The South African National Day Expo 2020 in Dubai’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become an eye-opening experience, according to leading South African businessman Collen Mashawana – heading a delegation of Afribiz Invest who joined President Cyril Ramaphosa at the gathering aimed at promoting the country as an investment and trade destination.
Established in 2005, Afribiz Invest is a South African investment company, providing turnkey infrastructure solutions through more than 25 subsidiaries.
In South Africa the company is involved in different mega mixed development projects like the Rama City in the North West of Pretoria and the West Rand Mega Park.
The two projects have a development value of over R30 billion – set to create over 50 000 jobs.
Since expanding to the UAE last year, Afribiz International has partnered with Al Hatmy in Dubai, a design and engineering consultancy firm, which has been in the UAE for the past 40 years.
Afribiz and Al Hatmy will be jointly working together on a multi-billion-dollar airport development project in eastern Europe and in other upcoming infrastructure projects in the east of Africa.
“Afribiz focuses on infrastructure development and it is no doubt that Dubai is the construction and infrastructure development capital of the world,” said Mashawana.
He added: “We are thrilled by what we have seen at the South African National Day Expo 2020 – the amount of innovation and technologies that other countries are deploying to drive their infrastructure programmes.
“Everything here in Dubai is planned and delivered as a mega infrastructure programme that deliver high economic impact.
“In just a period of 50 years, Dubai transformed itself into an international business hub, with a diversified economy, outside the oil industry.
“Whilst we bring our own experience and expertise, we believe being positioned here, places us at the heartbeat of innovation – helping us to become a global player in the infrastructure and construction value chain.
“We want to be counted amongst those who have played a major role in the infrastructure industry.
“At Afribiz Invest, we believe in forging strategic partnerships and collaboration that deliver value.
“We have chosen to partner with Al Hatmy – one of the leading design and engineering consultancy companies, which as been operating in Dubai for in the last four decades – having designed some of the flagship projects here in the UAE and across the world.
“We will be looking across social and economic infrastructure type of sectors in the UAE, with the intention to expand to other continents.
“These will include delivery of public facilities, roads, water, education, health services and enabling services such as ICT.
“We believe in bringing our own wealth of experience and expertise.
“In a practical sense, we are bringing a team of close to 15 engineers across different disciplines.
“Our first project is an airport development in Turkmenistan that we are doing with our local partner.
“For this, we need to bring our own expertise.”
While the Afribiz delegation funded their own trip to the UAE, Mashawana said his team was “grateful for the support we received from our Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation”.
“We were well received by the ambassador, the consul-general and their officials deployed at the SA Pavilion at the Expo 2020,” he said.