African projects, such as the Shire-Zambezi waterway project in Malawi and the Hydropower project on Lake Kariba, present vast opportunities for investors and companies expanding into Africa, in addition to effecting real change on the continent.
In the past decade and more, Africa has undergone a tremendous transformation, which has resulted in a large amount of growth and development in its socio-economic and political landscape. This change has also opened the business conduits for companies wanting to operate in Africa and be part of the vast opportunities the continent and its emerging economy offers.
Says Guy Jelley, CEO of Post Vision Technology, a local provider of Project Portfolio Management software solutions: “Post Vision Technology sees further growth happening across Africa – mainly due to the focus that is currently placed on banking and infrastructure projects – and so, has positioned itself to take advantage of these business prospects by assertively expanding into Southern and West Africa.”
A distinct benefit for its expansion into Africa is that Post Vision Technology’s Project Portfolio Office (PPO) solution is a web-based, enterprise capable application that is designed, developed and supported in South Africa, therefore, dependency on third party suppliers is eliminated, ensuring real time connectivity, reliability and support to African users.
“All African data also remains on the continent and we have implemented sophisticated software that allows us to interactively communicate with our end users and also train and support them remotely,” says Jelley.
To gain access to the African market, Post Vision Technology has implemented its solution at the largest provider of carrier and business network solutions on the continent, Gateway Communications and at banking institution, FNB Botswana. It has also formed partnerships with companies already operating on the continent, such as international facility services company, Facilicomm – particularly focusing on Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana; project management providers, Malachite Business Solutions – providing services to Mauritius; consulting company, Davton8020 Consulting; and European funding institutions supporting corporate social investment projects in Mozambique.
Not only can these companies offer PPO as their project management tool, but, because they can leverage off the centralised solution, it also assists them to obtain economies of scale and make their expansion into Africa less costly.
“As we offer a local product to the African market and have partnered with companies already operating in various African countries, we have found it fairly simple to enter this market. The main barrier to entry for us is the availability of bandwidth,” says Jelley.
However, high capacity international fibre optic bandwidth such as the Seacom project off the East African coast harnesses great opportunity by offering low cost ICT infrastructure. When fully functional, the Seacom cable will provide bandwidth through South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti and onwards to the rest of Africa via landing points in France and India. Open access to high bandwidth at low cost will be a catalyst for the growth in ICT linked service industries such as virtual project management offices.
“Improving infrastructure and utilities in Africa will both ensure smoother operations for us as well as intensify development in this part of the world, with information-based technologies being a main driver of productivity growth. Not only has research shown that Nigeria is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies in the world, but, if you view Africa in its entirety as opposed to 53 independent countries, then the forecasted progress for this continent cannot be ignored. We are ready and have the capacity to do business in Africa today,” says Jelley.