CSI Energy Group – Energising Kenya’s Future
For more than a quarter of a century CSI Energy Group (CEG) has been working side-by-side with the power, oil and gas and mining industry to successfully deliver projects across sub-Saharan Africa. From the most remote rural locations like Kigutu to the streets of the suburbs, from the heart of buzzing cities like Dakar to the most isolated and challenging wilderness terrains, CEG has shown itself to be committed to creating a bright future for its clients and the communities it works in. We learn how CSI Energy Group is leading infrastructure development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Across all of its work, CSI Energy Group’s projects are recognised through the high standards that have become their hallmark and this has been no different in Kenya where the company has been performing projects since 2017.
“Our main positives are our keen focus on HSEQ compliance in line with international standards as our clients expect,” says Mike Huth Managing Director of CSI Energy Group Kenya. “Especially when it comes to HSEQ, we’ve run all these years – not just in Kenya – with no lost time incidents and we’re proud of keeping our employees safe. Being accredited to ISO and OHSAS international standards allows us to not only perform our projects in a safe manner but also maintain a fully auditable management system which is a big plus when it comes to EPC contracts.”
CEG is known for its quality control track record, and Huth cites this as the reason clients within Kenya and across the region keep coming back to them with repeat work.
“We’re good at working in remote areas, carrying out difficult work in areas where some people are a bit worried to go to, and can’t keep up with the HSE and quality requirements in those areas,” Huth explains.
Improving People’s Lives
CEG Kenya’s mission is about so much more than bringing in more work or increasing their profit margin, however. The firm has set itself the goal of improving society, by improving infrastructure.
“Our main business is in the power sector. So, whether it’s a new power plant to bring electricity into communities or energy infrastructure for a healthcare facility or clinic to reduce disease and mortality, enabling success and improving people’s lives is at the heart of our operations,” Huth points out.
This means that when CEG begins working on a project, they aren’t just thinking about completing the current job but are looking forward to how they can best serve the community long term.
“Some of the projects we work on are in remote areas hence we aim to establish long-term relationships with these communities and/or support them in providing sustainable solutions to their challenges,” Huth says. “When running our projects, we give our project staff the support to help local communities with various issues from a socio-economic perspective. This is not just coming from one part of our business, our teams have a positive response to helping local communities, and those communities can come into our projects as employees or through the supply chain. Knowing that the work improves lives motivates us and gives us a better sense of purpose in our business.”
CEG is particularly suited to this kind of work because the company has all the necessary functions under one roof.
“Focusing on EPC contracts, our holistic approach enables a client to work with one contractor for the whole project,” explains Huth.
The benefits of this approach go beyond convenience, however.
“This also helps improve the cost efficiencies of the project because if you hire three separate contractors each contractor will have a project manager, engineers, logistics personnel etc.,” Huth says. “We can come to a project and increase efficiencies for the client by having one project manager across three different disciplines.”
A Foundation for the Future
The company’s efforts to improve society go beyond their EPC work, with the Group having founded their Foundation in 2017 with a mission to support marginalised members of the community and a keen focus on healthcare, education and life skills.
“For a long time, the focus was in Tanzania which is where the roots of the company are however, we’re now bringing that support into Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia in the future, supporting marginalised women, children, and youths alike living in challenging conditions,” Huth says. “For our current project we’re in a rural community in Kenya, it’s a herding area. Our contribution to the development of this community is by developing youngsters via education and life skills. Additionally, so much needs to be done for more women in these communities in terms of access to resources, services, technology and economic opportunities, therefore, we are also looking at programs that will empower women socio-economically.”
This is part of CEG’s drive to build long term relationships with the communities it is working with.
“When we go into an area we intend to stay there for many years, not just do the project and disappear again. We always have that in mind, and so a new project is the start of a relationship with that local community,” Huth tells us. “We develop that within the CSI Energy Group Foundation.”
This then means empowering marginalised groups within a community has a ripple effect in the development of that community.
“One area we’re focusing on is helping women and girls because historically there has been a misconception that the skills of women in the construction industry are not required,” Huth continues. “As an equal opportunity employer, we have a role to play in curbing this bias and to that effect, we’re developing welders and operators, QA officers, putting an emphasis on empowering local women.”
“We understand that ours is very male-dominated industry nonetheless we deliberately make it a point to encourage more women to join the workforce and for those who are already in our employment, we ensure that we provide them with the tools and support to enable them to flourish. Being a young woman in a leadership position within the company sends a strong message on our commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am empowered to make decisions that have a huge impact on how we do business and more so I feel like I am at an advantaged position to inspire young women across the continent that it can be done. There’s a long way to go to achieve gender parity in this industry however we take pride in knowing that we’re actively pursuing it.” adds Annette Kanora, CEG’s Director for Brand, Governance & Administration.
Huth is hoping to build on what CSI Energy Group has achieved so far going forward, with some exciting new prospects on the horizon.
“Being Kenyan born and raised gives me a lot of edge in this market because over the years I have developed strong contacts in the infrastructure sector and I’m now pushing to develop Uganda and Ethiopia,” Huth says. “We’re paying a lot of attention to geothermal energy – our current project in the Olkaria region is our second in Kenya and we are looking to spread into Ethiopia as well. We’re also looking into hydro, wind, and biogas plants. In Uganda there’s no production of geothermal, however, the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project is on our radar alongside other mechanical works projects. Kenya is a good base to work out of for Ethiopia and Uganda – territories that I am also responsible for.”