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COVID-19 impacts on the AEC industry with a focus on Africa

Hanane Bouhmoud (FSTM, University Hassan II Casablanca, Mohammedia, Morocco and McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Dalila Loudyi (FSTM, University Hassan II Casablanca, Mohammedia, Morocco)
Salman Azhar (McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Mounia Farah (Hassania School of Public Works, Casablanca, Morocco)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 21 October 2022

Issue publication date: 24 March 2023




The unexpected spread of COVID-19 rapidly switched from a health crisis to an economic one. The Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry experienced drastic impacts, especially in Africa. Several studies investigated COVID-19 impacts on the AEC industry, but very few were conducted in Africa. This study aims to cover this gap, address detailed overview of negative and positive impacts of COVID-19 on the AEC field, especially in the different African regions, and highlight their causes and the measures taken to overcome them.


The authors combined a Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses-based Systematic Literature Review (SLR) and a survey involving 87 AEC companies operating in Africa. The SLR initially used four scientific databases; however, considering the limited Africa-related found data, institutional and governmental databases were also included.


Globally, implementing the mandated restrictive measures against COVID-19 caused significant losses for developers, designers and contractors but helped the information and communication technologies operators to thrive. In the five African regions, the AEC industry experienced 22 heavy impacts that can be split into four categories: financial, managerial/strategic, operational and opportunities. This paper thoughtfully explains the causes of COVID-19 impacts and presents the undertaken measures by the African private and public sectors to overcome them. Generally, the African AEC industry lost 51% of the total sales in 2020.


This paper contains all aspects related to health hazard influences on the AEC industry, especially in Africa. Researchers and decision-makers may use it to build new approaches or strategies related to risk management or design technological solutions.



The authors thank the Moroccan AEC operator HBMD Development and Management for funding some paid-access data and US Fulbright program.


Bouhmoud, H., Loudyi, D., Azhar, S. and Farah, M. (2023), "COVID-19 impacts on the AEC industry with a focus on Africa", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 585-603.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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