Mass protests, corruption, investment in infrastructure and a maintenance culture. All play a significant part in the development of the FM profession on a diverse continent.
15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris
Botswana, where Andrew Mason is also working currently - and where diamond revenue led to development of building assets now badly in need of maintenance - is looking to make a great leap forward.
"They have a strategy that by 2026 all government assets will be outsourced to the facilities management industry," says Mason. "Whether they will achieve that is another matter, but that's their strategy. They recognise the need for FM to turn around their maintenance problem."
Mike Mafa works as an estates director having gained an MSc in engineering management here in the UK. He recognises the country's need for qualified practitiomers.
"The private sector, government, universities - job adverts all focus on FM specifically now. It used to be that we needed just civil engineering or maintenance skills, but there's more to it on the management side now."
This is because FM in Botswana is playing catch up in an environment currently undergoing a construction boom. New builds are going up across the cities of Botswana, including shopping centres even in smaller towns. People are learning for the first time that professionals in this area are required for these to be maintained.
The market for outsourced FM services is growing, with a 50-50 in-house / outsource split and the government outsourcing cleaning, security and the maintenance of plant equipment.
"People probably have in-house maintenance crews which are not that skilled, not trained, and as a result you can't work in the way you expect, work in a costly manner, and the turnaround time," says Mafa. "But if you are able to bring in a contractor who is skilled in an area, it's more efficient."
So what's holding Botswana back? Technology, says Mafa. "CAFM systems are not common, but I believe that they will be soon. At the moment, it's too costly, and internet speeds too slow."
We're broadcasting live at 12 noon BST on World FM Day, Wednesday 17 May. You'll be able to hear audio interviews with some of the international correspondents mentioned above, as we capture a snapshot of FM across the globe in 2017, as well as live discussion on the issues and themes that have arisen. Tune in here.