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The Federation of African Engineering Organizations (FAEO), the continental Engineering body representing the interests of all Engineering practitioners in Africa has launched an Infrastructure Report Project for Africa South of the Sahara.

The launch took place from the 16th – 17th January, 2020 at the FAEO Offices hosted at the National Headquarters of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Abuja, Nigeria was carried out by the President of FAEO, Eng. Martin Manuhwa, FZwIE and supported by the Project Team Leader, Engr. Dr. Martin Van Veelen of the South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE).

The objective of the project is to prepare a report on the state of infrastructure in Africa South of the Sahara. We also visited the Africa Union offices in Abuja to show our commitment to the AU-FAEO MoU and to boost our commitment to create the Africa that we want by 2063. Engineering is the answer to the continent’s aspirations to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Ghana was represented by Ing. Dr. Patrick Amoah Bekoe, the Chairman of the Ghana Infrastructure Report Card Committee of Ghana Institution of Engineering. Other members of the Team at the Project launch were representatives of the Engineering Institutions of participating Countries which include Institution of Engineers, Kenya; Zimbabwean Institution of Engineers; Nigerian Society of Engineers and Conseil National De L’ordre National Des Ingenieurs Civils –RDC (CONICIV) of DRC.

Other participants included the representatives of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK the project funder and the Commonwealth Engineering Council (CEC) which is the UK partner on the project. The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE and the Executive Vice President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), Engr. Mustafa B. Shehu, FNSE were in attendance.

The full list of participants at the launch:
Martin Manuhwa (FAEO President) -Zimbabwe
Martin Van Veelen (Project Manager) – South Africa
Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi -Nigeria
Gaelle Ayaba Elisa -UK
Martin Bush -UK
Babagana Muhammed -Nigeria
Nathaniel Matalanga Kenya
Mustafa B. Shehu Nigeria
Sanzan Diarra Zimbabwe
Patrick Amoah Bekoe Ghana
Gustave Nzeng DRC
Jean Bernard DRC
Okopi Momoh Alex Nigeria
Rotimi Famisa Nigeria
Rose Nungul Nigeria

A few countries produce infrastructure scorecards or reports in Africa, but the number is just a handful (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia). They can be costly in time and money to produce. The Southern Africa Federation of Engineering Organisations (SAFEO) & the CEC pilot project by Eng. Manuhwa of Zimbabwe and Dr. Ngoma of Malawi, sought to reduce the cost and increase the ease of producing such reports, enabling many more countries to produce them by introducing a Mobile App innovation.

This Phase One pilot in 2016 – the “Africa Infrastructure Report App (AIR)” – showed that it is workable but it also showed that more needed to be done to roll it out to other countries. It is in this regard that SAFEO and FAEO through the CEC sought further networks at meetings of WFEO in Rome (2017) and London (2018) to secure additional partners. This was secured through CEC from Engineers Against Poverty.

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The Phase 1 version of the App demonstrated Proof of Concept. What was then required for the roll out was for different countries to have a tailored version of the App (and the associated website).

The UN Broadband Programme, CHOGM & CEC, FAEO, World Federation of Engineering Organisation Events in 2020.
FAEO is also working with partners to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020, also known as CHOGM 2020, will be the 26th meeting of the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations. The summit will be held in Rwanda in the Kigali Convention Centre 20- 26 June 2020. His Excellency President Paul Kagame as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office will host CHOGM 2020. The theme for CHOGM 2020 is ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. Five sub-themes have been identified for discussion: Governance and Rule of Law, ICT & Innovation, Youth, Environment and Trade.

According to the Report of the Working Group on “Connecting Africa through Broadband” of UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, digital technologies and the digital economy will have a transformative impact on development. Today’s economy is being driven by digital transformation across all sectors and digital technology is increasingly at the centre of people’s daily lives. Indeed, several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require information and communication technologies (ICTs) as an enabler, notably to achieve universal identification, more efficient delivery of government services, financial inclusion, and job creation. We must ensure that the promise of digital transformation leaves no one behind. Digitization is expanding access to basic needs and services.

The national institutions/societies of engineers in African nations are fully committed to support the World Bank Africa Moon-Shot Project. They have in their membership engineers from every discipline of engineering and from all sectors, be it government, academia, industry and civil society organisations.

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Through close association with global and regional engineering institutions like the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), Commonwealth Engineers Council (CEC) and the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO), they can mobilize the whole global engineering community to help Africa achieve the SDGs by 2030 through universal broadband connectivity in Africa.

At the World Engineers Convention of the WFEO in Melbourne Australia 20-22 November 2019, the leaders of the Institutions of Engineers of Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe as well as the FAEO urged the Institution of Engineers Rwanda to seek the approval of the Government of Rwanda and the Commonwealth Secretariat to hold a two-day Commonwealth Engineering Event during CHOGM 2020 to deliberate on the roles and responsibilities of African engineers in helping to achieve all the outcomes of the World Bank African Digital Infrastructure Moonshot Project.

To this effect we are also joinng hands with other partners to host a conference on “Connecting Whole Africa by Broadband and Empowering all African Citizens by Broadband Internet by 2030 : The Important Roles and Responsibilities of African Engineers”.

Eng. Martin Manuhwa

FAEO President
For further information please contact: Rose Nungul Phone: +2348033648809, Email: rosenungul@faeo.org Web: www.faeo.org

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