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ROBERT BARTILE - VILLASPACE

How did you come into the road industry in East Africa?

 

I am a professional civil engineer with over 26 years’ experience in civil engineering construction and consultancy. I have participated in the
construction of roads as a “Contractor” and later on as “Consultant and Pavement Design Expert” as well as road construction supervision.

 

Currently, I am involved in financing of road projects under the Public-Private Partnership and we participated in “Annuity Road Program”
in Kenya. In this program, our company assists the Lead Consortium by arranging financing for road construction projects.

 

 

What do you believe to be the greatest challenge facing the region that is holding back development (and any ideas how it can be overcome)?

 

  • The first challenge is in the area of availability and cost of funds.

  • The second challenge is in the cost of road construction, especially the road material, including wearing course and bituminous products (DBM, Asphalt Concrete (AC) surfacing, etc.).

  • Lack of technical, financial and administrative capabilities by local contractors in the region. This has left out Chinese contractors who have monopolised the industry at a high cost per kilometre of road.

  • Lack of research and innovation in road construction materials and construction technology.

  • Lack of a pro-active approach by governments in implementation of road construction programs. The “Annuity Road” program in Kenya is the best way of involving the private sector in achieving the target road mileage in the shortest time. Other options of road implementation can be researched and implementation tested.

 

 

Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the industry right now, and how are you positioned to capture it as a business?

 

  • The involvement of “Private Sector” in road construction.

  • Innovation for the purpose of lowering cost of road construction.

  • We can partner with “Bitumen Exchange” to create “Road Investment Fund” for East Africa.

  • Training and capacity building measures (technical, financial and administrative) and support to local contractors and consultancy firms.

  • Establishment of “Road Training Centre” by Bitumen Exchange to champion the capacity building program.

  • Our company and partners can put in up to $1 Billion USD yearly on this project Fund @4.5% interest rate per annum depending on demand and capacity of the government to repay the loans in 10 year period.

  • The governments can repay the loan yearly over 10 year period.

 

 

If you could change one thing in the industry going forward what would it be?

 

  • The privatisation road financing and implementation strategy by government. In this case, government can concentrate on policy, prioritisation of road networks and quality control assurance of road works.

  • Governments need to adopt a pro-active approach to road network implementation programs.


 

What is your proudest achievement to date in the industry?

 

  • I am an all-round road engineer, including being a pavement design specialist, materials engineer and an expert in technical audit of road

  • programs.

  • I am an expert in project management, investment banking and financial modelling of road implementation programs.

 

Website: www.villaspaceinvestments.com

 

Robert Kapkusum Bartile

CEO - Villaspace Investment Group Limited

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