Engineers set to gather in Kampala to discuss driving growth in Africa

This year’s FIDIC-GAMA annual conference takes place in Uganda from 12-15 May 2019.

The FIDIC-GAMA annual conference, which takes place from 12-15 May 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, is one of the biggest networking events for African engineers. It provides a forum for consulting engineers, contractors, government officials, state-owned entities, funding agencies, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders to share their views on the better provision of services in the engineering field.

Conference organising committee chair Patrick Batumbya spoke to FIDIC about GAMA, its work and his hopes for the conference in Kampala.

Tell us a bit about GAMA and its key current work?
FIDIC’s strategy of a regional chapter known as the Group of Africa Member Associations (GAMA) is a positive response to African member associations’ quest for equitable representation in the global agenda for the engineering consultancy industry. GAMA, which is governed by the executive committee on behalf of the member associations, is currently headquartered in South Africa where the secretariat runs the day-to-day operations of the organisation. The main aim of the secretariat is to organise the GAMA annual conference each year in a different capital city. The conference is a replica of the FIDIC annual conference and this year’s conference is being held to discuss and interrogate the role of African engineers in driving growth in African economies.

What are the main issues being discussed at the conference and what key speakers are of note?
Kampala GAMA 2019 will treat the delegates to a variety of interesting papers presented by distinguished personalities in the consultancy and construction industry. Africa’s economic growth and the consolidation of the gains made through the marginal value addition by works of its engineers in general and consulting engineers in particular in the various sectors of the economy will be examined in papers that will be presented and discussed by panellists.

The theme of the conference is “The Role of Consulting Engineers in Driving Growth in African Economies” and we are delighted to welcome the renowned public speakers Professor Lumumba and Professor Nuwagaba as the two personalities to fire up the intellectual and professional discourses of the three-day event.

Who should attend the conference and why?
We expect the opening ceremony to be attended by dignitaries from both civic and professional societies. The engineering fraternity will be well represented by both the young professionals, leaders from the consultancy industry and contracting companies, as well as architects and allied professional representatives.

What is the current state of the African market?
Large infrastructure projects in Africa need foreign partners. Infrastructure spending in Africa is estimated to reach $93bn per year and tax revenues and other domestic resources will not be enough to fill the financing gap for infrastructure projects. We need that foreign investment and funding.

How optimistic are you about future business prospects?
One untapped area is agriculture for major investment. Africa has about half of the planet’s arable land and there are potentially large expected returns from this sector, especially if its infrastructure gap is reduced. This is an area of great optimism for the consultancy and engineering industry.

Why should international delegates attend the event in Uganda?
Given that this conference will be attended by consulting engineers, contractors, government officials, state-owned entities, funding agencies, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders, such a coming together of various professionals across the continent and beyond has massive potential to open doors and create useful international networks.

Click here to visit the FIDIC-GAMA conference website for full details of the event.