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Inaugural African Project and Program Management Conference concludes in Ghana with Communique to African Leaders, call for Project Continuity laws and new African Project Management Board

PM PROFESSION NEWS

29 June 2013 – Accra, Ghana – The inaugural African Project and Program Management Conference (APPMC) was held in Accra during 5-7 June 2013.  The event was jointly organized by Direct Leadership Institute (DLI) and the American Academy of Project Management ® (AAPM®). The conference concluded with a communique to African political leaders and the formation of a new organization to promote professional project and program management on the continent.

appmcProject and program managers who converged on Accra, the Ghana capital for the inaugural African Project and Program Management Conference (APPMC) have called on the African Union (AU) to institutionalize the practice of project management on the continent. Participants, drawn from various African countries, particularly called on the AU to put the issue of good project management practices at the top of its development agenda for the continent.

The conference took note of the huge volume of abandoned projects on the continent and urged African governments to formulate project continuity laws to stem the tide. The Conference particularly praised the National Planning Commission and the government of Nigeria for formulating a project continuity bill, and urged the nation’s National Assembly to live up to its legislative duties and pass the bill in the interest of the country’s  quest to join the league of twenty industrialized nations by the year 2020. Participants called on other African countries to follow the Nigerian example and initiate similar laws.

A communique issued after the conference noted:  “Driven by the need to develop a critical mass of very competent project managers to stem the tide of failed projects and poor implementation in  Africa, the Direct Leadership Institute (DLI) and the American Academy of Project Management ® (AAPM®) – an Academy recognized in over 150+ countries via 800 training providers, universities, colleges and business schools – put together the first ever African Project and Program Management Conference ( APPMC) from June 5-7,2013 in Accra Ghana.

“With the theme ‘Championing the African Industrial and Market Driven Economic Evolution’,  APPMC brought on board the most thought- provoking experiences, cases and best practices in the industry. Over 100 project and program managers and experts attended the conference.

“This pan African event, which included presentations, practical exercises and highly interactive group sessions, also saw a good number of participants attending special certification classes leading to the award of Certified International Project Manager (CIPM®) by the American Academy of Project Management. APPMC brought on board the most thought- provoking experiences, cases and best practices in the industry.”

The Conference commenced with a keynote delivered by the Chairman of APPMC Governing Council, Mr. Nutifafa Kuenyehia, former Bar President, Ghana and Member of African Peer Review Governing Council. After the opening ceremony, the conference dissolved into a technical workshop for experience sharing, paper presentations, and discussions.

A discussion on chartering a framework for effective and efficient project management in Africa as body of Knowledge led to the ratification of participants for the formation of the African Project Management Board (APPMBOARD).

According to the communique jointly signed by APPMC Project Director, Dr. Donald Agumenu and Conference Chair, Mr. Nutifafa Kuenyehia, the delegates also called for greater discipline in project management on the continent.

The communique notes: “Following the thematic presentations, the workshops, deliberations and project tour, the conference discussed the issue of discipline in project management and identified lack of character as a major problem with project management in Africa. Some of the challenges to effective project management in Africa were identified as bad estimates/deadlines, scope changes and poor resource planning.

“Participants observed that the African continent has inadequate number of competent and certified project managers. Until competent project managers handle capital projects, failed projects and poor implementation will remain a talking point for a very long time in Africa. Participants noted that it is not just about competence, but character (discipline). Political instability, ethnic considerations are among major problems Identified in project sustainability.”

On project sustainability in Africa, the Communique applauded the decision of countries like Nigeria to formulate a project continuity bill, and charged the country’s legislature to hasten work on the bill.

“Participants noted that a project sustainability policy is needed in each African country to ensure continuity and ensure that projects are not abandoned by successive governments,” the communique said.

It went on: “Participants noted the seeming lip service accorded project management as a body of knowledge at the African Union level despite the obvious fact that Africa is littered with huge failed projects. The need for project management plans for measurement, among others, was advocated for projects on the continent. The need for project management practice on the continent to be in line with the needs of Africa was also stressed. This, delegates noted, is key to enhancing African competitiveness and integration to the world economy.

“Participants called on the AU to focus greater attention on enshrining project management best practices on the continent as a deliberate strategy to promote regional growth and economic empowerment of its people. The need to overcome development challenges has called greater attention to the institutionalization of project management culture in Africa. It is a now compelling obligation.”

On motivation for project managers, the release went on: “The project observed the lack of motivation for project managers on the continent, noting that many projects fail in Africa because of lack of motivation. Like most advanced continents of the world, Africa needs to add motivation to its project management culture. We need to change our orientation to projects. Change in societal value is required for effective project management in Africa.”

And disturbed by the absence of a body of knowledge for project management on the continent, participants ratified a proposal for the establishment of the African Project Management Board. The African Project Management Board (APMB) was thereafter formed and ratified by project managers from across the region who converged on Accra for the inaugural African Project and Project Management Conference (APPMC).

“The association was established as a regional non-profit organisation to promote the emergence of higher-performing projects by building a body of competent project managers and advocating for international best practices in project management in Africa,” the conference communique noted.

An interim management was constituted to be headed by Mr. Kenneth Ashigbey, Managing Director of the Graphic Communication Group.  Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor at the University of Nigeria, Prof Anene Moneke was elected Vice President 1, while Head of Human Resources and Administration at the Public Procurement Authority, Ghana emerged Vice President 2. President of the Direct Leadership Institute (DLI) and Honourary Global Advisor at the American Academy of Project Management,  Dr. Donald Agumenu was elected to be Executive Director, while Mr. Emmanuel Haruna, Managing Director of Imano Consulting, emerged Program Manager.

An advisory board is to be headed by former Minister Gen Arnold Quarnoo and Mr. Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Member of African Peer Review Governing Council. Other members include Dr. Godson Tetteh, Mr Ken Akpocha, Mrs Abena Bonsu, Mr. Asuquo Okon and Dr. Shelley Amos (American Academy of Project Management Representative).

The 2014 African Project and Program Management Conference was scheduled for June 23-28,  2014  at Alisa Hotel, Accra Ghana

Report provided by Dr. Donald Agumen, Program Director, African Project and Program Management Conference (APPMC) 

For more information, contact [email protected].