Zambia powers on

Infrastructure upgrades on cards

Richard Vries: GIBB Group CEO
Richard Vries.jpg

South African consulting engineering company, GIBB is set to benefit from Zambian government’s commitment to a multi-billion US dollar infrastructure development programme.

Zambia’s infrastructure provision across a range of sectors, including road upgrades, could create opportunities for GIBB to expand its footprint further into the country, says GIBB’s Group CEO, Richard Vries.

The government of Zambia recently allocated $5.6 billion, over the next five years, for the development of the country’s roads, under the programme to modernise infrastructure and this bodes well for companies operating in the construction and engineering spheres.

According to the US Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, Zambia has about 20 000 km of paved roads and 71 000 km of unpaved roads. About 2 300 km of roads would be built at a cost of $1.6 billion under the first phase of the project. A second phase will cover 3 049 km of roads at a cost of 11.25 trillion kwacha, while the third will upgrade 2 862 km of roads at a cost of 9 trillion kwacha.

“There are a number of roads and airports opportunities in Zambia, that we are vying for and hope will come through,” says Vries, adding that the services that GIBB provides in such projects include planning, pre-feasibility studies, advisory services, detailed design and assisting clients with construction monitoring, among others.

Commenting on GIBB’s current involvement in Africa’s top copper producer, Vries says that the company is undertaking three hydropower projects in Zambia. These include the recently-awarded Muchinga Hydropower Project, which is located in the Central Province of Zambia, north-east of Lusaka and anticipated to generate 250 MW of new hydro capacity.

“We are also involved in a Master Plan Study for Copperbelt Energy Corporation’s hydropower development scheme, located in the Luapula River between Lake Bangweulu and Lake Mweru,” says Vries. In addition, GIBB, in a joint venture with Knight Piesold and SSI, is involved in the Kabompo Gorge Hydropower Project.

“This project is currently in the construction phase,” says Vries.

Roads and Airports experience

Armed with over 50 years of aviation engineering and airport infrastructure design and construction experience, GIBB has been awarded a myriad of projects on the African continent with each project showcasing innovation, design excellence and expertise.

One of the projects awarded to GIBB by the Airports Company of South Africa, was to investigate and design an optimal runway friction system solution for use on runway surfacing, with the goal of improving the state of airport runways in southern Africa. This project was further refined for the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority. 

The company has also recently completed an airport investigation project at Ondangwa Airport, Namibia. “We are currently involved in the design of a bridge and access road for the Husab Mine Project,” reports Vries, adding that GIBB is also currently involved in the M10 Highway Project in Nigeria.

Remarking on Zambia’s business environment, Vries says that there is currently an upswing in the activities of projects. The recent government transition has resulted in decisions being taken promptly and we expect more project activities as a result.”

He adds: “There is an ease in doing business in Zambia. We have found no onerous requirements from government and there is no turmoil that is common in some countries.”  

African opportunities abound

In addition to conducting work in Zambia, GIBB is also playing an active role in bridging the infrastructure gap in the rest of Africa. The company is involved in numerous projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Uganda, Angola, Nigeria and Swaziland.

 

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