SOGEA-SATOM, that has been over 80 years in Africa is the main road constructor in Equatorial Guinea having a relation with the government based in trust and mutual understanding
You have been recently appointed as new Director General for SOGEA-SATOM EG, please tell us about your past experience and what is the direction and philosophy you are bringing to Equatorial Guinea.
Previously I was in charge of the Eastern Africa sector of SOGEA-SATOM. I would like to pursue the project of our company in Equatorial Guinea with the same philosophy as my predecessor, supporting the development of infrastructures in Equatorial Guinea by contributing with our know-how and our concern for quality.
After 46 years of independence, Equatorial Guinea is experiencing the most prosperous moment of its history. By maintaining peace and political stability the country is an example of good governance in Africa. What are the challenges EG has still to face to become a developed country by 2020, especially in infrastructure?
For someone who is newly arrived like me, I can say that the work that has been done is impressive. The quality of the road network (highways, roads) as well as the works in civil engineering and in the buildings is astounding. In my opinion, the country is moving towards the right direction and I think it is necessary to continue the efforts to urbanize the different cities of the country that have already started.
SOGEA-SATOM has been in Africa for over 80 years, it is present in over 20 countries in the continent and it is the oldest company of its category in EG. You set a standard that everyone must comply with. You helped to put up roads in the villages and took part in the construction of a number of national roads. Which is the special asset that has made this company so successful throughout the years?
I believe that our main advantage is the quality and the knowledge of Africa of our senior staff. In fact, this is a mix of local managers, African expats and European expats who, proud of the values of our company, perform achievements every day to build the future of the continent.
You are the main road constructor in this country, you have given this nation the means for development and they have given you the chance and trust to do so. How does the partnership with the Government work in Equatorial Guinea?
For SOGEA-SATOM this partnership is a big success. We work steadily for the development of the country in an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding with the government.
Being SOGEA-SATOM part of the Vinci Group, how are you aligned with the Vinci Group’s global strategy and taking advantage of the synergies?
SOGEA-SATOM is the spearhead of the development of Vinci in Africa, which is one of the priorities of the group. The Vinci Group covers the ensemble of activities in the public building and works sectors, so we can get support from the leading companies of each of these activities in case we need it.
As H.E. President Obiang said "a country needs the divulgation of its image and of what is being done here”. What does Equatorial Guinea need to do to change the misconception the international audience has of it?
I think it should continue with the work it has already begun, which is to inform and show the big successes of the country to the rest of the world. All the visitors I have encountered are extremely impressed by the developments of these last years.
You are in the spotlight of the development, helping the country become an emerging economy. How would you like to be remembered in ten years?
Most humbly as a participant who has contributed to ease the movement of the population through quality infrastructure that lasts throughout time.
What would you say are the competitive advantages of SOGEA-SATOM?
I would cite 2 I have already mentioned. The first one is the technical expertise of the Vinci Group in the ensemble of activities in the public building and works sector. The second one would be the knowledge and the experience of SOGEA-SATOM after 80 years in Africa.
SOGEA-SATOM brands itself as a responsible company that is building Africa’s future, and this really means changing the face of a continent, which can have serious consequences, for example in water systems, if not done properly. How are you making sure to keep a sustainable growth and an environment friendly programme?
Our company has made the respect for the environment a priority. SOGEA-SATOM has made the step for a triple QHSE certification. SOGEA-SATOM has just obtained the OHSAS 18001 certification (Security and Health at work) and by the end of the year we should have the ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (respect for the environment) certifications.
CSR is big for SOGEA-SATOM, and you have the ISSA projects. What sort of programmes do you have in Equatorial Guinea to give something back to the local communities?
There are plenty. In each of our projects we work with the local authorities to contribute with a supplementary gain, it is a philosophy and I think it is one of the keys of our success.