Now is the time to invest in infrastructure projects to ensure that the industry does not hit a lull when the economy fully reopens after the lockdown regulations are lifted, urges multinational engineering firm Aecom client and government sector Africa director Fadzai Nyamasve.
“The industry cannot afford to wait for the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to subside. The groundwork for projects needs to start now through collaboration of government and industry.”
She stresses that prioritising investment in infrastructure is key to boosting the economy of South Africa after Covid-19.
She tells Engineering News that this important message is being relayed in Aecom’s third annual global report, titled ‘The Future of Infrastructure: Creating Opportunity for Everyone’.
The report, released in May, illustrates the essential role that infrastructure plays in addressing society’s most complex challenges through critical themes such as economic stimulus, funding, social value, innovation, resilience, climate change, sustainability and adapting to a post-pandemic world.
In response to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, Aecom’s experts shared insights on how, firstly, to achieve the immediate recovery needs of communities seeking safe and efficient ways of returning to work and school, as well as the resumption of travel and delivery of improved healthcare systems.
She enthuses that South Africa has heeded the call for economic stimulus following recent infrastructure investment announcements. The call now is to let these announcements come to fruition and minimise the impacts of the pandemic with a focus on funding according to the country’s needs.
In South Africa, the majority of newer projects introduced span across the infrastructure spectrum, mainly in human settlements, education, energy and transportation.
She points out that Aecom can incorporate a full asset life-cycle approach to each of these sectors, that balances shovel-ready projects with more strategic priorities across the infrastructure spectrum.
Aecom’s involvement in digital technology solutions, such as digital engineering and modelling, enables clients to share, assess and review a current design simultaneously in real time.
Using three-dimensional modelling software, as well as other software platforms that enhance collaboration and allow for faster sign-off on projects, the company created a proprietary process, OneDesign, which not only saves clients time and money but has also become a critical remote working tool.
Meanwhile, Nyamasve says Aecom, as a global company, has been able to help contribute to combating the Covid-19 pandemic through building not only temporary hospitals and medical facilities in other parts of the globe but also using the cloud technologies as a platform to keep civil infrastructure projects moving.
She concludes that investment in infrastructure will be key to economic recovery for South Africa and globally.