Category archives for: Construction

Africa:Cairo Gathering Examines Future of African Cities

By Edward Yeranian

Participants of a conference in Cairo have been pondering the use of new technology to build the future of African cities.

A three-day gathering of African innovators and entrepreneurs got under way at Cairo’s French University Wednesday as enthusiastic participants shared ideas and discussed technological developments to help build a better future for the continent’s estimated one-and-a-quarter-billion residents.

Nigeria’s Afrilabs organized the conference and its head, Michael Oluwabgemi, believes that using technology is the key to breaking down artificial borders between people and countries.

“We need to start using technology to break down the artificial walls that have been set up among ourselves,” said Oluwabgemi. “Technology offers the unique solution. Technology does not respect borders.”

One topic centered on the need for African universities to do a better job of innovating and of using those innovations constructively. Participant Idriss Bello from Nigeria complained that universities are often failing to tailor their intellectual assets to their productive output.

“We are failing to closely link what we learn in schools with the issues, the problems we have in the ecosystem,” said Bello. “So, you have thousands of projects just sitting in libraries, sitting in books without being commercialized, or being translated into actual solutions to our problems.”

Despite the best efforts of the African continent’s nearly 250 universities, no African country was listed on last year’s global innovation index.

Another subject that participants focused on was the active engagement of women in the economic and technological future of their countries. A woman entrepreneur, Florence Toffa from Ghana, deplored the cultural stigma in many African countries of women becoming active entrepreneurs.

“For most of the women I come across, the common challenge has always been: right after school, the expectations from families is that maybe get a job, get married and start a family,” said Toffa.

Afrilabs stressed its own theme of using technological hubs in several dozen countries on the continent to connect those seeking solutions in one place with problem-solvers in another. As the head of one hub in West Africa put it, “We need to encourage Africans to be job-creators, rather than job-seekers.”

Africa

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Ethiopia:Institute Aiming for Optimal Technology Transfer

By Robel Yohannes

Ethiopian Construction Project Management Institute (ECPMI) underlined the need on creating a joint platform that would enable it to cooperate with other entities in order to carry out optimal technology, knowledge transfer into the local construction sector.

This was said amid the ‘8th Addis Build International Constrcution, Constrcution Materials and Technologies Exhibition’, where over 105 companies drawn from more than 12 countries participated.

Institute’s Communication Director, Zenebe Tunu indicated that as one of its tasks, the Institute introduces new technologies that will help the sector in its efficiency. To that end, exhibitions, along with workshops create a platform to discharge its responsibility, he added.

In addition to this, he continued, the Institute should create a joint venture to work closely with countries, institutes, stakeholders, or professionals that has a strong background and capability in regards to the construction sector. This would make the technology transfer more optimal.

Spotlighting on the critical role the construction sector holds in fueling the country’s path to renaissance and efforts to structurally transform the economy to an industrial one, the Director opined that the sector will need to be assuaged by promoting technology and knowledge transfer in a systematic and organized manner.

Zenebe also indicated that construction sector’s management capacity will need to be strengthened and elevated given that the fate of the government’s big project and most of the country’s construction project are linked to the efficiency of the sector.

Furthermore, the Director indicated that the Institute is doing activities in order to bypass some of the gaps, and function more effectively, in terms of ensuring quality of services as well as delivering projects’ on time.

The Institute has had some gaps in terms of identifying and optimally utilizing technologies at hand, and deploying the studies and researches that have been conducted by local and foreign professionals. The Director further said. “Last year, for instance, we have introduced about nine applied researches to the relevant stakeholders and we are planning to do more this year.”

Zenebe also remarked that a capacity building strategy that would help in implementing the technologies in sync with the manpower, capital and the sector’s capacity on the ground is set by the government.

The construction sector is booming, and there needs to be a knowledge and technology sharing from countries and enterprises that are in a better level in order to advance country’s construction quality, Institute’s Acting Director Dr. Argaw Asha remarked. This is why, for him, platforms like exhibition, workshop are important to introduce new technologies into the sector, before helping adopt them. There is cultural resistance, and we have to work on that, he noted.

