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Hassan Hachem: infrastructure opportunities in Africa

Africa is finally under construction ! Hassan Hachem, a serial entrepreneur and construction expert, shares his vision of the infrastructure market in Africa.

Sarl-sa.com

Africa is eventually under construction !

Hassan Hachem

serial entrepreneur and construction expert, shares his vision of the infrastructure market in Africa.

Infrastructure development could be divided into two groups: basic infrastructure and advanced infrastructure.

In the first category, there are ports and roads. In terms of ports, Africa's primary needs are largely met. We could do better and see bigger as the country develops to accompany it in its rise. But in terms of port infrastructure, most of the work has already been done. This may not be where there is the greatest potential. At road level, disparities are greater. It is the weakest link in many countries and is often an obstacle to their development. It often inhibits development. The numerous structural adjustment plans of the international financial institutions led many countries in the 1980s to make drastic cuts in road maintenance budgets, so that certain axes are no longer practicable, leading to entire economic sectors being blocked in certain regions. This is the case of cotton, whose production, which can no longer be transported, suffers. This is probably the area in which we find the greatest opportunities across Africa, the road that connects southern Morocco to Dakar, Senegal, through Mauritania, is a good example.

Railways are not classified as essential infrastructure, yet in the era of global warming, they are of strategic importance as part of a sustainable development policy. In this field, Africa is practically stricken: apart from South Africa, the railways inherited from the colonial era have been progressively abandoned so that the African railway network has been whittled away. Without political will and public funding, it is unlikely that the trend will reverse, while the needs are very important. So, limited opportunities in the near future… at least, till an Elon Musk massively invest in a transafrican, superfast bullet train.

In terms of advanced infrastructure, we can first talk about hydraulic dams: if solar and wind have been on the rise for ten years (with all the problems of profitability that we know), hydropower is at the forefront of renewable energy, which is also profitable. The hydraulic potential is enormous: less than 7% of the continent's potential is exploited while 65% of the population does not have access to electricity. I'm sure there will be many dam projects coming up in the next decade.

The situation of the airports is more mixed: if the continent is probably the least equipped of all the planet, the means and the needs vary a lot from one country to another. If we want to caricature the situation, we could divide the countries into two groups: those with strong growth rates over long periods and who need more efficient airports and have the means to finance them, in order to strengthen their integration into the globalized economy. On the other hand, countries whose development is more problematic: they must maintain existing airports and invest prudently.

The case of infrastructure for exploiting mineral resources is unique and does not concern all operators. Gaz and oil pipelines, refineries are indispensable tools for countries with mineral wealth. Long dependent on the financing of international organizations at preferential rates, these are often financed by private Chinese under specific agreements: guaranteed access to raw materials at reduced rates (but less preferential than with the IMF or the Bank World) and, of course, executed by Chinese companies. The potential for this type of partnership is important.

Franco-Lebanese entrepreneur, construction specialist, Hassan Hachem who participated in the construction of many infrastructure in Africa south of the Sahara (airports, ports and roads) concludes: "Long dependent on foreign construction giants, Africa must count more on its strengths in the context of technological transfers: Africa must not have any complex related to its know-how because it has proven for many years that some countries have learned to manage from A to Z this kind large projects, but also to transfer their expertise. "

2011 growth rate in Africa

 

 Real GDP Growth

 Year

Ghana

14

2011

Zimbabwe

9

2011

Rwanda

9

2011

Erythrea

9

2011

Ethiopia

8

2011

Nigeria

7

2011

Equatorial Guinea

7

2011

Mozambique

7

2011

Democratic republic of Congo

7

2011

Tanzania

7

2011

Ouganda

7

2011

Zambie

7

2011

Liberia

6

2011

Gabon

6

2011

Burkina Faso

6

2011

Malawi

6

2011

Guinea-Bissao

5

2011

Sierra Leone

5

2011

Kenya

5

2011

Cabo Verde

5

2011

Seychelles

5

2011

Sao Tomé-et-Principe

5

2011

Botswana

5

2011

Djibouti

5

2011

Congo

5

2011

Morrocco

4

2011

Lesotho

4

2011

Burundi

4

2011

Cameroun

4

2011

Mauricius

4

2011

Togo

4

2011

Namibia

4

2011

Mauritania

4

2011

Guinea

4

2011

Angola

3

2011

Gambia

3

2011

Republic of Central Africa

3

2011

Benin

3

2011

South Africa

3

2011

Mali

3

2011

Senegal

3

2011

Somalia

3

2010

Libye

3

2010

Algérie

3

2011

Niger

2

2011

Comores

2

2011

Egypt

2

2011

Tchad

2

2011

Madagascar

1

2011

Swaziland

0

2011

Tunisia

-1

2011

Soudan

-4

2011

Ivory Coast

-5

2011

About Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest in continental Africa. It is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe lie to its southwest. Formerly the Spanish colony of Spanish Guinea, the country's territory (continentally known as Río Muni) includes a number of islands, including the sizable island of Bioko where the capital, Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel), is located. Its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is the only country in Africa where Spanish is an official language, excluding the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, the Canary Islands and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings. In 1959 it had the highest per capita income of Africa. The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. As of 2004, Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its oil production has risen to 360,000 barrels/day, up from 220,000 only two years earlier. Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. The deterioration of the rural economy under successive brutal regimes has diminished any potential for agriculture-led growth. Despite a per capita GDP (PPP) of more than US$30,000  (CIA Factbook $50,200) which is as of 2004 the sixth highest in the world, Equatorial Guinea ranks 121st out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. In July 2004, the U.S. Senate published an investigation into Riggs Bank, a Washington-based bank into which most of Equatorial Guinea's oil revenues were paid until recently, and which also banked for Chile's Augusto Pinochet. The Senate report, as to Equatorial Guinea, showed that at least $35 million were siphoned off by Obiang, his family and senior officials of his regime. The president has denied any wrongdoing. While Riggs Bank in February 2005 paid $9 million as restitution for its banking for Chile's Augusto Pinochet, no restitution was made with regard to Equatorial Guinea, as reported in detail in [11] this Anti-Money Laundering Report from Inner City Press. Equatorial Guinea is the smallest country, in terms of population, in continental Africa (Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe are smaller). It is also the smallest United Nations member from continental Africa. It is the smallest Spanish-speaking country in the world.

About Mauritania

Mauritania, is a country in the Maghreb region of western North Africa. It is the eleventh largest country in Africa, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, by Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. The country derives its name from the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which existed from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD, in the far north of modern-day Morocco. Approximately 90% of Mauritania's land is within the Sahara Desert and subsequently the population is concentrated in the south, where precipitation is slightly higher than the rest of the country. The capital and largest city of Mauritania is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, which is home to around one-third of the country's 3.5 million people. The government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On 16 April 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the 19 July elections, which he won.