Africa Outlook talks to Tim Stow, GM of Stefanutti Stocks Botswana, the main contractor on Botswana's groundbreaking Fairscape project.
South African construction giant Stefanutti Stocks is seeking to grow its activities outside of its home market due to inadequate growth opportunities, CEO Willie Meyburgh recently told reporters.
He said there was "no option".
"There are not many large projects on the [South African] market. Those projects just aren't around anymore. That is why we are looking at opportunities outside our country. We have no option," he said.
The Stefanutti Stocks Group is one of South Africa's leading listed construction groups and has the capability to deliver a range of projects of any scale to a multitude of clients in diverse markets.
It operates across all provinces of South Africa and has established a presence in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"Stefanutti Stocks is one of Botswana's leading building contractors and we have completed a number of very large government contracts," says Tim Stow, GM. "We're a strong proponent of the PPP procurement route and we have extensive experience, undertaking a variety of projects for both private and public sector clients in Botswana. For example, we completed the remote Maun Hospital and we have completed numerous retail and leisure facilities."
The firm is currently busy working on Botswana Development Corporation's (BDC) Fairscape Precinct project, a multi-million Pula property development in Gaborone's fairgrounds area, which is expected to add an alternative offering to several mixed use properties now established in the city. It is set to be completed next year. Steffanutti Stocks is the main contractor.
"The development is the first of its kind and will bring a modern and high class working and living environment into the country," says Stow.
Fairscape, he explains, will have over 18,000 square metres of office space and 4,000 square metres of retail space - comprising of upmarket restaurants, coffee bars, boutiques and craft shops- while phase two of the project will include 13,000 square metres of both office and retail space and three level basement parking.
"It is what's called a mixed use development - meaning you can work, play and relax all in the same place. It'll have offices; shopping, with high-end shops; and there will be leisure facilities. It's different to anything else locally."
Fairgrounds is Botswana's fast growing financial hub, boasting local and international companies.
Stow describes the location as "strategic".
It is around three kilometres from the Gaborone CBD.
"Fairscape will incorporate modern green building techniques and we're seeking green building status. It will be modern, environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The project includes a 15-floor tower building with penthouses on the upper floors, retail on the lower ones and four other buildings consisting of office and leisure space."
Stow says phase one of the project will be completed by the second quarter 2014.
"That's the target and it is on track. We're working very closely with Botswana Development Corporation on this."
He described the project as "important" to Botswana's future.
"It'll be a catalyst. In the future the aim is for it to be the main centre of the financial hub. It is also an icon not only for Botswana but the southern hemisphere."
Botswana is a principal market for Stefanutti Stocks and the multi-disciplinary construction group is eyeing opportunities in its burgeoning mining sector.
"Botswana is one of our longstanding markets and it is important for us as a group to remain here and be successful," says Stow. "In terms of opportunities, both the private sector and government has slowed down a bit. The mining sector is something that we traditionally haven't really looked at but of course now we are looking at it a lot more seriously. Mining is a growth industry in Botswana and we have seen that is where we have to go. There is not enough work in our traditional market. The private sector is slowing down and government is slowing down.
There isn't enough work there to sustain us and all the other contractors in the country. There are a lot of Chinese contractors here, our main opposition – and they're very price competitive. We're keen to get more involved in mining."
Mining is a market that traditionally – within Botswana at least - Stefanutti Stocks has not worked in. But the group has vast experience in this arena.
"As group we have a track record in working with the mines. We'll be drawing on that experience. Anything we do outside of building we will call on our sister company in South Africa to assist us."
Projects like Fairscape are a fantastic showcase of African ingenuity, ambition and the continent's potential.
The secret to working on projects like it is "delivering on time and on budget", says Stow.
To learn more visit www.stefanuttistocks.com.
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