AFRICANGLOBE – Across the continent there are cities and towns enjoying rapid growth on the back of industries such as mining, agriculture and technology. We asked a selection of country managers to identify one of these ‘boom towns’ in their respective territories.
1. Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second city, is blossoming due to growth in the food and agriculture sector. “Many small and medium enterprises are setting up factories to locally produce products for both the domestic and export markets,” explains Nawa Yeo, DHL country manager in Burkina Faso. “The main products are fruits, cereals, cotton, vegetable oil, soap and other artisanal products.”
2. Ebène, Mauritius
Ebène is a thriving technology hub in Mauritius. Rahman Bholah, country manager of DHL Mauritius, says many financial institutions and international legal firms have also moved into the area, which is designed to provide businesses with the latest technology and modern facilities. DHL’s business in Ebène has also boomed, and the company has a dedicated service centre and staff based there.
3. Mbarara, Uganda
Mbarara is a growing industrial town 280km from Uganda’s capital Kampala.
“Traditionally located in the centre of the dairy farming district of Uganda, it has now attracted investors involved in the manufacturing of dairy products. There are also breweries and beverage companies expanding to the area. Because of a favourable climate and abundant availability of land, it is one of the most attractive investor areas here at the moment,” explains local DHL head Asteway Desta.
4. Ganta, Liberia
Ganta is situated on Liberia’s border with Guinea. The presence of mining companies in the area – such as iron ore miner ArcelorMittal – has increased commercial and social activities in Ganta, says Akwasi Aninakwah, DHL country manager.
5. Farafenni, The Gambia
Farafenni is on the north bank of the Gambia River, about 120km inland from the capital Banjul. The town is experiencing fast growth mainly due to its geographical location on the main road between Dakar and the Casamance (the southern area of Senegal). The ferry to cross the Gambia River is situated at Farafenni.
“Intensive trade activities in Farafenni have attracted numerous services companies, such as banks and insurance firms, which drive economic development in the town, and consequently an influx of people,” says DHL’s Claude Edgard Zocli.
6. Nacala, Mozambique
“The natural deep sea port of Nacala will be pivotal for the export of commodities, such as coal from Mozambique’s western Tete Province,” notes DHL country manager Dominique Lalous. “The development entails an export network linking Zambia and Malawi by road and rail to Nacala. The new international airport should also be operational in early 2015 and will eliminate the dependency on Nampula – the nearest international airport 250km inland – for inbound and outbound air freight.”
7. Konza Techno City, Kenya
According to Alan Cassels, head of DHL Kenya, the most exciting development on the horizon is Konza Techno City. The aim is to develop a new technology city 60km southeast of Nairobi. Konza will focus on four economic sectors that will advance technology spending and growth in Kenya. They are education, life sciences, telecoms and business process outsourcing. The infrastructural phase of the project was recently launched.
By: Jaco Maritz