In the last month, I travelled to a few African countries, including Mozambique, Ghana and Kenya. The main objective was to look at sustainable and low-cost housing projects in the countries. Over the years, I have noticed some marked changes in the way business is done in Africa. These changes are a sign of a Continent that is gaining confidence in its capabilities and resources.
Africa has always attracted business and investment, but in most cases the mega infrastructure and construction projects undertaken did not necessarily involve the engagement or participation of the local companies or the local population. However, in recent times, I have observed that more and more local companies are engaged in big infrastructure projects. The reason being, they have developed sound technological and financial capabilities in the infrastructure sector.
Financing big projects were also a challenge in the past. This not so anymore. The African Development Bank has played a key role in making infrastructure and housing a priority sector, and private equity companies have stepped in to assist the local and international companies in developing infrastructure projects.
Commonwealth Investment Corporation, is focused on helping governments of Africa with their sustainable infrastructure projects. We are working with a few governments, including in Cameroon, Ghana for building sustainable and low cost housing.
I have been a frequent visitor to Mozambique as an adviser to HE President Guebuza. Mozambique has witnessed healthy economic growth and foreign investment in the last few years. Analysts believe that the development of the natural gas and coal reserves in Mozambique should have a positive impact on GDP, bringing Mozambique’s GDP figures close to those of Angola or Qatar. While this will continue to support a boom in the higher-end property market, the government realizes that the need for a greater supply of low-cost affordable housing is increasingly.
Acknowledging this, an African Development Bank consultation in Mozambique in April 2012 confirmed that the bank should play a greater role in housing development in the country. Other developments include those by the Chinese, Indian and Spanish companies and governments who are investing in building low cost houses in Mozambique.
Our main objective in visiting Mozambique was to work with the government to assist in developing and funding sustainable and low cost housing. We do this usually by means of a joint venture between the government, private sector and local companies in Mozambique.
I also visited Kenya last month, where I met the minister of housing. The Kenyan ministry is looking at developing housing projects for civil servants, and low cost housing to meet the housing shortage in the country.
At CIC, we work with governments, financial institutions, private sector and local companies to deliver sustainable social development projects. I have been doing business with Africa for over two decades and in recent times my focus has been in infrastructure and skills development. In order to make the infrastructure and construction sector in African countries more self sustained, we also providing training in carpentry, surveying, construction, building work, and artisan training.
The meetings were successful and we are looking forward to playing an active role in the housing sector in Africa
+44 (0)20 3393 1214