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‘Land Management is a key area for the growth of g-tech in Africa’

Shay Cheruty, Sivan Design, Nigeria
Shay Cheruty
COO, Sivan Design, Nigeria

Since its inception in 1996, Sivan Design has rapidly grown to become a major provider of customised enterprise level geospatial solutions. The company’s activities in Africa spans across various verticals including land management, utilities, transportation and surveying etc. Shay Cheruty, COO, talks about the geospatial market in Africa, the company’s future plans and more…

Please tell us about Sivan Design and its offerings.

Sivan Design was incorporated in 1996 and rapidly became a global provider of customised enterprise level geospatial solutions, a developer of 3D GIS applications, and a developer of Civil Engineering CAD and 3D Simulation software. The company’s expertise lies in development and operations of turnkey GIS land administration projects, roads information systems, and water infrastructure projects, helping clients achieve more efficient processes tied to land and properties, roads and underground infrastructures management; development of 3D GIS in the cloud applications that can be accessed by web browsers, iPad and Smartphones; and development of state-of-the-art civil engineering design software CivilCAD.

Sivan Design group of companies includes Sivan Design D.S Ltd (Israel), Sivan Design INC (California, USA), Sivan Design D.S Ltd (Nigeria) and Sivan Design Uganda Ltd. While the Israeli company focuses on products development and centralises the expertise, other companies in the group utilise the technology and knowhow, implement the solutions in the various projects, support the client and help on capacity building. The company has lately expended its activities to Kenya and Uganda. The group currently operates in Israel, US, India, Romania, Nigeria, Belgium, Kenya, Costa-Rica, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia.

Please tell us about some of your ongoing/recently completed projects.

Sivan Design has completed several successful IT projects during the last decade, for the following authorities in Nigeria: Office of the Surveyor General of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Works, Federal Capital Development Authority and Ministry of Lands and Survey. Recently, two of the company’s projects were commissioned in Niger State and Bauchi State by His Excellency the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and by His Excellency Vice President Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo.

The company’s main project is FELIS (Federal Lands Information System) for the Federal Ministry of Housing, Environment & Urban Development, Nigeria. FELIS is a multi-phase long term turnkey project. It began with going over and arranging paper title files, scanning, uploading, processing and binding of relevant data, and ended with creating a mechanism that allows every Nigerian to retrieve basic geospatial information online from the FELIS website, for free. Sivan Design is also delivering RIMS (Road Information Management System), which is a world-bank project for Kaduna State (Nigeria) in association with MNM Engineering Ltd.

Apart from Nigeria, Sivan Design has also been entrusted with the task of delivering Zambia’s land information system. In Uganda, we are developing UNRA (Uganda National Road Authority) CMS (Online Integrated Analytical Contract Management System) to manage civil engineering contracts and enhance performance management information for UNRA executives through comprehensive, quick, accurate, integrative and up-to-date capabilities.

What is Sivan Design’s field of activity in Africa and what are the various verticals that you target for your growth?

Some of the industries that Sivan Design currently operates in include:

  • Utilities/Communications (Water/Irrigation, Sewage/Drainage, Oil and Gas, Electric, Cables, Telecommunications)
  • Government (Federal, State and Local Authorities, Land Administration, National Mapping, Urban Planning, Economic Development)
  • Transportation (Roads and Highways, Railways)
  • AEC (Civil Engineering, Surveying)

Apart from the above, we are looking at power, agriculture, mines and education markets for our growth and expansion of GIS services in Africa.

Land Management has always been a major field of activity in Africa. What are the challenges in the field of land management and how does geospatial technology helps tackle those challenges?

Land Management is indeed a very important activity in Africa and is replete with a lot of challenges. Some of the major challenges in the field of land management can be classified as under:

  • Implementation challenges: The implementation challenges in the field of land management include a fear of change, low level of acceptance of computerised systems, definition of new roles and taking ownership on the system and content
  • Lack of citizen trust
  • Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) – debt collection
  • Legal framework – Traditional rulers cooperation
  • Infrastructure – Lack of basic infrastructure like internet and electricity
  • R&D – flexible design to fit local requirements
  • Manpower and capacity building – Handing over operations
  • Long term contracts/ PPP model – Maintenance & support

What are the most promising verticals for the use of geospatial technology in Africa?

Over the past decade or so, geospatial technology has begun to be implemented across various verticals. These days, the technology has become an inseparable component of most verticals and acts as a vital cog in the implementation of most projects across various departments. However, there are still a few areas like land management and road information systems where the use of this technology is widely seen.

What are your future plans in Africa? How do you see your company a few years down the line?

Sivan Design is trying to expand its presence to the rapidly developing countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Uganda. In addition, we are also developing a new 3D GIS tool which will enable us to penetrate to international markets outside Africa.