Growth on the continent is expected to continue into 2018, says AECOM Africa CEO, Carlos Pone. “This is on the back of expected increases in commodity prices; better macroeconomic conditions; an improving business environment; investment in infrastructure; and increasing foreign direct investment and inter-regional trade.”
In fact, he adds that East Africa is a growth area, particularly Kenya and Uganda, while proximal countries like Botswana, Namibia, and Mozambique present their own opportunities. “We are seeing quite a bit of growth in West Africa, in places like the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Senegal.”
Pone explains that AECOM is in the early stages of entrenching its footprint in Africa. “We continue to believe strongly in supplier development and localisation. We see it as aligned closely to the growth, procurement, and transformation objectives of any country, along with a strong element of job creation and enterprise development.”
Meanwhile, he points out that the major deficit in civil infrastructure in Africa presents significant opportunities for AECOM, which sees the bulk of its growth coming from the rest of the continent. “We have a defined focus for Africa, looking at specific countries, projects, sectors, and risk profiles. In addition, we focus on the more complex projects, where we think we can make a big difference.”
For example, one of the largest projects that AECOM is undertaking currently is the construction supervision of the Tema Port Expansion Project in Ghana for Meridian Port Services (MPS), the largest ever built port infrastructure in West and Central Africa.
AECOM is providing design and procurement management services prior to the award of construction contracts, following which it will supervise the actual construction. The project commenced in October 2016, with completion anticipated by Q4 2019. “At its peak, we will have 70 people on-site, of which 55 will be Ghanaians. The rest will comprise core skills we will need to import. While high-level management is being carried out from South Africa, we have a fully-fledged project team on the ground,” Pone highlights.
Another flagship project for AECOM in Africa is the Itare Dam in Kenya for the Rift Valley Water Services Board (RVWS), which will have a capacity of 100 000 m3/day. Currently still in the design phase, it also highlights AECOM’s unique approach to project financing. “A key differentiator for us here is a more integrated delivery model,” Pone adds. AECOM is partnering with Italian contractor CMC, with which it has a long-standing relationship.
AECOM is also involved with the 2 000 km regional power interconnector project that will link the Zambian, Tanzanian, and Kenyan (ZTK) electricity grids. Pone explains that not only will this boost transmission and distribution within the Southern African Power Pool and the East African Power Pool, it is also a vital integration between the two, making access to power for remote communities and industries possible.
“At AECOM, we strive to make a difference, as evidenced by our motto of ‘built to deliver a better world’. Africa is vast, and its remote regions are in need of all necessary infrastructure services,” Pone concludes.