Environment Analyst invited senior managers from six international environmental consulting firms to share their experiences of working in Africa, the barriers they face and the opportunities they are looking forward to.
Contributing firms include: AECOM, Arcadis, MWH Global (Stantec), Ricardo Energy & Environment, SLR Consulting and SRK Consulting.
With its rapidly expanding population, abundant natural resources and some of the fastest growing economies worldwide, Africa has often been dubbed the new China. Certainly regional economic growth figures have far outpaced those of other global regions since the millennium. But more recently, the oil-exporting economies in the north of the continent have been hard hit by oil price collapse, and further wounded by geo-political instability linked to the Arab Spring, whilst economies further south continue to flourish. The result has been a sharp divergence between North Africa, which is increasingly aligned with the Middle East, and the Sub-Saharan region.
So how do environmental consultancy providers value the experience and view the prospects of work in Africa?
Discussion points in this special report focus on: which sectors and regions have provided the best opportunities for each of the respective practices to date; the business risks versus rewards of seeking work in Africa; the importance (or not) of having a physical footprint on the ground; the value of local partnerships; and a review of the recent activities of the growing number global consulting players keen to get a foothold in this potentially lucrative market.
This 9-page overview offers a window into our contributors’ experiences of working across the African continent, including their opinions on:
- The importance of recognising cultural, commercial and regulatory variances, not just between the North and Sub-Saharan Africa, but indeed from country to country;
- How a stringent risk assessment framework which takes into account political, security, economic and commercial volatility is critical;
- The importance of a network of trusted local consultants on the ground, and the benefits this can provide for both sides of the partnership;
- A look forward to the prospects for environmental consultancies in Africa, whether operating locally or remotely; linked to commodities, infrastructure and urbanisation development, or helping Africa meet its aspirations and potential on the global climate change stage.