“Africa is not only the last frontier but possibly the biggest frontier for business”. This statement was made by Ken Allen, Global CEO for DHL Express, while recently driving through Johannesburg. It’s a statement that probably best highlights how serious Africa is being taken in the global boardrooms of large corporations.
Charles Brewer, managing director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, shares his sentiment and adds: “More than ever, companies are now looking to expand into Africa. More than ever, companies are looking to invest in its diverse markets. More than ever, commercial opportunities abound across the continent. It’s clearly time for Africa…”
These optimistic statements follow a story we carried in last week’s edition where Abré van Buuren, SAPICS member and training manager for Imperial Health Sciences’ (IHS) Africa Supply Chain Academy, said that while business may be slowing elsewhere, Africa is booming with many supply chain opportunities for the entrepreneurial investor who’s keen to meet distribution needs in developing countries.
“What’s needed now are innovative solutions that will work well in the unique African context. It’s a time for entrepreneurs and for those willing to work hard, the pay-off will be big,” said Van Buuren.
Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading postal and express group, recently announced its full year results and the group posted revenues of more than EUR 55-billion with boosted profitability once again in 2013. These improvements have been particularly attributed to the company’s exceptional market position in the world’s emerging markets, including Africa.
“DHL Express is the market leader across Africa and our footprint and continued investment in the continent is testament to that. During 2013, we continued with our expansion plans throughout sub-Saharan Africa, investing heavily in facilities and increasing our vehicle and aviation fleet. We have continued to showcase our commitment to Africa and have a firm belief and vested interest in Africa delivering on its obvious promise,” says Brewer.
He also points to the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017 report, which reveals that Africa is estimated to be the fastest growing region globally over the forecast period, with an expected five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.0%, while a growth rate of 3.2% (CAGR) is expected for international freight volumes.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecasted economic growth of 2.8% in 2014 for South Africa and 6.1% for the sub-Saharan African (SSA) region, and with the continued growth from intra-Africa and international trade, the outlook for the sub-Saharan Africa logistics industry is extremely positive,” says Brewer.
He says the routes expected to experience the most significant growth in Africa in 2014 are linked to the fastest growing markets which include Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.
Brewer attributes DHL’s positive trade forecast to more than just the economic statistics, and adds that “Africa is an unbelievably entrepreneurial and dynamic continent and I firmly believe that the SMEs will be the engine of growth for the years ahead”.