The Acting Director also revealed that a 122 billion Birr worth, 10 year long program is prepared by the government in a bid to modernize the sector by improving construction equipment, and building the capacity of the manpower involved in the sector.

Cameroon:Take It to the End

By Lukong Pius Nyuylime

The new bridge over River Wouri in Douala the gateway to and out of the city for travelers to and from the South West, North West and West Regions has been opened to traffic. It is surely a big sigh of relief for the population. The reaction of Douala city dwellers has been that of full satisfaction. Taxi drivers, motorbike riders and even pedestrians have all been expressing joy over the new bridge. Some have gone as far as declaring the end of suffering especially when they remember the hurdles they had to go through, taking sometimes several hours to cross the old bridge. Residents in the neighborhood of Bonaberi remember with distress how they were compelled to leave their houses as early as 4 AM in order to cross the bridge and report to work on time. Even then, many ended up not achieving their goal. The story seems to be different with the opening of the new bridge to movement. The bridge is wider and can enable many vehicles, bikes and people traveling on foot to cross and relatively smoothly.

That notwithstanding, it is important to state that the project remains uncompleted. The construction of the second bridge over River Wouri is whole network of projects and sub projects. Simply widening the bridge will not completely do the trick. Authorities are aware of this. That explains why contracts were conceived for the rehabilitation and renovation of access roads to the bridge. Work is going on and will see the light of day any moment from now. It is when this must have been completed that one would say with confidence that the project on the second bridge over River Wouri has been finalized. As for now, traffic remains dense. This however is logical. In-lets and out-lets are smaller and are unable to contain the traffic flow on the new bridge. This state of affairs is sending sentiments of worry in many minds, some of which are already questioning the raison d’être of a new bridge if this will not step down traffic.

The construction of the second bridge over River Wouri is a serious milestone though considering its socio-economic importance. In effect, the economic importance of this bridge is more than words can tell. It does not only link the Littoral Region with the South West, West, and North West Regions that are very productive as far as agriculture is concerned. It links West Africa to Central Africa epitomized by the fact that Douala is the entry port to Central Africa. In other words, it is a link between the ECOWAS countries and the CEMAC countries.

Cameroon

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South Africa:Public Works On Cost of Repairing Public Buildings Damaged in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng During Recent Storms

press release

The preliminary cost of repairing public buildings under the custodianship of the National Department of Public Works damaged in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during recent storms and flooding is estimated at over R16 million, Public Works Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko declared on Monday.

“While the final cost is being quantified to inform the final assessment, repairs at some of the 30 properties in KwaZulu-Natal, i.e. 17 state owned facilities occupied by South African Police Service, Departments of Labour, Justice and Defence as well as 13 leased facilities has commenced.,” highlighted Minister Nhleko.

Nhleko confirmed that repairs to South Gauteng High Court and Krugersdorp Home Affairs in Gauteng which were minimum have already been attended to.

He said that contractors are expected to be on site by the end of this week at all remaining sites after emergency procurement procedures and appointment of contractors have been finalised.

Minister Nhleko committed to mobilise resources to assist the affected provinces wherever possible.

He said that the MINMEC meeting held on Friday had noted progress and the leadership provided by Premiers of Kwa Zulu-Natal as well as Gauteng and expressed confidence that interventions aimed at mitigating the effect of the damage will minimise disruption to services.

“MINMEC expressed condolences to families that lost their loved ones during the disaster and appreciation of the commitment of officials who were part of rescue operations, disaster relief efforts and technical assessment teams. The heroic action of ordinary citizens and humanitarian organisations has demonstrated Ubuntu,” added Nhleko.

Issued by: Department of Public Works

South Africa

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South Africa:KZN Storm Damage to Public Buildings Over 16 Million – Public Works

Preliminary costs for repairs on several public buildings that were damaged during last week’s storm in KwaZulu-Natal will cost over R16m to repair, Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko has said.

