Immediate past president of Federation of Africa Engineering Organisation (FAEO) @ WECSI 2014; who handed the batton of leadership to our own Engr. Mustafa Balarabe Shehu, FNSE.
In his words……….
“Africa has huge economic potential, but it needs the necessary infrastructure to develop and sustain this potential. Infrastructure development should not only be inward looking, but should be done on a regional basis, and eventually on a continental basis. In unity is strength, and it is engineering practitioners who must make sure that we develop an integrated road network, rail network, power network and telecommunications network.
One requirement for such integrated networks is that there are compatible standards and design codes. This will not be easy to achieve. The countries in Africa have a legacy from many different countries in Europe, and it will be a challenging task to align the codes and standards with each other.
For this purpose we need wise engineering practitioners. At university an engineer or technician acquires knowledge. Knowledge is information that is retained in the mind. Once working, an engineering practitioner gains the ability to apply the knowledge in practice, and thereby becomes competent to practice his/her profession. When experience is added to competence, then wisdom is achieved.
Training of engineering practitioners starts at school where they must gain sufficient competency in maths and physics to enter university. It then becomes necessary to ensure that the training at university is at a high level. However, all this knowledge comes to nothing if there is not a proper training and mentoring programme in place. The FAEO recognises that capacity building is the key to producing competent, experienced and wise engineering practitioners that will plan, design and build the required infrastructure that will make Africa great.
Engineering practitioners must conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. This is not always easy in an environment where corruption has become entrenched and almost institutionalised. Notwithstanding, this unpalatable fact, it is only when engineering professionals stand together that this can be overcome. The FAEO stands for integrity, and expects all its members to adhere to honourable conduct.
The FAEO has an African vision and must therefore rise above national and regional interests. The intention is to facilitate the establishment of an engineering corps that can truly serve the peoples of Africa. Every engineering practitioner must be able say with conviction the following:
I am an Engineer
I am an African Engineer
In my Profession I take deep pride.
Martin van Veelen
Immediate Past President