The continent of Africa offers many new opportunities for innovation and growth. Its population is one of the youngest and fastest-growing in the world, and is becoming increasingly urban and energy-hungry. The International Energy Authority is predicting Africa will become 'a major player in natural gas as a producer, consumer and exporter’. It’s also ripe for renewables, especially solar power, which could bring reliable supply to areas struggling with the offering from conventional grids.
The impact of the pandemic has not halted LR’s drive to reinforce its ties with Africa, led by the enthusiastic Goz Gwam, Business Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. The highly motivated UK-trained shipping and energy expert, who spent five years working in various assurance roles in Aberdeen, Scotland, is now pioneering LR’s initiatives across the continent.
Gwam is particularly proud of LR's new partnership with Chevening, the UK Government’s international awards programme. Funded by the country’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Chevening offers awards for scholarships and fellowships to applicants selected by British Embassies and High Commissions across the world.
LR has become a Chevening partner and is funding two scholarship places for applicants from Nigeria and Mozambique. The initiative, Gwam explains, is a clear sign of the LR’s commitment to human capital in Africa’s maritime and energy sectors, assured to LR’s global standards. For this, he says, the educational development of the continent’s human resources is pivotal.
“It’s a clear indication of the importance we attach to investment in human capital and the transfer of skills across our fields of expertise. Human resource development has always a key component in our DNA and that is particularly relevant here in Africa where our experience is unbeatable. Our ties with the continent go back many generations.”
Speaking as LR’s support for the Chevening Awards was announced, LR’s Marine & Offshore President for South Asia Middle East and Africa, Mike Holliday, said: “Lloyd’s Register is proud to become a Chevening partner. We look forward to connecting with the brightest and best from Mozambique and Nigeria, providing educational opportunities for tomorrow’s changemakers so we can drive sustainable change with the marine and offshore industries.”
Gwam believes that in a counter-intuitive way, COVID-19 has generated a whole range of new opportunities in African shipping and energy classification and assurance, as a result of rapid technology developments, particularly in communications. He cites remote surveys as an example. And in Africa, this new approach to asset assurance offers great potential.
Using the latest connectivity technology, assets on land and sea can be surveyed remotely, with LR experts fully engaged, but sitting in Lagos or Maputo, or in London or Singapore, for that matter. Drones can be deployed on aerial and subsea surveys, pipeline inspections, and even hard-to-access internal spaces. Connectivity advances also provide new opportunities in continuous professional development and, in a wider context, in education and career development across the continent generally.
Gwam firmly believes that LR is poised to embark on a new phase of African business development in sectors including energy, national and commercial fleet development, ship management, shipbuilding and repair. Central to all of these opportunities will be LR’s top business drivers – decarbonisation and sustainable development will be core elements of the activities, he says.
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Keeping verification on-track during COVID-19.
Remote survey used for routine testing onboard Hebron, operated by ExxonMobil Canada Properties.