Nhleko said that the final costs were being quantified, but at least 30 public properties in the province needed repairs.

According to Nhleko, some repairs were already underway in 17 state-owned facilities occupied by police, the Departments of Labour, Justice and Defence as well as 13 leased facilities.

He said that contractors were “expected to be on site by the end of this week” after emergency procurement procedures and appointment of contractors were finalised.

Nhleko commended the citizens of KZN on their work done during the storm.

“The heroic action of ordinary citizens and humanitarian organisations has demonstrated Ubuntu,” he said.

A massive storm swept through the province on Tuesday causing extensive damage to large parts of Durban.

Cars were swept away, major highways were blocked and the death toll, which is expected to rise, is currently sitting at 8 people.

Government has yet to account for the missing, including an infant.

Last week the department of public works in the province said that damage to hospitals could run into hundreds of millions of rands.

Source: News24

South Africa

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Angola:Road Fund Ends Rehabilitation of Five Sections

Luanda — Five road sections were rehabilitated by the Road Fund in the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cuanza Sul, Huambo and Uige, reads a note released last Friday, in Luanda, by this institution linked to the Ministry of Construction and Public Works.

According to the document, the works included the complete rehabilitation of the road sections and tackling ravines along the path.

The five road sections received a new asphalt layer and drainage ditches, as well as new pavements.

The Road Fund is an autonomous organ instituted in 2015, functioning under the umbrella of the Ministry of Construction and Public Works, tasked with doing maintenance and rehabilitation works at the main roads of the country.

Angola

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Rwanda:Local Enterprise Wages War on Dirty Floors With an Alternative to Cement

By Emmanuel Ntirenganya

When Gayatri Datar started social enterprise, EarthEnable, to provide locally sourced ‘healthy’ clay floors as alternative to cement, she did not expect it to catch global attention.

The floors are 75 per cent less expensive, and produce 90 per cent fewer emissions, than cement. The floors are sealed using a plant-based oil.

Fastforward and that invention recently won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017 that came with €500,000 (about Rwf500 million) in prize money.

The floors are credited for making homes or communities healthier through eliminating health problems caused by dirt floors, such as childhood asthma, diarrhea, malnutrition, and parasitic infestations.

The award ceremony took place in the Dutch city of Amsterdam on September 14.

Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, one of the world’s largest competitions in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship, reported that “during the finale, co-founder Gayatri Datar impressed the international jury with her sustainable alternative for cement to replace dirt floors.”

It beat a total of 515 entries from all over the world, including countries like France, Denmark and The Netherlands.

The competing companies include those engaged in innovations for solar powered car, clean energy, and waste recycling.

More than a billion people still live on sandy floors, which are often a breeding ground for parasites and germs, according to the Challenge.

Datar, the EarthEnable chief executive and co-founder, told The New Times about the enterprise’s activities, how they are impacting lives and what it envisions in the future.

Below are the excerpts:

EarthEnable has won €500,000 in Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017; what made you stand out among all the contestants and scoop such a prize?

The finalists for the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge were an incredibly impressive group, so it was a great honour to be chosen as the 2017 winner. We believe that EarthEnable stood out for two reasons.

First, the problem of dirt floors globally is enormous. There is tremendous potential for our healthy and sustainable flooring to make a difference in the health of people across the world, and in the health of our planet. Second, we have a deeply passionate and hardworking team who have already sold over 2,000 floors in just a few years, with ambitions to eliminate dirt floors globally. We believe the jury saw our impact potential and our team’s passion to execute this potential.

What does such award mean to your activities?

This award will catapult our impact. The Green Challenge is on a global platform, which means that EarthEnable’s work in Rwanda has been seen across the world. Given that EarthEnable is committed to eliminating dirt floors everywhere, we have been thrilled to receive interest from potential partners in other countries who will be able to replicate our success in Rwanda.

The award will also enable us to invest in innovation to make our floors even more affordable and durable. The result will be that more families will have access to healthy and affordable floors.

