South Africans went to the polls on Wednesday in its fifth, pivotal general election since the advent of democracy. Now, all eyes remain on the IEC boards as the preliminary results emerge. And while many South African voters are focused on social issues, such as job creation, some candidates in the race could significantly and directly impact the stance of the country’s construction industry.

Already, industry players are re-thinking the way in which the built environment is planned, designed and delivered. Alternative strategies for funding are promoted and those in the industry journey the long road to spatial transformation, which is critical in the development of cities.

Transformation – not only an aspiration voiced by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he asked supporters to together ‘build a great country, which belongs to all South Africans,’ but a hope for Wednesday’s voters and all African leaders working towards a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Ultimately allowing thought to the question, what is the Africa I want?

The African Union believes the birth of Agenda 2063 came from the realisation by African leaders that there was a need to refocus and reprioritise Africa’s agenda, from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence for Africa.  The master plan is to transform Africa into the global powerhouse of the future – a compelling aspiration for the outcome of South Africa’s general election.

Against this background, the African Construction Expo – co-located with the Totally Concrete Expo, Pumps, Valves and Pipes Africa Expo, African Construction Awards as well as the African Smart Cities Summit – allows leaders in the construction industry to inspire action and create the Africa they want by delivering their blueprint for transforming Africa’s built environment.

When asked about his vision for the industry, Joe Odhiambo the CEO of Agrément said, ‘The construction industry has the potential to grow from its current low base. The outlook should be positive after a long period of low investment. The industry should experience sustained increase investment spending and thus growth. This should bode well for the young graduates who have struggled to get employment opportunities in the industry. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will open new channels for investments in the industry and it will no longer be business as usual. Innovative construction technologies will gain prominence and those who adopt these new technologies will benefit the most.’

Odiambo is a keynote speaker at the Stakeholder Engagement Forum, this year a significant event as it intends to shed light on the importance of active engagement between the built environment professionals and various stakeholders in housing and human settlements, contributing to alternative approaches to development, professionalism and innovation. Many construction professionals across Africa can mark their calendar for the forum, taking place at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 12 June 2019.

‘Given the construction industry’s challenges and contracting growth over the last decade, the expo affords an opportunity to rethink challenges the industry has been facing and mapping a positive way forward,’ explained Tracy-Lee Behr, Portfolio Director of African Construction Expo at dmg events.

For more information, or to secure attendance, visit www.africanconstructionexpo.com

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