Tuesday, 23 September 2003 02:00

The good and bad of African ventures

 Arrogant attitudes and short-term thinking" by some South African building contractors threaten the future acceptance of local contractors in the rest of Africa.

A Cape Town trade mission to Angola has found that there are massive opportunities for local companies in the construction and manufacturing business.

 

Construction IndustryAngola's economy has been destroyed by civil war for over than two decades and now is in a re-building phase.

 

Chris Nissen, president of the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led the delegation of businessmen.

 

"The mission found that the urgent need was for houses, clinics and schools ... and this has opened up opportunities for local builders as well as suppliers of products like paint and building materials." 

 

Angola, which uses the US dollar in most of its business transactions, was concentrating on rebuilding the country's infrastructure, Nissen said.

 

"The delegates are planning more trips to forge partnerships and joint ventures with Angolan firms," he said.

 

Interest in Angola was confirmed by a chamber waiting list of some 20 delegates interested in follow-up trade missions. - 

 

The family-owned Barrow Construction this year celebrates its 106th anniversary.

 

Construction IndustryThe catchphrase "Barrow-built" still counts, and the fifth generation of Barrows - John, Colin, Donald and Paul - are at the helm of the company.

 

Barrow's contracting order book has been healthy of late, including the head offices for Assore and Roche, a motor showroom for Edge Properties in Bryanston, and premises for the SA Blood Transfusion Service in Constantia Kloof.

 

John Barrow says the company is well positioned for on-going growth with focus on medium- to large-scale commercial and residential developments, either independently or as joint ventures.

 

Barrow Construction offers a full spectrum of services: land acquisition, assembly and rezoning, site development, construction and management, as well as project management and provision of a range of property, financial and commercial expertise.

 

Barrow Properties owns and manages office buildings on a long-term basis and various property development companies within the group undertake speculative property developments that are either sold or leased.

 

Barrow Properties had a good 2002, continuing with the R100-million Pinewood office park and Pinewood Square sectional title office development in Woodmead, the R150-million Thornhill office Park in Midrand and the upmarket Parc Nicol development in William Nicol Drive.

 

Barrow Flooring secured contracts for Nedcor, De Beers and Ericsson, while another subsidiary, Gauteng Piling, secured business in Angola and Botswana, begging the question whether Barrow intends expanding beyond its traditional Gauteng base.

 

"We have no aspirations to move outside Gauteng with contracting and property development operations, though the flooring and piling operations must necessarily go further afield," John Barrow said.

 

Barrow expects to build on the strength of its integrated offering this year. New contracts, refurbishments and securitisation of spec developments will mark major trends.

 

Monday, 14 October 2002 10:01

Consultancy deals blossom in Africa.

South African companies are well-positioned to capitalise on consultancy opportunities in Africa, but they should transfer skills when they win the contract, writes columnist Andrew Maggs.

Tuesday, 07 August 2001 03:01

Investment in Africa dips

 

A 50% DROP in foreign direct investment in Africa's main recipients SA, Angola and Morocco was the main reason for the 13% drop in foreign direct investment inflows into Africa last year, with the continent now accounting for less than 1% of global flows.

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