What is the rationale for starting activities in Rwanda; what problem did it want to solve?

We started in Rwanda largely due to its strong investment climate and ease of doing business. We have been grateful for the support of local and national government in supporting our company’s development, and were able to grow quickly as a result.

We are trying to solve a serious problem: according to the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey in Rwanda, 74.7 per cent of Rwandans live on dirt floors. Dirt floors are a major cause of diarrhoea, parasitic infection, respiratory disease, and anemia. Therefore, EarthEnable’s mission is to improve health and wellbeing by offering affordable and quality floors.

Concrete flooring – the cheapest alternative – is not affordable to over two million families. Concrete floors are not only too expensive, but also environmentally unsustainable. Cement is responsible for over 5 per cent of global carbon emissions.

EarthEnable provides an alternative to dirt floors and concrete: They are made by hand with a mixture of compressed earthen materials – laterite, sand, clay – and are then sealed with proprietary oil that turns to a plastic-like resin when it dries.

EarthEnable floors cost Rwf50,000 for a 20 square metre home, and our floors have an estimated 90 per cent less embedded energy than concrete floors. Our business enables Rwanda to shift to proven, affordable, and green construction technologies while improving health. This innovation could eliminate dirt floors in Rwanda and beyond.

What does EarthEnable’s work in Rwanda entail and how is it impacting lives of communities?

EarthEnable started in Rwanda a little over three years ago. Currently we work in four districts – Bugesera, Rwamagana, Kayonza, and Kamonyi – where we educate communities about our floors, train local masons in the building technique, source materials, and produce our proprietary varnish.

Since our founding, we have built about 65,000 square metres of flooring for over 2,000 households, improving health of nearly 10,000 people.

Replacing dirt floors with a clean floor leads to significant health improvements for the families living on these floors.

Improved health not only improves quality of life, but also can have long-term impacts on learning and income. Reduced illness means that children miss less school, and adults miss work less often. Additionally, better health means less money spent on healthcare and medicine, so families are able to save money for other purposes.

Considering the size of the company, how big is it now (how many workers does it employ, the investment so far made, the equipment used … )?

Across Rwanda and Uganda, EarthEnable employs roughly 140 people, and also works with an additional 100 masons whom we have trained in our building technique. Of these, approximately 125 employees and 95 masons are based in Rwanda. EarthEnable has headquarters in Nyamata, as well as offices in Rwamagana, Kayonza, and Kamonyi.

What are the future plans?

EarthEnable envisions a world where no child has to grow up on a dirt floor, allowing everyone to lead a healthier life, and in a home they are proud of. We hope to extend our services across Rwanda, and then globally. We believe in continuous innovation and learning from others, and our team is always working to make our products and service better. As we expand, we plan to build our team to take on the ever greater opportunities and exciting challenges that come with expansion.

South Africa:U.S.$1.2 Million for Storm Damaged Public Buildings

The preliminary cost of repairing public buildings under the custodianship of the National Department of Public Works that were damaged as a result of the inclement weather in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is about R16 million.

“While the final cost is being quantified to inform the final assessment, repairs at some of the 30 properties in KwaZulu-Natal, that is 17 state owned facilities occupied by South African Police Service, Departments of Labour, Justice and Defence as well as13 leased facilities has commenced,” Public Works Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Monday in a statement.

According to the Minister, repairs to the South Gauteng High Court and Krugersdorp Home Affairs in Gauteng which were minimum have already been attended to.

He said that contractors are expected to be on site by the end of this week at all remaining sites after emergency procurement procedures and appointment of contractors have been finalised.

Minister Nhleko has committed to mobilise resources to assist the affected provinces wherever possible.

He said that the Ministers and Members of Executive Councils Meeting (MINMEC) held on Friday noted progress and the leadership provided by Premiers of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Gauteng and expressed confidence that interventions aimed at mitigating the effect of the damage will minimise disruption to services.

