stage of development?
Our role is to mobilise the private sector to support government initiatives. We take our cues from the continental plan through bodies like SADC and other development-oriented bodies. Ours is not to be a lobby group but to give governments a boost in their programmes, by that we mean financial resources, capacity, expertise and other aspects of development.
What we do is unpack these government-endorsed master plans and try identifying the areas within them that have business-specific interest. We help evaluate how the projects would support the growth of businesses or the projects that business believes can be successfully implemented.
Overall we see ourselves as development partners that help governments execute and drive projects forward with the only caveat being that we only work on stuff that business believes in.
Intra-African trade is currently less than 15%, and we are doing more with Europe than we are doing within ourselves.
If we remove those barriers, then we have a real opportunity of industrialising Africa. By 2050, Africa will still have the most investment opportunities in the world because we are rich in resources. A lot of our investments are in that area, and this is where we can leverage partnerships in Africa.