Source: eBiz Africa Review
Spanish companies in general are starting to focus on Africa, the continent that offers the most growth opportunities in various sectors, as infrastructure or energy.
Some Spanish companies, however, have been installed in the continent for several decades, as is the case of Eurofinsa, which works essentially in the field of infrastructure, mainly in Public Works where it can intervene in financing, design, construction, equipment, operation and maintenance.
As its Director General, Raphaël Benatar Leitman states that in Africa exists a great need for infrastructure, and the strong growth and development of many countries, the existence of important sources and public and private financing agreements are opening the way. The most common way in Africa is to work under the concept “key in hand” and the highlight sectors are civil works, building, water, health and energy. Civil Works include roads, ports, bridges or airports. The building sector includes social housing, embassies, tertiary or hospitals. Regarding to water, it includes everything that has to do with the complete water cycle, from distribution and supply to WWTP (wastewater treatment plants) or ETAP (potable water treatment stations). In addition, there are many opportunities in the sectors of the future, such as energy, especially renewable energy, where is importan to identify and use new technologies.
At the level of financing, companies such as Eurofinsa, for example, use sources from bilateral agreements between exporting and buying countries and private international financing. It also comes from agreements with multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Union or also the OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) of the United States, among others. Financing agreements from France, the United Kingdom and the United States have been uniting for years now and grow with increasing force to joins to those that already exist nationally and internationally. As a Spanish company, fortunately it has the support of both commercial offices, embassies and other institutions such as the Fund for the Internationalization of Business – FIEM (which offers financing conditions that commercial banks would never give to finance infrastructures), the CESCE (which supports Spanish companies and provides solutions, controlling the percentage of Spanish goods and services that must be in that project) or the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
“Both China and India are very tough competitors that are strongly installed in Africa” says the General Director of the multinational about competitors.
It is also important to associate all projects with corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, although they are already related with an immediate positive impact on the quality of life. “Each project brings with it some actions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and we are proud to belong to the United Nations Global Compact with all that implies,” says Raphaël Benatar Leitman. He adds that perhaps the biggest difference between the multinational he runs and other competitors is in the company’s own motto “building the future”: Eurofinsa remains there to contribute to the economic progress of each country, thinking about the future and in long term. Instead of having a strategy per company, like some competitors, it has one per country, without ceasing to be a Spanish group.
We developed many projects in Africa, with several social actions. For this reason, we wanted to collaborate in Ghana as a result of a water project. An agreement was reached with the NGO «Universal Wonderful Street Academy» to provide the organization with two tankers of drinking water per month, throughout the year 2017, as well as school support. With this we allow children to receive a good education, with material provided by us, and favoring access to water at the same time. We have given, as well, buses to other NGOs for school transport”, he mentions.
“Spanish infrastructure companies are among the best in the world, in professional, experience and knowledge fields. We have to understand is that if the infrastructure sector is already a long-term enterprise, it is even more so in Africa. It is also very important to invest in staff training”, he says.
There will be a massive development of infrastructure in Africa in the coming years and Spanish companies have a lot to contribute. Thus, we must take advantage of the growth that is about to come, with head and patience, choosing well the countries and the projects, concludes Raphaël Benatar Leitman.