May 19, 2020

Investment in African hotels booms as tourism grows

investment
tourism
Hotels
mahlokoane percy ngwato
2 min
Investment in African hotels booms as tourism grows

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In what can only be seen as an indicator for great things to come, investment in new hotels in Africa is booming; it is expected to reach as high as $2.1 billion this year according to a forecast by investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

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This is set to increase to $2.4 billion next year and in 2017, which represents an increase of $300 million and only includes investment in new developments. JLL has forecasted a 1.5 percent annual supply growth in North Africa and an average annual supply growth of 3.5 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Xander Nijnens, the senior vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa for JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, said: “The next several years will see a significant evolution in the hotel real estate landscape in Africa and we anticipate that global capital will flow into the sector as and when the right opportunities arise.”

Data from the latest W Hospitality Group hotel chain development pipeline survey revealed the development pipeline for hotels in Africa had grown by 25 percent to 270 hotels from 215 hotels last year.

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Alex Kyriakidis, the president and managing director of Marriott International Middle East and Africa, said Africa was important to the group because of its rapid economic growth, growing middle class and youth population and the expansion of international flights to the continent.

“With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, there are enormous opportunities there,” he said.

JLL also stated that tourist numbers were projected to increase by 5.7 percent a year in Africa compared to 3.2 percent globally up to 2030 and that hotel demand is set to increase at a rate of 5 percent a year between now and 2017.

Read the October Issue of African Business Review.

SOURCE: [Independent Online]

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

SAS
British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

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.”

 

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