ANGOLA - Real Estate & Construction
Ricardo Marfim dos Santos is the CEO for Tecnovia Angola and serves as President of the Board of Directors. He graduated in civil engineering with a postgraduation certificate in management and business consulting. He has more than 20 years of experience on the construction sector and joined Tecnovia group in 2002. Prior to his appointment as CEO of Tecnovia Angola, dos Santos worked in Portugal as project manager and in East Timor as country manager.
We initiated our activity in Angola with the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply systems, and other infrastructure like airports and maritime ports, which is still our core business; however, we are also active in the construction of social housing and other residential buildings at the same time that we are entering into new fields of activity, such as the oil and gas and mining sectors, where we are able to provide a wide range of services due to the installed capacity within the country.
We have done important projects, significant for their location and impact on the population. Our latest project in Luanda was the famous Nó Rodoviário da Samba/Av. Pedro de Castro Van-Dúnem Loy. The design and construction methods were quite different and includes the construction of tunnels, which are not that common in Angola or even in Africa. This specific project was developed through an engineering, procurement, construction, and financing project, where we presented a complete solution to solve an existing problem. Such an approach fully demonstrates that, more than a construction company, Tecnovia is a solutions provider for its customers and communities. Among our other milestones is our strategic transition four years ago away from a company exclusively serving the public sector to one also attuned to the private-sector requirements. This especially relates to the oil and gas sector and our provision of infrastructure and construction projects, this, in addition to other private sector entities. It took a great deal of effort from our team to adapt to a totally new mindset because it required considerable technology to diversify the range of services we could provide. That being said, we still predominantly work for the public sector.
Fortunately, we coped well, relocating to our current office one month before COVID-19 measures came into force. And then like everyone else, we did not know quite what to expect. We turned our meeting room into a crisis room and assembled our directors and executive board to formulate a plan of action in a daily basis. It is still difficult to predict what will come next in the new normal. However, we decided that it was a key moment for the company, which is why I would also call it a milestone. We had to adapt and behave differently than before, attuning ourselves to any changes in market demand, and not only institutionally, but personally. That is a difficult thing given the different generations of people working at our company. Starting from March 2020, we saw wholesale change. The government canceled all work activities, and the bulk of government works came to a halt. This prompted us to revise our approach to daily business.
Currently, we are focused on the Angolan market, but always checking other possible markets. For example, Tecnovia Group is planning to start operations in Uganda in 2022/2023. Usually, when Tecnovia Group enter into a new market, the intention is to remain there for the long term, rather than on a project basis, reason why we tend to be selective when looking for opportunities in other markets. However, if the market conditions enable us to think differently, we may expand to other regions. At this stage, we prefer to expand internally.