The Ghana Consulting Engineers Association (GCEA) hosted the 2015 FIDIC-GAMA Annual Conference in Accra, Ghana from 13-15 April 2015. GAMA is the Group of Africa Member Associations of FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers.
Founded in 1913, FIDIC has as its objective, promotion of the interests of consulting engineering firms globally. It is best known for its range of standard conditions of contract for construction, plant and design-build and other suite of documents which are widely used all over the world.
The FIDIC-GAMA Annual Conference is the biggest annual networking event for consulting engineers in Africa and provides a forum for consulting engineers, government officials, local administrative authorities, funding agencies, contractors, suppliers of construction equipment and materials, investors and other stakeholders in the built-environment from the public and private sectors to share ideas on best practices. It also provides a forum for them to learn from each other effective ways of dealing with diverse challenges in order to achieve value for money and provide a sustainable quality of life.
The conference is one of the most important events on the FIDIC Calendar. The 2015 conference had the theme “Developing and Sustaining Africa’s Infrastructure: Promoting African Consulting Engineering Partnerships”. Kenya is represented in FIDIC and GAMA by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Kenya (ACEK). Eng. James N. Mwangi –ACEK Chairperson and Henry Ndugah –ACEK Honorary Secretary, Eng. Kariuki Muchemi – ACEK council, Anne Gumbi – Executive Officer ACEK, ACEK Young Professionals among others, attended the 2015 FIDIC-GAMA Annual Conference in Accra. The conference also promoted cross border trade and partnerships within Africa to reduce capital outflow from the continent and bolster capacity while sharing experiences.
The GAMA conference brings together international delegates from across Africa and the rest of the world. The 2015 Conference was a great conference that provided the participants with the opportunity to develop partnerships. ‘Ghana already produces oil, visiting the country provided an opportunity to learn from them even as we develop our own oil resources,’ said Eng. Mwangi. He also observes that the local engineering consulting firms are still small and need to become bigger. This can be done through partnerships that would result in greater skill pool and financial muscle enabling them take on complex works and realize economies of scale.
‘The Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) should be vigilant on foreign companies who come into the country to work and ensure that the local content requirements in the Procurement and disposal act and the engineers act are adhered to’ added Eng. Mwangi. He noted that the country is currently working on a local content policy spear headed by the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development.
Collaborating with foreign firms should be embraced as a way of building capacity of the local firms with the view of gradually replacing the foreign companies. Having bigger local companies with clear organization structures and a robust business continuance strategy is important for the development of engineering in the country.
Dubai will host the 2015 FIDIC infrastructure conference between 13 and 15 September while there will be a joint FIDIC and GAMA conference in 2016 in the Kingdom of Morocco.