Swaziland – bordering South Africa and Mozambique with a population of only 1.2 million, is the country hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. 25% of the adult population and a staggering 40% of mothers are affected by the virus. Swaziland has also seen its life expectancy drop from an average of 58 years in 2000, down to 50 years in 2011. Part of this is because of extreme poverty, lack of education, and limited healthcare.
But there is hope and Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) plays a significant role in the development of rural Swaziland with over 6,000 people currently involved in sugar cane production. The importance of the sugar sector to Swaziland’s economy is unprecedented, accounting for 59% of agricultural output, 18% of GDP, and 35% of agricultural wage employment. Since RSSC produces two-thirds of the nations’ sugar, they’re afforded the opportunity to give back to the community by providing for the people in many ways:
- Managed housing for ALL employees and dependents within the estates’ various towns and villages. Aside from employees, another 20,000 people live on the estates as well.
- Two healthcare facilities focused on primary healthcare and HIV and TB prevention
- 1st class primary education for the children at a private, English speaking school (and much more)
RSSC’s vision is to be a leading producer and marketer of sugar and renewable energy, so they turned to SAP (becoming the first SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA <SoH> customer in Africa). The challenge? To revamp and simplify their IT landscape through modernization focused on eliminating disparate systems and reducing costs from lack of visibility and over expenditure.
“SAP as a company stood out from an innovation and cost standpoint and because of its global presence. From a technology platform perspective, SAP’s SoH could deliver on RSSC’s requirements for the future,” said Rob Coombe, RSSC Group IT Manager.
RSSC aims to reduce the planning process from two weeks, to a few hours. And the company will also gain immediate visibility into areas where value is lost. From a leak in a pipe, to more accurate predictions on amounts of water and sugar cane required for the factory, these estimates could cost RSSC over $100,000 per day if not on target. “We can now dedicate more time and resources to innovation and less to ‘keeping the lights on’. With SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA we now have a modern, competitive analytics engine with comprehensive integration, so we can offer more benefits to the farm, the factory, and the families here at RSSC.”
In the future, Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation intends to integrate with myAgri® Agriculture Management Software, SAP’s Farming Solution, allowing for continued innovation with an organization that is providing a positive footprint through housing, healthcare, and education in a nation that needs it. Recent stats show that Swaziland is in the stabilization phase of its HIV epidemic with infection rates dropping slightly from 2008 to 2013 and with companies like RSSC doing their part; the Swazis can keep hope alive.