Pioneering a new model for national infrastructure in Gabon

27 March 2012

Gabon Infrastructure PlansBechtel and the government of Gabon developed and are delivering a groundbreaking $25 billion National Infrastructure Master Plan (NIMP) that will enable the country to modernize the national workforce, expand access to social development, and advance connectivity within the country, across Africa, and with the rest of the world.

Building institutional capacity

The success of the infrastructure initiative rests in large measure on project management and accountability. Bechtel helped organize and currently manages l'Agence Nationale des Grands Travaux (ANGT), a government agency that oversees the execution and delivery of NIMP. ANGT coordinates work with various ministries and government agencies, monitors progress, incorporates new execution tools and processes, and engages local communities about NIMPs progress.

The agency translated NIMP's vision into a detailed implementation plan sequenced over 15 years. It also helps local businesses participate in the tendering process and has created and introduced minimum requirements for contracting Gabonese businesses. In 2013,the government invested nearly $400 million in NIMP's execution, with two-thirds of the work undertaken by Gabonese companies.

To prepare the local construction environment for the 21st century, we are advancing the competencies of all workers in Gabon to implement and maintain international standards for quality, ethics, and safety.

To date, 38 contractors have completed 210 courses, including site setup, site plant and vehicle maintenance, proper use of personal protective equipment, and how to conduct environmental risk assessments. We will deliver more than 50 additional courses in 2014 to teach contractors our core environmental, safety, and health processes, helping to create a local construction workforce capable of performing to international standards.

ANGT is attracting attention in the rest of Africa—and around the world—as a promising model for national infrastructure development. One of the biggest challenges we faced was striking the right balance between prioritizing long-term plans and current needs. By conducting comprehensive feasibility studies across the country, we provided the government with a wealth of detailed technical, social, and financial data to enable government authorities to make informed decisions about designing, planning, and informing project priorities. 

This approach has not only generated critical information for future developments, but it also put in place a benchmark for how to plan future projects.