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Infrastructure development a ‘focus area’ in Africa

The Panafrican group offers a wide range of solutions in the African civil and infrastructure markets. (Image Source: Panafrican group)

Scott McCaw, group managing director and Phillip Stander, regional sales manager – East Africa of Panafrican group speak to African Review about civil and infrastructure markets in Africa

AR: How would you describe the civil and infrastructure markets in Africa?

There is a clear consensus that infrastructure development currently is a focus area across the entire African continent, including the markets that we serve in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone; this is emphasised by the number of currently ongoing road, rail and port projects in these markets. The medium term macro-economic challenges include pressure on government revenues, elections, currency volatility and slow decision making by foreign investors and donors.

In the short-term we have identified excellent prospects in East Africa. In Kenya, the focus has shifted to road projects now that the Standard Gauge Railway project is well underway; the Tanzanian and Ugandan governments are settling down after their recent respective elections and have announced a number of mega projects that will attract great interest and investment. In West Africa we have actually seen a decline and this may continue through 2016. Nigeria, although it has recently announced its budget and intent to pay contractors, will depend upon the timing and ultimate solution surrounding foreign exchange restrictions, which have negatively impacted the economy. Ghana will also be negatively impacted due to continued low oil and commodity prices and output, as well as the upcoming election and adverse impacts of the “missing” Cocoa Board Funds (which fund much of the feeder road development).

Panafrican remains bullish about the road infrastructure sector, which is why we sought out the addition of the world class Wirtgen range of road construction and mineral technologies and machinery in East Africa, which includes Hamm compactors, Wirtgen milling and recycling machines, Vogele asphalt pavers, Kleemann crushers and screens as well as Benninghoven and Ciber asphalt plants. Our belief seems to be supported by the cement and aggregates market sector where we are seeing significant increases in production capacities across all our territories.

AR: How does Panafrican support this market segment?

Panafrican set out to target this sector as a reasonably one-stop solution. We can serve the entire infrastructure continuum, from earthworks through to road construction. We then combine these with Panafrican’s dedicated support to improve the performance of our customer’s project, understanding that cost management is critical to success, while ensuring machine performance over the life of the project and beyond.

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