Five innovative African infrastructure schemes
Africa’s population is rocketing, as is the demand to boost intra-African trade. The solution? Huge new infrastructure schemes. This year, African governments and private entities will push forward with a number of important infrastructure projects, including railways, ports, and even new cities.
Here’s a swift roundup of the biggest developments coming to the continent in the next few decades.
The North South Corridor
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) started work on the North South Corridor in 2009. The series of roadways and railways spans seven countries and costs approximately $1 billion in total.
Tanzania’s Bagamoyo Port
Chinese firm China Merchant Holding International have partnered with the government to build this $11 billion East African port. The goal is to serve domestic markets and landlocked countries in wider east Africa (e.g. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi). Construction of this port will take place in phases, as and when required. The estimated completion date is 2045.
Kenya’s Lamu Port
Kenya’s new port rivals Bagamoyo for the title of largest port in sub-Saharan Africa. Like Tanzania’s new port, work on Lamu will take decades. Preliminary work has begun, although funding is still being finalised.
Modderfontein New City
The first phase of the $7.5 billion Modderfontein City construction project kicked off in 2015. Chinese company Zendai Group are financing and constructing the dwelling, set north-east of Johannesburg. The final product is this: a South African community occupying tens of thousands of hectares. In the words of Zendai,“the New York of Africa”.
Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway
The completion of the Addis Abab-Djibouti Railway was officially marked today at a ceremony in Djibouti. The 752km track links Ethiopia’s capital with the Port of Djibouti. The new railway can reach speeds of 160 km/h for passenger trains and 120 km/h for cargo trains. It will cut cargo journey times between the Port of Djibouti and Addis Ababa from three days by road to just 12 hours. Trial services for the new $4.2 billion railway began in October 2016, with regular services transporting goods and passengers expected to begin early this year.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”