FIDIC CEO highlights urgent need for sustainable infrastructure investment

19 March 2024: The CESA Infrastructure Indaba, currently underway in Cape Town, commenced with a profound call to action for sustainable infrastructure investment, emphasising the urgency of addressing global challenges, as articulated by Dr. Nelson Ogunshakin, CEO of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

Dr. Ogunshakin set the tone by stating, “Globally, the engineering sector is witnessing remarkable developments. We are moving towards integrating sustainable and resilient practices into every facet of our projects.” He highlighted the significant insights unveiled in the recent EY FIDIC report, which outlined the Herculean effort required to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“The figures are staggering,” Dr. Ogunshakin continued. “A staggering $139 trillion USD must be directed towards sustainable infrastructure to bridge the gap and reach net zero targets. Current policies will not meet the Paris agreements goal of a 1.5-degree temperature rise. It is estimated that we are currently underinvesting by $64 trillion USD, necessitating a doubling of infrastructure investment by 2030 and continuing this trajectory until 2050.”

He further emphasized the infrastructure investment gap in Africa, with estimates ranging from $68-108 billion USD annually, underscoring the global scale of the challenge ahead.

CESA President David Leukes echoed these sentiments, emphasising the need for collaboration and innovation in engineering a sustainable future. “We must prioritise inclusive infrastructure development that creates opportunities for all,” stated Leukes, citing the high unemployment rate in South Africa and the importance of fostering economic inclusivity and sustainability.

Chris Campbell, CEO of CESA, in his welcome note, also highlighted that infrastructure investment serves as a cornerstone for economic growth and job creation. “Infrastructure investment serves as a cornerstone for economic growth and job creation. Moreover, the importance of public-private partnerships cannot be overstated. Collaboration between sectors is essential for addressing our infrastructure challenges and fostering sustainable growth. Together, we can harness our collective expertise to drive positive change.”

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