Boom towns come and boom towns go. Logistics company DHL may be in a unique position to gauge which towns in Africa are booming right now based on the volume of goods being shipped in and out to support technology, mining and agriculture.
The company provides international express mail services as a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL, which claims to be the world’s largest logistics company.
HowWeMadeItInAfrica asked DHL managers in certain African countries to identify which towns and cities they would consider boom towns based on shipping business volume. Here are some of their responses:
Mozambique most northern port, Nacala is the deepest natural port on Africa’s east coast and is also the terminal for the Nacala Railway which links landlocked Malawi to the coast. Nacala will be crucial for commodities exports such as coal from Mozambique’s western Tete Province, DHL country manager Dominique Lalous told HowWeMadeItInAfrica. A new international airport is scheduled to be completed in 2015 that could eliminate dependence on Nampula – the nearest international airport 250 kilometers inland – for inbound and outbound air traffic, Lalous said.
Many international law firms and financial institutions have moved to Ebène, a technology hub that is thriving in Mauritius, according to Rahman Bholah, DHL country manager. Hyped as a Cyber City, Ebène is located 15 kilometers south of the capital of Port Louis. Construction began in 2001. Ebène is the home of the Regional Internet Registry for Africa, among other IT companies, and it’s also a cable landing point for a high-speed submarine communications cable between Malaysia and South Africa. The town is set up to provide businesses with modern facilities and the latest technology, Bholah said. DHL’s business in Ebène is booming, and the company has a dedicated staff and service center based there, according to HowWeMadeItInAfrica.
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At the center of Uganda‘s dairy farming industry, Mbarara is attracting investors involved in manufacturing dairy products. This growing industrial town located 280 kilometers (174 miles) from Uganda’s capital Kampala also has beverage companies and breweries expanding to the area. Land is available, the climate is good and it is one of the most attractive investor areas in Uganda, according to DHL local head Asteway Desta.
Located on Liberia’s border with Guinea, the town of Ganta is close to mining companies in the area. Giants such as iron ore miner ArcelorMittal have increased commercial and social activities in Ganta, according to DHL country manager Akwasi Aninakwah.
Located on the Trans-Gambia Highway just south of the border with Senegal, Farafenni is an important market town that enjoys a strategic location on the main road between Dakar and the Casamance in Southern Senegal. Situated on the north bank of the Gambia River, Farafenni is about 120 kilometers inland from the capital of Banjul and the ferry across the Gambia River is here. The town is growing because of its geographical location, said says DHL’s Claude Edgard Zocli in HowWeMadeItInAfrica.
“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,” he said.
Food and agriculture is turning Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second largest city, into a boom town, according to Nawa Yeo, DHL country manager. Small and medium enterprises that deal in soap, vegetable oil, fruit, cereal, cotton, and artisan products are setting up factories to produce goods locally for export and for domestic markets, Yeo told HowWeMadeItInAfrica.
A new technology city 60 kilometers southeast of Nairobi, Konza Techno City is supposed to advance technology spending and growth in Kenya. It’s starting to happen if shipment of goods is any indication, according to Alan Cassels, head of DHL Kenya. Konza will focus on business process outsourcing, telecommunications, education and life sciences. The infrastructure phase of the project was launched recently, HowWeMadeItInAfrica reported.