The pandemic hit the oil and gas sector hard and oil prices spiralled down rapidly. The downturn is causing anxiety and is deterring projects from being pursued as planned. The pandemic has caused major players in Ghana such as Aker Energy to re-strategise due to new supply chain complexities as well as current oil prices. At the beginning of the year, we had amazing projections of what was going to happen in our industry within the next two to three years. Companies like Aker Energy, ENI, Tullow Oil, and Exxon Mobil were making big moves. All of their laid out plans are up in the air at the moment, but things may change for the better as we progress into a more stable situation.
The silver lining is that the challenges experienced this year are stimulating a global shift to renewable energy. Companies and investors are looking at alternative sources of energy, and that will lead to new opportunities for companies such as ourselves. In regards to local content, the Petroleum Commission has done well to ensure international companies have local joint venture partners and transfer knowledge and skills to these local partners. By building local capacity tangible benefits shall trickle down to local communities in many ways.
The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative (ORTARChI) has selected the initiative’s first ten host institutions and individual research chairholders. This initiative builds on the work of Oliver Tambo, a prominent South African and pan-Africanist with a science education background, who believed in creating change through education and in cooperation and solidarity among African nations.
Cocoa is not just a cash crop for us; it has also become part of our politics. The cocoa sector feeds about 800,000 people in the country and issues that affect the industry can be quite emotive. Unfortunately, our industry has suffered a dip in production in recent times. The dip in production has been occasioned by climatic changes as well as factors such as disease. The government has put in place measures whose impact will start being felt in a few years with the expected rise in volumes of production.
The government is putting a focus on increasing production while also encouraging diversification in the overall agriculture sector. Adding value to our cocoa is also part of our national strategy. Value addition will help increase the value of our product, boost our standing in the global cocoa industry, and lead to job creation. Diversification will also see us improve the agricultural sector and boost our national revenue.
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 across the continent? 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.