Despite the current slowdown in economic growth in South Africa and other countries across the continent, speaking to COVER, Seelan Naidoo, Head of Engineering at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Africa said the construction and engineering sector is likely to see further growth within the medium to long term as the continent continues to develop its infrastructure, which is necessary for the region to compete and grow.
However, for the projects to be successful, Africa needs to increase its energy and water capacity to meet its growing development needs. Ongoing power and water shortages have affected economies – such as South Africa – in a negative way and governments need to work closely with all stakeholders to bring a lasting solution to this.
Naidoo said activities such as the Mega Cities project by the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements is an example of increasing activity within the construction segment. Gautrain is involved in a R3b rolling stock expansion programme, in addition they are busy with a feasibility study, to be completed in 2016, to expand the rail network – it is envisaged this will involve 200 kilometer of additional rail link.
Furthermore, projects in excess of $200b, are also underway in Africa, with China being one of the principal investors in the projects. This increased activity levels could create meaningful job opportunities while benefiting insurers and other business sectors.
He said there is a direct correlation between economic growth and job creation, and the more infrastructure we develop, more jobs are likely to be created. The rapidly growing middle class on the continent could also increase growth.
Allianz is working with industry bodies such as Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA), African Insurance Organisation (AIO), INSETA and others to attract the youth to take up insurance as a career. The insurer also offers technical and expertise training and education to insurance professionals within the African continent to develop and grow the knowledge within the industry.
Allianz is operational in 13 countries and offers its products in 40 countries on the continent through their network partners.
Seelan Naidoo, Head of Engineering at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Africa