Industry salutes Togo’s best Five Star Hotel
Togo's top internationally-branded five-star hotel has opened - providing delegates to the forthcoming Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Lomé on June 21-22 with a prime example of achievement in a continent often perceived as being difficult for developers.
The Radisson Blu Hotel 2 Février is the fruit of a private-public partnership between, the hotel developer, Groupe Kalyan; the management company, Carlson Rezidor; and the government of Togo. It took 18 months to develop and is the kind of project encouraged by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
The success in developing the hotel so quickly will form the basis of a case-study discussion at AHIF taking place on 21 and 22 June in Lomé. The session entitled “Lessons from a hotel development success story” will explore how a highly-specified 320 room conference hotel was able to be completed in double quick time in a market which has a reputation for slow infrastructure development progress. The panel will consist of all the main protagonists who will explain what they did to bring the project to fruition.
Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events which organises AHIF, said: "This is a great example of how to get things done in the hotel sector and another good reason why people can be optimistic about investing in Africa. We welcome this hotel opening and of course its timing will provide a great focus for one of our many discussions at AHIF."
The new hotel fulfils many of the criteria set down by UNWTO which promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.
Bernadette Essossimna Legzim-Balouki, Minister of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector and Tourism, Togo, said: “This new luxury hotel will give a much-needed boost to our country’s tourism industry which is already going from strength to strength.”
Ashok Gupta, Managing Director & CEO, Kalyan Hospitality Development Togo said: “This is a landmark hotel development which marks a new era for Togo and we are proud that it was achieved through a successful collaboration with Togo’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector and Tourism.”
The AHIF conference will take place on 21 and 22 June at the new landmark Radisson Blu Hotel 2 Février in the capital. To see the full AHIF Togo programme, visit: www.africa-conference.com/togo/index.php/programme.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”