“MINMEC expressed condolences to families that lost their loved ones during the disaster and appreciation of the commitment of officials who were part of rescue operations, disaster relief efforts and technical assessment teams. The heroic action of ordinary citizens and humanitarian organisations has demonstrated Ubuntu,” Minister Nhleko said.

South Africa

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Ethiopia:Calls for Sustaining Diasporas’ GERD Support

By Desta Gebrehiwot

The Ethiopian Diaspora Association aims to mobilize and reach more Diasporas to sustain their financial contribution to Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) while calling for the government to come up with alternative income generation sources to unleash the potential.

So far the Diaspora community have contributed over 40 million Birr and are supporting the construction of the dam through donation and purchasing bonds, says Association Director General Abraham Seyum.

However, the Director General states the Association does not believe that government has done enough in unleashing Diaspora’s financial potential. There are up to 2.5 million Ethiopians oversees. “This is a huge number and could be a good source finance. The Diasporas’ contribution must continue with more determination. For this to happen, discussion forums should be organized to raise the understanding of the community towards GERD.”

In fact, since its commencement, the Diasporas have shown indomitable determination to extend support to the the flagship project. To sustain the contribution, The Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam needs to design alternative income generation ways, such as touring the renaissance trophy in the countries where many Ethiopian Diaspora reside.

Besides the financial assistance , the diaspora community could lend themselves to public diplomacy role in countering unfounded rhetoric and rumors on the very purpose dam and promote a good image of the the country on the face of the world.

The association is opening many branches in other countries. The Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs need to work jointly with the association in mobilizing the Diasporas and promoting their participation.

Ethiopia

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Seychelles:In Need of Hotel Rooms, Seychelles’ Govt Tells Developers to Begin Projects or Lose Them

Eight out of 18 tourism projects excluded from a moratorium on large hotels in Seychelles could be reallocated if the project backers don’t begin construction within a year, said a top official of the ministry of tourism.

Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Port and Marine, said the decision was taken because promoters of the eight projects have taken too long to develop them.

“We are targeting those investors who have obtained approval more than five years ago and still have not done anything. Some have even had up to 10 years,” the minister said.

Loustau-Lalanne said that the tourism department is going to write to the respective investors and give them one year to decide if they want to go ahead with their project.

“We think that they will not be able to do anything within the course of one year. Therefore, we will be able to take back 1,300 rooms for redistribution,”

Loustau-Lalanne said.

The moratorium on large hotel projects except those already approved by the government was announced by the Seychelles’ former president, James Michel, during the Independence Day celebrations on June 29, 2015.

The moratorium was prolonged to the end of 2020 by the Seychelles’ President Danny Faure in his State of the Nation address in February.

Large hotels are defined as those having 25 rooms or more. The moratorium does not include small establishments of 15 rooms or less which are reserved for Seychellois.

Old and abandoned hotels are also to be reallocated and they account for more than 700 which are counted as part of the approximate 5300 existing hotel room quota. These include Reef Hotel and Equator Hotel.

According to statistics from the Tourism Ministry, there are 541 tourism establishments in operation that have 5,849 rooms.

The tourism minister said that when the department did its research, the feedback from tour operators was that there is not enough room to accommodate visitors.

“As Seychelles is experiencing an economic growth in the tourism sector, it is unacceptable to note that there are not enough rooms. This why we also need to redistribute these projects to investors that are ready to develop,” said Loustau-Lalanne.

The Criteria for reallocation will be drawn up on a case-by-case basis and once approved these projects will be subjected to environmental impact assessments and the requirements of regulatory bodies such as the Seychelles Planning Authority.

With the addition of the new hotels excluded from the moratorium, an additional 4,000 rooms will be available in the island nation to accommodate visitors.

Commenting on the Grand Police Bay hotel, which has now been declared a protected area by the Cabinet of Ministers, in June, Loustau-Lalanne, said that their number of rooms have been taken back as well and discussion is ongoing with the developers.

Tourism remains the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. In the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in January, over 304,000 visitors came to Seychelles last year, compared with 275,000 in 2015.

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