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Setraco brings its construction expertise to Equatorial Guinea

Article - September 21, 2012
The country is a leader in roads and bridges in the region and is currently constructing a prime neighborhood in Malabo
NICOLAS KFOURY, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SETRACO EG
After nearly 30 years developing the infrastructure of Nigeria, the Lebanese company Setraco has extended its services to the African coastal country of Equatorial Guinea. Here it is continuing its tradition of, as their mission statement highlights: “anticipating the aspirations of our customers and responding creatively and competitively with modern designed construction techniques and engineering services, which raise the quality of life.”

Setraco did just this in Nigeria, beginning with building townships and district roads, continuing its growth until it became the second-largest company in the country, having a presence in over 20 states.

The corporation is a leader in bridges and roads in the region; including a $100 million road project in 2001 and in 2006 the largest civil construction project in Nigeria, building an east-west highway. 

The affiliate, Setraco Equatorial Guinea (Setraco EG) moved to Equatorial Guinea in 2004. The country is currently going through a boom in almost all sections of its economy, and Setraco EG is contributing to the rapid infrastructure growth throughout the country, building bridges, roads and a neighborhood.

“You can see new construction work in progress everywhere. You can feel that activity is really going on,” says Nicolas Kfoury, Managing Director of Setraco EG, noting the government’s well-organized planning with so many infrastructure programs happening at the same time. These projects form a part of the government’s Horizon 2020 plan for further development in the country.

“We hope to rely more on local skills. We are seriously committed to that and we have training programs for the locals.”

Nicolas Kfoury,
Managing Director of Setraco EG

Just as Setraco has strived to make Nigeria a developed nation, it aims to do so as well in Equatorial Guinea using the technology and know-how acquired during its many years of practice.

“Our competitive advantage is our experience, and we bring this through transfer of technology,” remarks Mr. Kfoury.

The company’s presence began in 2004 after an agreement between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea strengthened their links.

Setraco’s current capital investment in Equatorial Guinea is $7 million which will be used for construction projects.

One of the company’s most prominent projects is the building of the Paradise neighborhood, planned to be a first-rate area in the nation’s capital city of Malabo, located on the northern coast of the Island of Bioko.   

“It is a privilege to be awarded such a project in a neighborhood that is planned to be a prime neighborhood, from what I can see. We are almost 65% done,” explains Mr. Kfoury, highlighting that 85% of the underground piping is finished, leaving 15% to complete before the seasonal rains arrive in the region.

Moreover, Setraco EG is committed to using as much of the local workforce as possible, implementing training programs to help further develop skills needed to complete its projects.

“We have experience in this regard in Nigeria. There is a transfer of knowledge between the people who are given the task and the people who are executing the task,” says Mr. Kfoury. “We hope to rely more on local skills. We are seriously committed to that and we have training programs for the locals.”

The Managing Director adds that some workers are even sent overseas on specific missions such as training in special testing tools. However, helping to develop the local workers is not the only benefit Equatorial Guinea receives from Setraco EG. It also has indirect benefits, such as adding value to the land and the surrounding area where the work is being done. Also, construction foments other components of the economy by buying machinery and building material, such as stones, locally.

This influx of local growth in Equatorial Guinea has been compared to the expansion of other countries such as Singapore and Kuwait in the 1960’s. In fact, the Delegate Minister of Mines has said he can see the country becoming the “Singapore of Africa” or a regional focal point for industrial and commercial activities. 

“Singapore is a kind of regional hub and this country has potential to be one as well. All these investments and infrastructure projects will help to create that,” says Mr. Kfoury, adding that from his expertise, the region is already exploiting its growth potential. “I was pleasantly surprised about the state of things here and it is a conducive area to operate in from what we can see. This place has potential to become a future hub.”

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