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World Bank recruiting Construction Competitiveness Consultant


Mali, 30 March 2015

CONTEXT

After a diagnostic phase (February and March 2015), private sector stakeholders have identified binding constraints to Construction Competitiveness in Mali. Together with the Government, and in order for private sector to finalize its recommendations, a public private dialogue (PPD) will be started shortly. One the critical milestones of this process will be the organization of an event in the form of a seminar (5 days max.) with workshops and trainings around 5 specific topics available for +/- 70 public and private participants (overall).

Seminar outcomes is that private sector and the authorities will agree on a key project to pilot recommendations formulated. This seminar will be one of the main input for private sector to finalize its recommendations. To this end, the client is seeking individuals with relevant technical and pedagogical expertise to deliver parts of the event.

The tentative dates for this seminar are in May 2015.

BACKGROUND

The construction sector is a key pillar of economic development and often overlooked by economists and governments. The success of a country partly depends on the synergistic efforts of its constituent industries. Given that the construction industry usually counts for 5-10% of a countrys GDP, it is vital for governments to increase their knowledge and understanding for competitiveness in the construction industry. For countries as well as for firms, competitiveness refers to an objective - a high, rising standard of living for its citizens and high, rising returns on investment to its owners respectively.

The construction sector is not only one of the largest economic sectors and a driver of standard of living and consumption; construction is also an important source of demand for other sectors in the economy, as well as cost driver, being essential input, in other sectors of the economy and a source of competitiveness for manufacturing, tourism and exports.

The construction value chain which drives physical infrastructure like roads, power plants and irrigation as well as housing, commercial/industrial real estate and key social development facilities (schools, hospitals, etc.) is not well developed. In the Sahel, the construction sector is still very small and suffers from low productivity and high costs of materials (most of them imported). Reforms in the land, housing and public procurement markets would unleash its potential.

Many of the issues that will be raised during this technical assistance (which are complex and cut across many different institutions at different levels of government) and future recommendations will be far reaching, complicated and sensitive they will warrant further investigation and extensive consultation before being acted upon.

Key facts about construction sector in Mali

The share of the construction industry in the GDP of Mali decreased from 5.4% in 2008 to 4.9% in 2013 (BAD, 2014). According to the IMF (PRSP Mali, 2013), infrastructure development (roads, bridges, etc.) has driven construction and public works growth since 2007. For the secondary sector, the largest contribution to growth over the period 2007-10 was recorded in construction and public works. However, without action, a slowdown in this industry is expected and seems to have already begun. According to the latest figures available, the construction industry stood for 4.3% of total employment in 2004 (ILO).

In Mali, the participation of local firms to public procurement in construction is limited. Most of the housing is done through the informal sector, which amounts to about 71% of employment of all sectors if we exclude agriculture (ILO). Also, foreign firms make most of the heavy civil work. For instance, between 2002 and 2010, in the civil engineering subsector, Chinese firms won contracts estimated to 900 billion FCFA, while the amount for national firms has not exceeded 14 billion FCFA.

The imports of construction material stand for about 13% of total import and are expected to more than double till 2017 (IMF, PRSP Mali, 2013). At the same time, the prices of these materials are also on the rise: the Malian construction sector already faces scarcity of construction materials, leading to technical unemployment, delays, increased costs and as a consequence increased price of infrastructure. The situation could even worsen in a near future if nothing is done to address the issue.

A major bottleneck for the competitiveness of Malian firms is the lack of cash flow, mainly due to the difficulty to obtain credit from banks (one of the reasons being delays in payment from the Government which increases risks). Another constraint is that most of Malian workers trained themselves on the job and have little theoretical notions. For this reason, some firms prefer to hire other regional workers, from Côte dIvoire, Senegal, Togo, etc. Furthermore, the lack of skills in business techniques such as cash flow management, credit risks and strategy can lead to the mismanagement of local firms.

In dealing with construction permits, Mali ranks 97th in DB2015, out of 189 economies. Dealing with construction permits there requires 10 procedures, takes 119 days. DB mentions that Mali recently made construction permits easier by speeding up the process for obtaining a water connection, by simplifying environmental impact assessment for noncomplex commercial buildings, and by reducing the time needed to obtain a geotechnical study.

The 2012 crisis in Mali partly erupted due to a latent North/South divide of the country, and resulted in the destruction of basic infrastructure of Malis northern regions, as well as the weakening of the infrastructure network which linked it to southern regions, creating the risk of an even more pronounced split of the country.

TASK DESCRIPTION

The expert will be required to travel to Bamako to deliver the workshop. All cost related to the travel (including hotel and expenses) and those related to workshop organization and logistics will be paid by either the World Bank Group or its partners. Alternative arrangements can be discussed with the task manager based on the final format of the seminar.

The expert will suggest the format and time for her/ his intervention. It is expected that the expose (or training) last from 3 to 6 hours (including debate) in one or more session(s) for each profile as mentioned in Annex 1.

The expert will be asked to provide material used along with a short report of her/ his intervention. A feedback survey will evaluate participants satisfaction. Material to be used for the seminar will have to be send to the task manager in advance to allow clarification and recommendations to finalize the content.

Submission Deadline: 21 April 2015

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