With a deep knowledge of the African market and commitment to improving and diversifying its services, civil engineering and construction group Mota-Engil is expanding its presence and offering on the continent.

The company is preparing to increase its focus on services including logistics, industry and environment, as well as waste collection, street cleaning and other services in urban areas, with a view to further strengthening its position in local markets.

Mota-Engil Africa, a subsidiary of the Portuguese parent company, has a presence in 10 African nations: namely Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Ghana, São Tomé and Príncipe, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, it is a leading provider of integrated engineering and construction services and a wide range of other utilities across Sub-Saharan Africa, where it employs some 14,600 people, and reported revenue of €1 billion in 2013.

Entering Angola

The global Mota-Engil Group has roots in Portugal and Angola dating back to 1946, when founder Manuel António da Mota opened twin branches of construction company Mota and Companhia in both countries. Since then, it has strongly supported the Angolan infrastructure development process while expanding into other Portuguese-speaking African countries.

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In 2000, Mota acquired Engil SGPS, creating Mota-Engil. The company then implemented a significant programme of investment in equipment, premises and talented young staff, and has become a truly global Group, operating in Europe, America and Africa, and comprising 214 companies. 

Angola has remained a key location for the African subsidiary, where, as Mota-Engil Angola SA, it has become one of the largest construction firms. Its long history of successful project deliveries in the nation dates back to the construction of the Luanda International Airport in 1952.

The capital has also been the location for two of Mota-Engil’s most high-profile projects in Angola, where its work on the rehabilitation of the Luanda Bay and construction of the Towers of Luanda earned it an outstanding reputation.

SADC

Including Angola, Mota-Engils’ African growth strategy is centred on the SADC region. Here, the company has also conducted extensive works in Mozambique, including a bridge over the Zambezi River, refurbishment of the Milange to Mocuba road and, more recently, the Nacala Corridor project to construct a new railway line connecting the Moatize Mine to the Port of Nacala, through Malawi.

Malawi has recently been the location of works for the mining sector, adding to the Group’s portfolio of road infrastructure projects in the country. It is also currently building a railway for the large mining company Vale SA, making Mota-Engil the first European company to build a rail line on the continent in 60 years.

This development is set to impact hugely on the prosperity of the nation by decreasing the cost of living and greatly boosting the economy; a fact that Mota-Engil takes great pride in.

Malawi is also the scene of one of the company’s most important CSR schemes, where it is currently converting the Chauncy Maples, Africa’s oldest ship, into a mobile clinic to provide anti-Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS services while also offering maternity care. This is but one example of Mota-Engil Africa’s comprehensive social improvement projects, conducted through its Fundação Manual António da Mota charity arm.

In Zambia, the company was recently awarded the contract to refurbish the important Great East Road connecting the country to Malawi, a project that will create 1,000 jobs for locals.

East and West

The West is an area where the ambitious Group has seen recent expansion. Having formerly operated solely in the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, where it focuses on civil construction and public works, it last year entered Ghana, after being awarded a contract to protect a 200 kilometre stretch of coastline in the capital, Accra.

The most recent geographical move for Mota-Engil Africa saw a push into the East, where it entered Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. With these nations enjoying strong oil and gas resources, they will be future focus areas and ones where the Group sees considerable growth potential as it pursues a policy of entering countries with GDP growth above six percent.

With an already-impressive portfolio of projects, a long-term strategic outlook and an expanded horizon for work, Mota-Engil is looking forward to an even more successful future in Africa. To this end, its strategy is to develop partnerships to enable diverse infrastructure projects in transport and logistics, energy, oil and gas, and environmental.

As it does, it will remain true to its values of developing bespoke projects for clients and commitment to elevating the African continent to its full economic potential with the quality infrastructure it deserves.

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