LONDON, Aug. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Bechtel has completed its decade-long master planning and construction partnership with the Government of Gabon, together creating a roadmap to prosperity and building key sustainable infrastructure projects that will transform people’s lives and enhance the economy. In 2020, hundreds of thousands more people in the Central African nation now have access to better healthcare, schools and education facilities, affordable energy, and digital connectivity.
The many social and economic success stories during the partnership, including:
- Road, rail, airport and port improvements that have supported a trebling of exports in the decade to 2020, and a 60% increase in foreign direct investment;
- Backing the government’s major healthcare reform with four new hospitals, a five-fold increase in hospital beds, a world-leading research center and upgrades to 27 healthcare facilities country wide;
- Supporting the government’s goal for universal access to education with 17 new schools, more than 600 classrooms serving an additional 15,000 children, and in 2020, the launch of a plan to deliver 400 additional classrooms;
- Expanding digital participation and inclusion with the installation of the Africa Coast to Europe submarine optical fiber and a network of over 2,000km cables – more than three quarters of Gabon’s population are now accessing broadband internet;
- Providing reliable, clean energy for 64,000 additional homes, from a new hydro-electric dam and gas-powered facility, with plans in place for five further power facilities by 2025;
- Dozens of social impact projects – housing, solar lighting, flood mitigation, and providing clean drinking water – to communities around the country.
Landmark projects have included the infrastructure needed to host the 2012 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations; the Schweitzer medical center with world-class research in tropical and other diseases; and an innovative urban planning tool to tackle the pressures of urbanization.
Bogdan Sgarcitu, Bechtel’s project director in Gabon from 2016 to 2020 said:
«The Government of Gabon shares our passion for sustainable infrastructure that has a transformational impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. From the very start, we planned to employ and procure locally and build in a way that protects resources and biodiversity. Where there were skills gaps, we supported local people and supply chains to develop home-grown content. We are incredibly proud to handover the infrastructure masterplan to a new generation of talented Gabonese engineers, project managers and construction professionals.»
The partnership began when Bechtel was invited to support a national infrastructure master plan for Gabon’s infrastructure priorities and the country’s first public-works agency l’Agence Nationale des Grands Travaux d’Infrastructures (ANGTI) to deliver a pipeline of priority infrastructure projects to serve the nation’s approximately 2.1 million people. Key to the long-term success of the plan was enhancing the Gabonese skill base in construction standards of safety, quality, and project implementation – over the ten-year period, the proportion of ANGTI staff working across housing, education, transport and energy, rose from just over 55% to more than 90%.
Gabon’s Minister for Infrastructure, Leon Armel BOUNDA BALONZI said:
«We are tremendously proud of our 10-year partnership with Bechtel that has made a profound contribution to the construction and development of Gabon.
«The highest authorities of Gabon, the President of the Republic, Head of State, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, have been impressed by Bechtel’s undivided attention to implementing the masterplan, which has delivered great benefits for the people of Gabon. These include strengthening the capacity of the Gabonese project workers; helping us accelerate and deliver our Head of State’s priority large infrastructure projects; improving the culture of ethics and standards in the management of projects; and helping us find funding for projects that would return an immediate and considerable economic, social, cultural and environmental impact.
«On behalf of the Gabonese Government and myself, I would like to offer our warmest appreciation for and pay tribute to the remarkable work done and for Bechtel’s forthright collaboration and look forward to continuing to drive the plan forward.»
For the duration of the partnership, the team has volunteered with respected NGO Engineers without Borders in Gabon, with a focus on flood prevention projects and emergency engineering support. Bechtel also expanded its international partnership with Junior Achievement® to include a new entrepreneurship in business skills training program for hundreds of young people living in Gabon.
Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world’s infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.
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