Achieving the most relevant projects in countries where we are present, relying on increasingly experienced local teams… This is the philosophy behind our international development.
To find out more, we met with Felipe Starling, International Director for the group setec, Adrame Ndiyae, Head of Development at setec Afrique and Carlos Noumedem, technical director of setec Afrique.
We want to develop internationally by establishing our company in the countries where we are present, with local expert teams who will share the know-how and methods that already exist elsewhere in the group.
Our priority is to develop the skills of our local staff so that the engineering of a project can be produced locally, in an autonomous way, adapting the project to the environment. Specialised companies in France or elsewhere will provide assistance and expertise on large, complex projects, alongside local companies. This is what we call «hybridization of skills».
The development of local skills is an important objective. We have a determined approach to this issue, which is part of our strategy: training, staff exchanges on a project, and long-term internships are encouraged by the group and are becoming increasingly frequent.
We must aim to serve our clients worldwide with the same level of technical standards and values, while adapting to the local context.
The way we operate in Africa today is typical of this hybridization process, which Carlos and Adramé represent.
Flexibility to adapt to a changing African market
In France, I worked as an expert engineer in the hydraulic sector as deputy manager in the hydratec office in Strasbourg.
I came to Senegal with a view to develop our hydraulic activity Today I am also responsible for the operational management of our structure in Dakar. I coordinate studies in the field of hydro-engineering and other fields of activity in Senegal.
I have supervised the extension of the Pikine and Thiaroye toll plazas, which are road projects. From my point of view, hybridization manifests itself mainly through the diversification of skills. The African market does not allow a structure like ours to specialise. It is essential to be multi-skilled to adapt to the needs and fluctuations of the market. We must also be capable of working in several countries.
We always work closely with group companies. On certain cutting-edge subjects, we call on their services, which enables us to acquire expertise. For all issues, we aim to provide a local solution as a matter of priority, enabling us to remain competitive in terms of cost. This is what helps us to develop as a company in our market.
Training a local team to meet the setec group’s production standards
I joined the setec group 16 years ago, as a structural design engineer with setec bâtiment. Today I am based in Abidjan within the subsidiary setec Afrique. My role consists of assisting in the development of a design unit that will work on projects in the sub-region, relying mainly on the know-how of our local collaborators.
The long-term objective will be to successfully complete our design projects in a manner consistent with setec’s production standards, while sharing a common interest with our specialist subsidiaries in France, who provide assistance and support. As the projects are quite diverse, we must gain in transversality, providing technical assistance on several subjects and in several countries at the same time.
We are organised into several study centres, mainly in Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon. For me, hybridization has two aspects: the portability of knowledge and the transversality of skills. The portability of knowledge will enable us to acquire the necessary skills through exchanges with our specialised subsidiaries; the transversality of skills will remain an essential asset to ensure the durability of a structure such as ours. Indeed, we need local engineers who are experts in their field and capable of developing multidisciplinary skills.