The construction sector chair of the Association Ghana Industries (AGI), Rockson Dogbegah has called for the need to focus attention on professional development through strong professional institutional development.
Speaking at the 2018 RICS Summit Africa, Dogbegah said, “One of the fundamental causes of risks and uncertainty in infrastructure projects largely missed by the existing literature is the difficulty in securing the required professionals for infrastructure project development.”
The African infrastructure pipeline is currently valued in excess of US$350 billion; however the challenge of demonstrating feasibility in development projects remains.
A recent survey by the Ai African Project Developers Forum highlights the significant difficulties of securing project developers, especially from within Africa and also the difficulty of securing the required professional staff, such as surveyors, financial advisors, engineers, project finance lawyers, among others.
In essence, project development inefficiency and constraints on feasibility in Africa are linked to weaknesses in professional development, which is an indictment on professional institutions.
However, Dogbegah said, “the professional institutions are not to blame entirely. Unlike many advanced economies where professional certification is a legal requirement for construction jobs, it is not so in many developing countries.”
Thus, anybody can work in construction.
This has led to the weakening of professional development, making it difficult for professional institutions to exert control over training and certification as well as the development and maintenance of professional standards.
Dogbegah recommended need to look at how legislation can strengthen professional institutional development with ramifications for infrastructure project delivery.
He called for more collaboration in professional development between African professional institutions and their counterparts in developed countries.
Citing RICS collaboration with the Surveying bodies in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, Dogbegah asked that, this must not only be seen to be an opportunity to liberalise the surveying profession but an avenue for knowledge sharing and capacity development.
By Joshua W. Amlanu