Engineer Kabelo Motswagole heads FIDIC Africa.
Engineer Kabelo Joseph Motswagole is a registered Professional Engineer, a long-standing and multi- faceted Motswana engineer whose ascendancy to the realm of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers Africa (FIDIC Africa) is ample proof of Batswana’s ability to assume a leading role on the globe.
Eng. Motswagole’ s milestone appointment as FIDIC Africa President comes on the back of a successful engineering career spanning over three decades that has seen him put up a sterling performance in accomplishing big projects.
FIDIC Africa (FA) previously known as FIDIC GAMA is a continental organization that stands for the interests of the Consulting Engineering industry in Africa. FA’s noble mission says it all – “The Voice of the Consulting Engineer in Africa.”
The body comprises Member Associations (MA) of FIDIC from Africa such as the Association of Consulting Engineers Botswana (ACEB). The organization also sponsors FIDIC activities at the national and regional levels and organizes the annual FIDIC Africa Conference, the major event organized for networking and capacity building in the consulting engineering sector in Africa.
The FIDIC appointment has a profound meaning to Eng. Motswagole. “It is a privilege and honour to be trusted by so many Consulting Engineers that you can lead such an auspicious organization of professionals,” he says. “It also speaks to what we as Consulting Engineers in Botswana are capable of achieving in the international arena.”
Engineer Motswagole assumes the reins from Engineer James Mwangi of Kenya in a role that will see him head the Executive Committee consisting of nine members and the secretariat for two years, from 2020 to 2022.
The construction materials specialist, who is a fully qualified Geomaterials Engineer and Pavement Materials Engineer with experience in Pavement Materials Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology and Contract Management, will give strategic direction and guidance to the implementation of the FA mandate and the strategic plan and have constant consultation with MA country presidents on issues pertaining to FIDIC Contracts and training in their respective countries.
Engineer Motswagole says the milestone achievement is a not only a personal feat, but one that must be viewed as a national accomplishment.
“This is huge especially that Botswana has been the treasurer for FIDIC Africa since its inception in 2002, starting with the late Engineer Bob Izzett then myself before I ascended to the presidency,” he explains. “Our performance, integrity and professionalism speaks volumes for Botswana Engineers in particular and the country.”
With a successful career covering Botswana, Britain, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe, Eng. Motswagole’ s main areas of specialisation include: foundation investigations and soil improvement, construction material investigations including quarries, construction materials stabilisation, pavement design, pavement investigations and analysis, construction quality control, specialised testing of construction materials, use of marginal materials in construction, investigation of subsurface related building failures and construction materials related research. He is a member of several international professional bodies.
The journey to the top of FIDIC Africa started with Eng. Motswagole’s appointment in 2012 to the Group of African Member Association (GAMA) of FIDIC, as Honorary Treasurer, an office he ably occupied until 2017 when he became FIDIC GAMA Vice Chairman, a post he held through 2019.
It was in 2020 that Eng. Motswagole became FIDIC Africa President, an exigent office that has big responsibilities only a born-leader can handle.
Back in Botswana, Eng. Motswagole rose through the ranks of the country’s Consulting Engineering industry representative body, ACEB, first as a Council Member (2005-2006), then Vice-Chairman (2006-2008) before he became the organisation’s Chairman (2008-2010).
It was when Eng. Motswagole was serving his term as ACEB’s Immediate Past Chairman (2010-2011) that he was appointed in 2012 to FIDIC (GAMA) where his leadership star continued to shine until his appointment as the continental body’s President.
Says Eng. Motswagole, “My vision for FIDIC and the engineering profession is to, among other things; grow the membership of both FA and FIDIC within the African countries especially the Francophone countries, promote the use of FIDIC suite of contracts, promote the consulting engineer as the trusted advisor for our clients, encourage more participation by MAs, promote the growth and participation of future leaders in the affairs of FIDIC increase the representation of FA in the FIDIC board, and advocate for the use of African Consulting Engineers on multi-lateral banks funded projects in Africa.”
Engineer Motswagole who among several qualifications holds a MSc. in Geomaterials Engineering from University of London (Queen Mary College) has several accolades under his belt. These include the Association of Botswana Contractors – Botswana Institution of Engineers (BIE) best paper award for the paper “Implications of Secondary Minerals on the Durability of Crystalline Rock” presented at the BIE annual conference.
Undoubtedly, Eng. Motswagole has an impressive work experience record in both the public and private sectors in Botswana. His career dates back to 1988 where he was an Assistant Roads Engineer for the Botswana Government’s Materials and Research Division in the Roads Department before ascending to Roads Engineer in 1990.
In 1994, he was promoted to Senior Roads Engineer where he was responsible for the day to day running and forward planning for the Investigation and Research section of the Materials Division – Roads Department. This he diligently did for three years before he shot to the top as Acting Principal Roads Engineer for the same department in 1997.
Eng. Motswagole then left the public service and cut out a new path as Principal Engineer at CPP Botswana in 1998 where he was Head of Materials and Pavement Engineering, Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering.
Eng. Motswagole is the Managing Director of HERBCO Technical Services (Civil Engineering and Environmental Consultants). He is also a Director at CPP Botswana and TBM Surveying Services.
For the many facets of his profession and in various capacities, Eng. Motswagole has been involved in multi-million Pula projects for leading clients including the Government of Botswana.
Some of these projects include; Roads and Bridges, Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology, Drainage and Water, Environmental, Infrastructure and Development, and Research and Development in various specialist roles. Eng. Motswagole has co-authored numerous technical papers and guidelines on Pavement and Materials Engineering.
Eng. Motswagole has also been serving his country as a board member of Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Botswana Railways (BR), Independent Complains Review Committee (ICRC) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).
The FIDIC Africa President is an avid reader and a firm believer in continuous learning. His maxim is ‘Do good because it is good to do good’. Eng. Motswagole strongly believes that integrity and honesty are the most valuable assets for any professional. His role models and mentors are Eng. Mike Pinard and Eng. Kobamelo Kgoboko.