Africa remains a strategic business region for multinational engineering firm AECOM, and according to Africa CEO Carlos Pone the company is in the early stages of entrenching its footprint in Africa.

Pone notes that growth on the continent is expected to continue into 2018 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.

“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,” Pone notes.

Civil infrastructure deficit

He points out that the major deficit in civil infrastructure in Africa presents significant opportunities for the firm, 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.

The firm 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.

Flagship projects 

Other African flagship projects for the firm include the Itare Dam in Kenya for the Rift Valley Water Services Board (RVWS), which will have a capacity of 100 000 m3/day, and the 2 000 km regional power interconnector project that will link the Zambian, Tanzanian, and Kenyan (ZTK) electricity grids.

“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.