Words from President, FIDIC Africa, Eng. Kabelo Motswagole

“For the first time since the establishment of GAMA we could not hold the signature Annual Infrastructure Conference. The FIDIC GAMA Annual Conference for 2020 was billed to take place in April in Gaborone Botswana. The theme of the conference was “The role of Consulting Engineer in a changing world: The African perspective”. This was a prophetic theme in that the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic changed and continues to change the world as we know it and it has made the role of the Consulting Engineer more imperative than ever before. The cancellation of the annual conference resulted in the organising Member Association (ACEB), delegates, sponsors and all associated stakeholders suffered major financial and opportunity losses. This also meant that we had to change the way we traditionally do things. As such, the General Assembly Meeting (GAM) which was held on the 22nd April 2020 had to be via a virtual platform. The GAM endorsed the change of name from GAMA to FIDIC Africa and the associated changes to the constitution to align it with FIDIC. The new Executive Committee (EXCO) was also sworn into office during the GAM.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members for volunteering their valuable time for the advancement of the profession and the FIDIC Africa vision. My gratitude also goes to the Member Associations (MA’s) for sponsoring these great professionals.

I have no doubt that this EXCO will help FIDIC Africa grow and become a more effective and efficient organisation. I am happy to report that EXCO comprises of highly dedicated professionals backed by a professional Secretariat as evidenced by what we have achieved in such a short time under very challenging circumstances. We have developed and approved a 4-year Strategic and Business Plan with achievable objectives. We are finalising the Terms of Reference for the Committees, as the key drivers of the strategy. I encourage and implore every professional within FIDIC Africa to actively participate in at least one of the Committees that aligns with your professional and business interests. The spirit of innovative volunteerism is what FIDIC Africa needs to thrive.

One of the key objectives of the Strategic and Business Plan is to grow the membership of FIDIC Africa. I am excited to announce that we have put our best foot forward, and welcome on-Board Angola. There are also great prospects for welcoming Namibia, Rwanda, and Burundi to FIDIC Africa soon. The language barrier remains one of the main challenges in penetrating the Francophone countries and EXCO is continuously looking at ways of mitigating this challenge through our existing Francophone MA’s such as Mali. I encourage other MA’s and Member Firms with established contacts in Francophone Africa to step-up and assist us in creating a more inclusive FIDIC Africa.

EXCO is alive to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the business of Consulting Engineering and to the sustainability of the MA offices and am pleased to announce that EXCO has approved a 10% reduction on the 2020 membership subscriptions. We are also mindful of the loss in revenue due to the reduced training activities and encourage our MA’s to adopt innovative continuity plans and explore creative and alternative and creative training formats. Whilst the pandemic has impacted travel and will lead to a reduction in operational costs in terms of travel and conferencing, MA’s are urged to optimise resources to weather the uncertainty that lies ahead.

I am delighted with the positive changes which we are experiencing in FIDIC since the arrival of the CEO, Eng. Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, particularly the recognition that the regional bodies of FIDIC are all different and that their uniqueness brings something positive to the organisation. The review of FIDIC’s regional strategy is indeed a welcome development. It is however up to FIDIC Africa to step up to the podium and make meaningful contributions in FIDIC Committees as a steppingstone to a seat at the FIDIC Board.

To this end I would like to encourage all MA’s to ensure that they vote in the upcoming FIDIC Board elections. EXCO has endorsed our immediate-past President Eng. James Mwangi for a position in the FIDIC Board. As you are aware the Board leads FIDIC and plays a pivotal role in the strategic direction of the organisation. It is therefore through representation in the Board that FIDIC Africa can bring the African perspective into the development of policies and programmes in FIDIC.

I would also want to recognise the role played by the Future Leaders in the development of various programmes of FIDIC Africa. This has become even more pronounced during the Covid-19 crisis by bringing to bare innovative solutions especially on the communication and dissemination of information. I am particularly pleased that they have managed to organise a highly successful Webinar series on ‘Building a Successful FIDIC Future Leaders Group’ with our very own Engineer Jeshika Ramchund as the moderator. Congratulations to the FIDIC Future Leaders team.

I am also incredibly pleased with the response and support from FIDIC during the Covid-19 pandemic. The FIDIC Covid-19 guideline documents were issued timeously and provided particularly good practical guidance at a time when confusion and despair were threatening to take root. The Webinar Series and the FIDIC CEO’s updates certainly eased the impact of the crisis with decisive and practical information for Consulting Engineers and the greater built environment community. Gratitude is due to the FIDIC Board and the Secretariat.

Finally, I trust that you will find this edition of the FIDIC Africa bulletin informative and highlights the dire need for innovation during these trying times. It is my belief that Covid-19 crisis devastating as it is, offers an excellent opportunity for us, as Consulting Engineers, to redefine ourselves and provide state-of-the-art innovative solutions to our Clients and to better serve humanity. The need for collaboration has never been this critical. Let us all ensure that this crisis and its challenges brings out the best in us. I pledge that as your EXCO we shall work hard to ensure that “The voice of the Consulting Engineer in Africa” is heard.

Let us all follow the prescribed Covid-19 protocols and be safe. It shall surely pass.

Thank You.

Eng. Kabelo Motswagole
FIDIC Africa

Words by Immediate Past President, FIDIC Africa, Eng. James N. Mwangi

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to members of the Executive Committee (Exco) during my tenure as Chairman of FIDIC Africa. It was gratifying to note the high attendance to the many meetings including the monthly meetings during which many impactful discussions we help. The notable achievements in the last two years include:

The development and unveiling of the Strategic Plan. This gave FIDIC Africa a road map for the next 5 years. The development and unveiling of the Strategic Plan. This gave FIDIC Africa a road map for the next 5 years
The successful FIDIC Africa Conference in Bamako, Mali in 2018, followed by the FIDIC Africa Conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2019. We thank the local MA’s for the wonderful effort made to make these conference a success.
The hosting of the first virtual General Assembly Meeting this year, which displayed the organization’s agility to respond to the limitations imposed by various Countries to curb the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic,
Amendment of the Constitution at the FIDIC Africa GAM, this year,
The hosting of the FIDIC Board in 2019 in South Africa. We thank the FIDIC board for engaging GAMA in getting valuable inputs toward FIDIC Regionalization policy,
The vibrant activities and growth of the FIDIC- AFRICA Future Leaders and the active engagement with the FIDIC Board and secretariat.
FIDIC Africa has continued to grow and more importantly continues to make valuable contributions to the consulting engineering profession and infrastructure sector in Africa. FIDIC Africa is on a particularly good growth trajectory and especially now when the FIDIC regionalisation initiative is a core agenda item of the FIDIC Board.

I look forward to actively supporting FIDIC Africa as an Exco member and as the Chairman of the FIDIC Integrity Management Committee. The African continent has a lot to gain in the eradication/minimization of unethical practices to enable the realization of more positive impact of infrastructure projects done on the continent.

Once again, I want to thank the Exco members, the Member Associations (MAs) and the secretariat (CESA) for the wonderful support and encouragement.

I want to wish the current President Eng. Kabelo Motswagole all the success and am confident that FIDIC Africa is in very Safe and capable hands. I thank Eng. Kabelo for his long-dedicated service to FIDIC Africa and the consulting engineering profession.

God Bless FIDIC Africa.

Eng. James N. Mwangi
Chair FIDIC Integrity Management Committee