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296 The Story of Parliament


Helping to construct Africa


from the heart of Wales Swansea-based Dawnus International has braved the security fears and made a name for itself in West Africa


construction companies are taking on the challenge of working in West Africa. But Dawnus International Ltd has proved a match for this challenge. “It’s a harsh place to work,” says Dawnus’s


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Managing Director Andy Peters, “and it tests the skills of the company to the limit. But the rewards are there.” It has also seen the company earn a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Te Swansea-based company was set up in 2001 and began its first overseas project in 2010, working with mining company African Minerals Ltd on the large Tonkolili iron-ore project in Sierra Leone. Work included providing infrastructure at the mine and port, construction of over 100km of railway and building two large dams. “Tat was a very challenging project and it was a great adventure for us,” says Peters. “We were starting from nothing with a new company.”


African connections Dawnus continues to work at the Tonkolili site and also secured a large open-pit mining contract at the Marampa iron-ore concession in Sierra Leone, which began in 2012. It has established a strong foothold in West Africa, and has ambitions to build further on its considerable achievements in a market into which few other British construction companies have ventured. Te potential risks of working in Africa may


discourage other companies from entering the market but, as a private limited company, Dawnus’s decision- making is “closer to the action”. It is therefore able to assess risks on the ground realistically, but is still big enough to respond to clients’ requirements. “As a company,” says Peters, “we’re of the right size to take advantage of the opportunities there.” Te company’s success at delivering major


civil engineering schemes in Africa was recognised in 2014 when it won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. “For everyone involved in


ith fears about security, stories of corruption and an ongoing Ebola crisis, not many British


“We engage with communities we work with and make sure that wealth trickles down fairly”


the project it’s a stamp of approval,” says Peters, “and one that makes us immensely proud.” Te award recognises Dawnus’s contribution to the UK economy, with a turnover of more than £100m per year and materials and staff sourced in the UK. It also honours the contribution Dawnus has made to the African communities it works in, providing employment and training to its 1600-strong local workforce.


Community engagement “Corporate social responsibility is very important to us,” says Peters. “We engage with all the communities we work with and make sure that wealth trickles down fairly into the local economy. It’s not just about taking our experience there and using it. It’s very much about transfer of skill, mentoring local nationals and leaving a legacy, providing them with lifelong skills.” Te company is committed to paying its African


employees a fair wage, along with national insurance and healthcare contributions. With the aid of state- of-the-art training facilities and expatriate instructor assessors Dawnus also trains the local workforce to Western standards in construction trades and skills. Dawnus has also funded and constructed five schools in Sierra Leone, as well as paying for local teachers’ training and salaries. “We felt morally obliged to give something back to the communities we were working with,” says Peters, “and felt education was the way to do it.”


Te demands of taking on a market that few


other British construction companies have tackled may have tested Dawnus’s skills to the limit. But it has achieved outstanding success in meeting those challenges, delivering major overseas projects and making a real difference to local communities. — www.dawnus.co.uk


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