Knight Piésold Focused on Africa's Infrastructure Development

Knight Piésold Focused on Africa's Infrastructure Development

Publication: Sunday Times - Infrastructure 2021
Issue: June 28, 2021

Consulting engineering firm Knight Piésold continues to entrench its footprint in Africa and invest in local skills and expertise to support the growth of infrastructure development in the countries in which it operates.

From its humble beginnings in South Africa on 1 April 1921, Knight Piésold has established and grown its local operations within Southern Africa, through its offices in Namibia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Madagascar, Swaziland, Mauritius and South Africa.

Vishal Haripersad, regional manager for Knight Piésold in Southern Africa, explains that operations across Africa were staffed by locals in the country, and supported by the collective skills, knowledge, and expertise of both its Southern African and global teams.

“This has happened without Knight Piésold losing its unique culture, identity and heritage; and without needing to be acquired by a global company to grow and expand. In fact, through organic growth and expansion, Knight Piésold has grown into a truly international organisation, with offices in Australia, North and South America, the United Kingdom and throughout Africa.

“While we are supported by a global workforce, our on-the-ground talent is sourced locally. Africa has a young, enthusiastic and competent population who should be included on this growth journey. We remain committed to being strategic partners in the countries in which we have a footprint, and also being able to contribute to growth by providing much needed employment opportunities using the local talent pool.”

Further, the median population for Africa, he explains, is projected to reach 1.68 billion by 2030, which presents significant opportunities for the public and private sectors to help shape the continent for growth across various industries.

Haripersad believes that there is tremendous opportunity for social development and economic growth in Africa, which will be driven by the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. He says population growth would directly increase the rate of urbanisation, as well as the need for electricity, water, houses, roads, and other much-needed infrastructure.

“There is no question that despite the challenges across the continent, the opportunities that present themselves are significant. For example, as the demand for electricity grows, we are already seeing the rise of energy projects in Africa. The power pool is changing and growing, and although there are challenges with electricity provision up into the continent, there are developments under way to change this.”

He says while the company’s strength lies in its ability to call on an enviable track record of delivering large infrastructure and mining projects throughout Africa, it believes that through the divisionalisation of its business it is better geared to partner with clients to a more focused and efficient service.

This is evidenced through its recent and current involvement on several mega projects throughout Africa, which include Knight Piésold being part of the consortium involved in the design and supervision of the construction of both the Katse and Mohale dams, forming a key part of Phase 1 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project located in Lesotho, and part of the team working on key elements of Phase 2 of this project.

In South Africa, Knight Piésold was the lead consultant in the design and construction supervision on the multibillion-rand Western and Northern Aqueduct projects. These are large diameter pipelines necessary to bring potable water to the rapidly developing areas of the eThekwini municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal.

Knight Piésold has also played a key role in both the design and construction supervision of the South Africa-based Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme. This is a critical project for the country, completed under the auspices of state-owned power utility Eskom, entailing the design and construction of dams, roads, tunnels, caverns and all related aspects of the project.

The company was also the lead consultant in the design and construction supervision of the Neckartal Dam project, located in Keetmanshoop in Namibia, which is the largest infrastructure project undertaken in the country.

Through its execution of these and several other projects, as well as others in the pipeline, Knight Piésold has proven its ability to undertake both large mega infrastructure projects, as well as its ability to provide the mining industry with a complete infrastructure offering and deliver on time, on budget and on brief.

“As we look to the future and determine how we position ourselves as a business to play a significant role in facilitating and developing this growth, we have come to realise that for our business to be as successful as possible within the environments in which we operate, we need to adapt and grow.

“With our strong belief in the capacity and capability of African excellence, we are focused on ensuring that we continue to enhance the capacity of our business within Southern Africa, through the continued training and development of local talent.

“We will also continue to look to expand our operations as developmental needs arise, such that we can continue to play a role in the development of local talent,” Haripersad says.


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