The African Building Platform



Abel Gebreananya
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The construction Industry in Africa is the second largest industry while being the fastest growing as the continent is building the infrastructure it desperately lacks. According to Deloitte report published on June 2019, 452 projects broke ground that are worth $497bn while the total value of projects increased by 5.6% year-on-year. The East Africa region has the largest number of recorded projects across the continent with 40.3% of projects (182 projects), as well as the largest share of projects in terms of value at 29.5% (US $146bn).

We can say the industry is the backbone of most countries’ economies as thousands of companies generate billions in revenue and is responsible for millions of jobs. So, everything is great right? Actually No!

The industry is also of the most inefficient and corrupt if not the most. Delays and over budget ravage private and government funded projects. Billions is lost each year to these problems. If We just take the Ethiopia, In March 2019 The Ministry of Finance of the country announced that country has lost some 43 billion Birr (US$1.2bn) in the last ten to 15 years due to delays in development projects and cost overrun (Source:- EPA).

Even though multiple factors can be stated as a cause of the delays and budget overrun, the backward (Paper Based) management dominating this sector takes the lion share. The industry is known to be very slow in adapting modern and technological solution for management of the projects. Even gigantic hydroelectric projects are managed through disintegrated and manual methods putting the huge investments poured into these projects at great risk.

So what role digital management plays in solving these problems? According to Deloitte 2019 report digital integration can reduce engineering hours by 10-30% in the design, financing and management stage of projects. If we take Africa as a target, digital integration will capture of up to US$1.7Bn annually based on productivity improvements if its implemented.

Therefore with a careful study of the problem, observing the opportunity with the willing help of various professionals to understand the core issues and tasks undertaken we were able to come up with the solution, ConDigital.

ConDigital is cloud management platform for construction companies and their project that provides Calculation & Processing, Report Generation, Planning and Evaluation, Progress Tracking, Resource Management, Statistics & Analytics, Schedule Management, Cloud File Storage, and Communication Tools.

These features put ConDigital in place to provide the benefits of Efficient management and boost profitability for the users. Moreover, ConDigital being specifically designed and built for the construction Industry and providing local support puts it in a place.

Started on January 2019 by September of that year, ConDigital was accepted into one of Africa leading technological accelerator program the baobab network receiving financial and technical support.

So now, a project that started between college friends is now a full-fledged service providing company; ConDigital Inc to construction companies across the continent. The company put out announcement for those interested to register free demonstration of the platform using our website and received more than 20 requests in 3 weeks. Starting from October the product team of the company has been providing live demonstration to construction companies in Ethiopia and virtual demonstration to those outside Ethiopia. However, we intent to assign teams in other key countries in the continent in the coming months.

Moreover, the aim of ConDigital is not to solely serve the private sector in the industry. We understand that in Africa the biggest client in the construction industry is the government budgeting billions of dollars annually for its projects.

ConDigital plans to collaborate with the governments in the continent in implementing a nationwide cloud infrastructure to digitally manage projects serving every actor in the projects. The aim is to put a stop in amount of money economies are forced to loose due to delays and corruption. The partnership will not require any payment to come out of these governments in integrating the system instead ConDigital providing the service with cost of operation coming from the private sector that receives contracts for these projects.

Projects done efficiently with construction companies profiting more and the people accessing the infrastructure sooner than later is the future.

I believe we can all agree it’s time for the construction industry to say good bye to paper and pen management that is causing huge problems therefore embrace digital integration and we at ConDigital want to be at the forefront of that change.

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© July, 2024 Ketema Journal

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