Partnerships and projects in Africa – forging a new project paradigm
If the oft-touted dream of an African Renaissance is to be realized, then the many associated development opportunities that can be identified with this vision in and for Africa must be translated into realizable and achievable development activities.
The implementation of projects in the developing world, including Africa, faces many difficulties. One of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of projects in this environment, is the ability to finance and sustain the project. Budget resources (including aid funding) of government, semi-government and even private sector organisations are very stretched, with many conflicting demands. Even where the merits of the project are undeniable, there is often simply a lack of resources to bring them to proper formulation, let alone fruition.
These constraints and problems are not going to go away in the foreseeable future. For countries and organisations to grow their infrastructure and capabilities, and for companies to grow their business in the developing world environment, alternative approaches must be therefore be considered, to overcome these hurdles – new project implementation paradigms are required. In addition, it can be noted that as the use of this methodology increases in various countries, companies are also going to be forced to adapt to the revised paradigms.
It is important to understand the implications of this for various project sectors, including technology-based projects. By technology-based projects we refer to the “empowering” technologies, such as for example, IT, telecommunications, power and energy, petrochemical industry etc.
In the transport infrastructure environment, for example, project alternatives have been recognised and used for some time. However, in the technology-based environment, the possibilities have tended to be less-well exploited, particularly in Africa, where there has traditionally been more of an initial focus on applying these alternatives to the provision of basic infrastructure rather than technology-based infrastructure. Independent power producer (IPP) projects, particularly in the renewables sector, are a notable exception and an excellent impetus in adopting alternative project paradigms.
Technology-based projects such as telecommunications systems, IT systems, power generation, transmission and distribution, and other energy (including petrochemical) projects are just as “infrastructural” in nature as roads, railways and bridges, and have a direct and empowering impact on the ability of a country to be productive, grow their economy and become internationally competitive.
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