Bechtel Infrastructure Plan Transforms Gabon
As an engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government, 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 percent increase in foreign direct investment;
Supporting 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;
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 hand over 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 10-year period, the proportion of ANGTI staff working across housing, education, transport and energy, rose from just over 55 percent to more than 90 percent.
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.”
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.