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Major projects on the horizon in rising Africa

Photo: COWI

The construction of the TANZAM highway - one of COWI's major projects in Africa. Here the asphalt wearing course is finished.

​The African continent will see massive investment in the coming years, opening great opportunities for COWI.

​Africa is booming.

In the next few years, seven out of the world’s ten fastest growing economies will be found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The African middle class now numbers more than 300 million and political stability is growing. Development is creating enormous opportunities for companies like COWI.

Urgent need for better infrastructure

An abundance of natural resources like oil, gas and coal have attracted massive investment to Africa, including from China and Brazil, and recent discoveries have only accelerated development.

This has created an urgent need in the mining industry for better infrastructure in order to more quickly get their products to the global market.

“A lot is being invested right now,” says Sandra de Castro Roque, Consultancy Director in COWI Mozambique and Business Development Manager in COWI Africa.

From 'pit to port'

COWI has already been involved in several large projects for mining companies.

In Tanzania, COWI have been working for Norwegian Statoil for over a year on a large natural gas project, and in Mozambique, we have collaborated with the Brazilian mining company Vale and the American firm Anadarko – two of the major players in the market.

Jan Kieler, Senior Vice President of COWI Africa explains:

“COWI isn’t a mining expert, but we have vast knowledge of environmental studies, social studies and how to build railways to transport coal from the mines to the ports,” he says.

“That concept – from ‘pit to port’ – is our focus.”

In most places, the rail network is a relic from the colonial era and will require comprehensive updating in order to be able to transport natural resources across the continent.

Extreme growth

At the same time, Africans are moving from the countryside to the cities in droves. The population in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, is projected to increase by up to 85 percent between 2010 and 2025. Other African cities are expected to follow suit. This growth opens up projects that draw on COWI’s core competences.

“Growth in urban areas creates the need for construction, infrastructure, roads and water facilities and urban development,” says Roque.

Standard Bank, one of Africa’s four major banks, recently identified over ten potential large highway projects, 20 new ports and airports in 12 different countries.

By Steffen de Vries

Published 21.06.2013

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016