There are plenty of infrastructure projects in Africa and Australia is well placed to take them on, according to Frank Aneke, producer of the Africa Australia Infrastructure Conference and director of October First Consulting, which specialises in Africa-Australia business relations.
The conference, to be held in Melbourne over 2-3 September 2013, has been designed for both investors and potential project partners in the building and infrastructure space with sessions featuring visiting government Ministers and CEOs from utility organisations throughout the continent, and business and project partners from Australia.
Visiting speakers include Collins Dauda, Minister of Water Resources, Works & Housing in Ghana, Dr Sam Amadi, chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and Sylvain Usher, Secretary General of the African Water Association while experts from the University of Wollongong, Johnstaff and Geo Strategy International will also have presentations.
For first-timers in Africa, Aneke recommends that potential investors should first request detailed information on any opportunity. “The information should include location of the business, expected capital outlay, Government regulation in the sector and what model of partnership model is being offered,” he says. This will assist investment risk analysis as well as a political and sovereign risk assessment.
Infrastructure projects in Africa are large and complex, made more challenging by the fact that Africa is a continent of many developing nations. They are crying out for mature project management practices, such as is Australian standard. “Their expertise in complex project is constrained because of limited skills and quality training in project management. This situation has seen influx of foreign expatriates into oil and gas, telecoms and ICT to mention a few.”
Australian project managers need to combine their skills with local knowledge, for best effect however, Aneke advises. “Project managers must learn from local experts and work with them to understand how to operate in the new environment. There are great opportunities for Australian project managers to explore because Africa is still developing and there are huge projects that being considered and many more on the pipeline in different countries.”
Find out more at the Africa Infrastructure Conference, 2-3 September 2013 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Details and program available at africaaustraliaconference.com.