Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for FDH Financial Holdings Limited, William Mpinganjira, has challenged Quantity Surveyors to remain relevant to able to contribute towards the realization of Malawi 2063 aspirations of transforming into an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country within the next 40 years.
Mpinganjira made the call in his keynote address at the African Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS) conference in Salima titled “The Bank as a Catalyst for Construction Development towards Malawi Agenda 2063”.
“This is a task that will need well-qualified and experienced quantity surveyors to be at their optimal to significantly play an advisory role in both public sector and private sector infrastructure construction and development projects to not only save billions of kwacha but also to take ownership of the whole project cycle and infuse the modern principles of design and sustainability. This will ensure that the structures erected are future-ready and resilient. We are therefore challenged to fully understand what is happening globally for us to implement relevant and practical solutions locally.
“In operationalizing Malawi Agenda 2063, our frame of mind should be aligned and informed by the global goals that aim to reduce poverty and create a sustainable environment popularly referred to as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal nine that seeks to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation and Goal 11 that aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and of course we also have to look at the African Union’s Agenda 2063. According to the UN, by 2030, the global demand for efficient buildings will present an investment opportunity worth over $24.7 trillion across all emerging market cities.” he said.
Mpinganjira therefore said “ that for Quantity Surveyors to remain relevant in operating environment characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) and exploit this huge opportunity need to build a strong professional skills set that in addition to intelligence, vision, emotional and experience quotients, should include digital quotient, or skills. This includes embracing emerging technologies such as machine learning, drones, and blockchain. These technologies will help quantity surveyors work more efficiently, provide better insights and analysis, and ultimately drive down cost and improve project outcomes. Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms can be used to analyse large volumes of project data to identify trends and patterns, helping quantity surveyors predict project outcomes, including cost and schedule overruns.”
He therefore took an opportunity to encourage the construction sector to work with the Banks to help in achieving the three pillars of the Malawi 2063 which are Agriculture productivity and Comercialisation, Industrialisation, and Urbanisation, arguing its success depends on the efforts by different players.
“Performance of the sector however has been supported mostly by government infrastructure projects some notable ones being the current six-lane road in the Capital City and the Kanengo-Crossroads dual carriage road, the Griffin Sayenda National Indoor Sports Complex and the Aquatic Complex that hosted the Regional Five Games in December 2022. In addition to supporting the government projects, the construction sector should also actively support private sector projects and specifically align itself to the Agenda 2063 so that both government and private sector work together to achieve the Agenda.
“As FDH Bank, we are committed to the Agenda and our main role is to provide financial solutions that enable the implementation of the Agenda. We have been specifically targeting the sectors that are directly falling under the three pillars and also the sectors that are indirectly contributing towards the three pillars.
“For example, we have granted a multi-million dollar facilities to some of our customers and there are many more projects that we are willing to fund to support the country’s growth agenda especially in the construction industry.
“I believe that the construction industry is certainly a catalyst for industrialization as well as urbanization. A review of the statistics for the last five years shows very strong correlations between the Construction sector and the manufacturing and real estate sectors which supports this assertion. It is also impressive to note that only 55% of the sectors have consistently recorded positive growth in the last five years and the construction sector is among those,” Mpinganjira explained further.
On how the construction industry and Quantity Surveyors can access the Bank financing, the group CEO said: “FDH Bank offers a wide range of financial and banking solutions that include transaction advisory services, lending solutions, deposit and investment solutions, digital and payment solutions, and trade finance solutions.
“Our trade finance solutions are specially tailored around customers in the construction industry, these include bid bonds which are offered without the need for collateral, performance guarantees, advance payment guarantees, retention money guarantees, payment guarantees, shipping guarantees, and customs guarantees. These are offered on both local and international contracts and are tailored to suit the specific circumstances of the client,” said Mpinganjira.
The bank also offers import letters of credit which are a very safe and secure way of importation of high-value goods, knowing that the country imports a substantially good bulk of the materials to be used for the construction according to Mpinganjira.
Mpinganjira challenged the quantity surveyors to form partnerships in order to bid for large and development projects that can have a significant impact on the Agenda 2063.
Some of the notable faces that attended the conference include Minister of Tourism, Vera Kamtukule, Principal Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Hastings Chiudzu and President of the African Association of Quantity Surveyors, Obafemi Onashile and (AAQS).