Sustainable Infrastructure – The Bedrock Emerging Economies in Africa Need

That was the key message attendees went home with after 3hours of enlightening presentations and discussions on how the construction industry can improve on the quality and sustainability of the products they deliver.   The joint event by The French Chamber of Commerce (CCIFC) and The African Chamber of Commerce (AFCHAM) was organized on the evening of November 10th 2016 and brought together experts and stakeholders of the construction industry - the forefront of emerging economies in Africa.   The first keynote speaker Mr. Bruno Lhopiteau, founder of China’s largest maintenance consultancy SIVECO, walked the audience through the life span of products frequently delivered by construction companies, highlighting loopholes often neglected and the consequences of such negligence. Drawing from his rich experience in that business sector, he demonstrated how government entities could regulate the construction industry to ensure greater efficiency and sustainability in the facilities delivered by construction companies. Having worked with large construction companies of diverse backgrounds on multi-million dollar projects in many countries, he pointed out the importance of having partner companies on the field to follow up on the solutions offered to companies by SIVECO. Mr. Lhopiteau, in his light humoristic style presented the achievements of his company modestly although full of ambition and excitement with his growing influence and active involvement in the much talked about New Silk Road.   The second keynote speaker Mr. Louis-Marie Ebanga, founder and CEO of SHRLOMEN, a company based in Cameroon and specializing in electricity and energy related projects, explored the indispensable leading role of energy in the development of Africa in general and the construction industry in particular. Firstly, he drew everyone’s attention to the shortsighted perception of energy consumption being limited to the small utility bills we pay monthly. Then he brought to light the other kind of energy consumption, which he labeled indirect energy consumption usually not taken into consideration. He lambasted the much-touted green energy propaganda nowadays and iterated the reliability and sustainability of traditional energy sources like coal and hydropower. “Solar energy, wind energy can provide energy for household consumption but can not power a factory, let alone a whole industrial revolution in a country. African countries need reliable and sustainable energy in order to develop properly” the CEO emphasized. He then illustrated the above with hair-raising facts and figures about current energy needs in the entire continent of Africa, the future potential and investment opportunities available. Regarding quality electrical installations, he pointed out that the so-called international norms more often than not; don’t fit in the African context as they were established by non-African experts with little or no knowledge of the realities of Africa. His eye-opening presentation left many attendees yearning. He pledged to make more data on the subject available at the statistics department of The African Chamber of Commerce.   The evening ended with a networking session. Graced by excellent French wine and delicacies, participants chatted, made new friends and exchanged contact information until late. The organizers promised the event was only a warm up to a bigger event under the same theme planned for Beijing at the end of the month.