Africa, many believe, is poised for breakneck growth in the coming decades on the back of a growing middle class, a young population, and a boon in natural resources. Infrastructure on the continent has typically lagged behind, however, leaving markets disconnected and often without the proper power and electricity to grow industries.
To meet its potential, Africa’s infrastructure projects need to develop apace, but also be designed in ways that promote sustainability and resilience in anticipation of future growth.
Governments recognize this urgency and over the past five years have been prioritizing planning for sustainable infrastructure, said Andrew Patterson, regional president for Africa for engineering giant Bechtel.
The African Development Bank, under new President Akinwumi Adesina, has laid out a five-pronged approach to develop the continent, of which addressing power and infrastructure needs is a core component.
In a video interview with Devex, Patterson explains that sustainable infrastructure goes well beyond the durability of parts and components. It encompasses long-term planning with a range of local stakeholders to train workers, develop skill sets and build up local capacities that can support future projects and industries.
Naki is a former reporter for Devex Impact based in Washington, D.C., where he covered the intersection of business and international development. Prior to Devex he was a Latin America reporter for Energy Intelligence covering corporate investments and political risks in the region’s energy sector. His previous assignments abroad have posted him throughout Europe, South America and Australia.
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