Africa’s builders benefit from broadening economies

16 April 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa’s construction companies in are moving beyond mainstay mining work as rising wealth and urbanisation spark demand for shopping centres and better roads, the CE of South African construction firm Group Five has said. The company is active in 20 African countries.

Mike Upton also said that some sub-Saharan governments were increasingly wary of previously favoured Chinese contractors, presenting an opportunity for local and other international firms.

Estimates of future African consumer spending are: $1.4-trillion by 2020 (nearly doubling from $860bn in 2008) and a 1.1-billion working age population by 2040.

But the Chinese may be losing their advantage, because of suspect building quality and use of their own labour – which does not empower the local economy — and can push up costs in the end.

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