EY: 5 priorities of action to sustain African growth

21 October 2014 Consultancy.uk

According to EY, Africa has a promising future ahead, and could continue its growth path of the past 15 years. However, to do so, focus needs to be put on the future rather than on its current success. To achieve a consistent growth path, EY lists five priorities of action.

Professional Services firm EY recently released a new report entitled ‘Africa 2030: Realizing the possibilities’. The report, which builds on the firm’s Africa attractiveness series, argues that a tremendous progress has been made in Africa in the past 15 years. Looking at the Gross domestic product (GDP), the size of the African economy has more than tripled in 13 years, from 613.5 in 2000 to 2,091.4 in 2013, and is expected to grow with another 5% to 2,196.7 by the end of 2014. The biggest part of this growth is realised in Sub-Saharan African (SSA), where the economy is expected to be quadrupled by the end of the year.

“Africa’s rise over the past decade has been very real. While there are still a number of sceptics, we have developed a robust data- and knowledge base to help provide quantitative substance to support the ‘business case’ for Africa; the evidence of Africa’s clear progress is irrefutable,” says Ajen Sita, CEO at EY Africa.

Africa is growing

According to EY, the economic growth and development is expected to continue, and will be driven by the growing levels of income of the burgeoning African middle class, increase in entrepreneurship and the investment in closing the gap in the infrastructure gap. Looking at the expected income levels, EY states that Africa has the potential to emulate Asia’s remarkable growth, and SSA is expected to reach the income level of emerging Asia of today by 2030.

Growth Africa by 2030

EY states that focus should not only be put on the progress made, but more importantly on what it takes to continue on this path. “However, as important as it is to continue to provide evidence of the continent’s progress, it is perhaps more important to shift the focus towards the future of Africa, and what it will take to sustain and accelerate the progress we have seen over the past 15 years,” states Sita. In the EY report, the perspectives of several leaders with interests in Africa on its future and the key drivers of change and critical success are provided. The proliferation of mobile telecommunications is mentioned by many as one of the key factors. The convergence of technologies and the ability for these technologies to drive forward financial inclusion is also mentioned, as well as the efficiency of the government, trading opportunities, and the provision of healthcare and education.

The contributors also list several areas in which progress can still be made to continue and expand Africa’s growth. One of these areas is trade. Africa’s intra-regional trade is still substantially below what can be achieved due to specific legislation and regulations. The barriers of traditional subsistence agriculture are also mentioned, and the need to break down these barriers and the need to create large-scale commercial operations that are capable to meet the production objectives of an emerging continent. Another area of concern is the labour market, even though there is a big availability of future labour forces, there is also the issue of education delivery and the creation of skills that are appropriate for growing economies.

Five key actions
EY concludes its analysis with five priorities for action that it believes to be most critical for Africa to secure a successful future, as this future is not inevitable but at the same time not to be expected to happen overnight. An overview of the priorities:

5 priorities for action

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Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.

Outlook

Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”