Experts and stakeholders in the project management ecosystem have called for diversity, inclusion and collaboration to deepen Africa’s economic growth and boost the continent’s sustainable future.
This was stated at the 3-day Project Management Institute (PMI) Africa Conference 2022, themed, ‘Connecting ideas, Peoples and Projects’. The conference included roundtable dialogues, exhibition visits, networking opportunities and panelists’ sessions that discussed front-burner issues and challenges in project management across Africa.
Participants pointed out that the government has a role to play in deepening collaboration for a sustainable future across Africa. Similarly, they agreed that successes recorded by private companies in project management, will equally improve the country’s economy. Hence, the government should be inclusive in the process of making legislation by adopting collaborative approaches with stakeholders, including the community where projects are domiciled.
Panelists also said that influencing government policy, personal development, and citizen education are great goals toward a better project economy in Africa.
“Countries, companies and communities who succeed do so by applying the practice of project management. In the new normal, when the resources are stretched, project management becomes even more critical to maximise return on investment and deliver results,” George Asamani, MD, Sub-Saharan Africa, PMI, host of the conference said in his opening remarks.
The conference, hosted annually by PMI, gave insights into delivering exceptional projects for business transformation and Africa’s development. Taopheek Babayeju, CEO iCentra, while speaking on the theme ‘Achieving Organizational Strategic Objectives Through Project Portfolio Management (PPM)’, identified bad execution as a leading cause of failure of many organisations and projects.
“At the project level, all you try to do is to do the work right. Ensure that timelines are followed, and the costs are controlled. At the portfolio level, what organisations do to succeed is to do the right work by selecting their priorities. This is where organisations fail. No organisation has infinite resources. You are always struggling with what is right; what is going to align with the strategic objectives of that organisation,” he said.
Paul Omugbe, president, PMI Nigeria chapter and business director, Astridia Global, reiterated the importance of agility in a dynamic and volatile work environment. “As a project manager, you have to be able to deal with the changes both outside and within the project that you are working on. You have to be able to adapt to change in your environment”.
Ella Naiman, partner, Empower and co-founder, Generation Empower and President PMI Tanzania chapter, observed that the current world of work is complex and diverse. According to her, organisations need to be more inclusive, acquire people skills and manage varied perspectives.
“To have a diverse team means more innovation and creativity, setting the stage for many more interesting changes. However, the challenge on the flip side is that we have these different perspectives that sometimes can cause tension. In terms of my experience, it is really about understanding and hearing different views, adapting and learning how to integrate,” Naiman said.