With major infrastructure, water and telecommunications projects forging ahead, Africa’s time has arrived. As commented by George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management: “Africa – one of the few bright spots on the gloomy global economic horizon.” The world’s financial crisis, with its dramatic impact on the major developed economies, highlighted the potential among Africa’s 54 sovereign states and also what was actually happening:
Some indicators of development in the communications sector that everyone can relate to are quite surprising:
Global companies are overcoming their reservations about doing business in the challenging environment of Africa, and forming partnerships with consultancies offering a local presence as well as a track record of successful project work. An ever present lure to persevere, especially in the debilitating climate of central Africa, is the abundant mineral wealth of industrial commodities waiting to be exploited, such as diamonds, gold, cobalt, phosphate, platinum and rhodium. New finds of oil and natural gas on the east and west coasts look set to overcome energy limitations on growth. Africa also has 60% of the world’s unexploited arable land.
The common thread restraining the unlocking of all this potential wealth is the lack of modern transport corridors to facilitate regional trade and water infrastructure. However, the construction activity in recent years has been increased tremendously with energy generation hubs and projects for basic water infrastructure, transport corridors and telecommunications gathering momentum. Once commissioned, these will form the platform for a new era of self-sufficiency and the nucleus for increased investment and growth.
From a total of 322 major construction projects, each valued in excess of US million, that were in progress last year, Southern Africa accounted for 38% of them with a total of US,2 billion, East Africa at US,7 billion equates to 29% and West Africa with a total of US,8 billion was 21%.
There are major opportunities to grow trade between African countries through integrated transport corridors, the challenge is bringing the concepts to fruition. Aurecon has successfully executed a wide range of projects for African clients, such as the EAC Transport Strategy and the SADC Regional Infrastructure Master Plan.
In 2013, the African Development Bank appointed Aurecon South Africa as Consultants for updating the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Priority Action Plan (PAP) project fiches.
This prestigious award marks an important step forward for infrastructure development in Africa.
This article originally appeared on Transport World Africa, May 2014.