DEME awarded by “Entrepreneur for Entrepreneurs Trophy” as the most sustainable company 2016
DEME just won the second edition of the “Entrepreneur for Entrepreneurs Trophy” as most sustainable company 2016. The trophy honours companies from the North that sustainably promote entrepreneurship in the South. The prize was handed out in attendance of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo.
DEME was in particular recognized for a sustainable dredging project on the Congo River. Since 1989 DEME has been dredging the Congo River on a regular basis. In all cases, these were so-called “emergency projects” as the river had silted up to such a degree that some of the inland cargo ships of a certain draught were no longer able to reach the ports of Boma and Matadi.
DEME decided to seek out a more sustainable solution by setting up a public private partnership with local dredging company “La Congolaise des Voies Maritimes (CVM)”. A toll system was introduced for vessels on the Congo River to ensure the financial resources required are in place to maintain river depth and to counteract silting on a permanent footing.
The public private partnership also provides for the training of 40 young Congolese staff and the takeover of a dredger, which will enable CVM to continue the programme on a self-reliant basis in ten years from now. In amongst other things, the training track involves a 4-year study programme at the Antwerp Maritime Academy. Further to a preparatory year in Congo, the first two students arrived in Belgium last week to embark on their studies.
For the benefit of the project, DEME is working closely with the Antwerp Port Authority through Port of Antwerp International, which – as part of the twinning with the Congolese ports of Boma and Matadi – is making its expertise available to shepherd the complex dredging operations and the operation of the public private partnership. In its role as a North-South matchmaker, Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs put DEME in touch with Via Don Bosco, an NGO that supports educational and employment schemes aimed at youngsters in Africa. The NGO is closely involved in the project for the selection and local training of the students enrolling in the dredging training programme.
Alain Bernard, Director and CEO DEME Group: “DEME maintains close ties with Africa and has been operating on the continent for over half a century. Most of our projects in Africa are greatly important to the nations’ economic development. Through sustainable financing, exchange of know-how and the transfer of equipment, DEME is able to make a contribution that really makes the difference for the Congolese economy and population. As it happens, in many cases projects such as these are sparked by our own members of staff, who often spend years working locally and building up a relationship with the local population.”
Earlier in the day DEME signed the Belgian "SDG Charter" with more than 80 other Belgian companies and organisations. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were approved by the United Nations last year and are very ambitious: bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030, protect our planet and encourage human development. For the first time the SDG’s explicitly recognize the role of the private sector in the field of sustainable development. The Belgian SDG Charter is an initiative of Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo.
- For additional information:
- Vicky Cosemans
- DEME Communications
- +32 3 250 59 22