by Ciaran Fagan

Great opportunities in logistics

Africa's resistance to the affects of global economics is a boon

Logistics in Africa outperforms peers in economic growth

DHL Express, the world’s leading logistics company, says that figures recently released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the company’s own shipment numbers, reveal an extremely positive economic outlook for Africa and to an extent, South Africa. The figures also highlight the fact that Africa is proving to be less susceptible than other regions to the peaks and troughs in the global economy, as it increasingly looks to diversify its trading partners.

The IMFs Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa report found that economic activity in the region is projected to expand by about 5% in 2012 and 2013, a similar pace to that observed in 2010 and 2011. In addition, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that the African continent continues to outperform its peers, posting impressive growth in the third quarter. It was also reported by the IATA that African airlines transporting freight in the region witnessed a 10.2% increase in demand in August, continuing 2012s positive growth trend.

According to Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, these findings are echoed by DHL Express’ own shipment numbers across Africa, which provide a good proxy for trade activity on the continent. “We have seen strong double digit growth in Africa as well as South Africa, which reaffirms the country’s status as an integral role player when it comes to trade on the continent.

“Although exporters to Africa are increasingly taking their products directly into many African countries, South Africa remains an important entry point into the continent, particularly to our immediate neighbours.”

Brewer says that the recent numbers highlight the fact that the move by many African countries to diversify their trading partners is paying dividends. “Since 2001, South Africa and many other African countries have seen a significant shift in trade partners. Our dependency on Europe has been reduced, while trade with Asia as well as intra-Africa has picked up significantly. This is proving to be extremely positive, in light of the economic pressure Europe is currently experiencing”.

He adds that it is also extremely positive that emerging markets such as those in Africa continue to outpace the Western economies and, set against a backdrop of continued global economic uncertainty, job stagnation, and a global debt crisis, shows the continued and increasing importance of Africa in the world economy.

Brewer says that DHLs figures reveal that within Africa the oil and energy sector are major contributors to trade and the economy, as are the automotive, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. 

“While still relatively small, DHL expects significant trade growth to come from the technology sector as thousands of mobile handsets, tablets, televisions, laptops and computers begin to permeate the continent.”

He concludes that recent data confirms the huge opportunities that exist for companies doing business in Africa, as well as the risks they face. “Sub-Saharan Africa undoubtedly provides numerous opportunities, but there are still significant challenges around infrastructure, labour relations and the ease of cross-border trade within the region which need to be improved in order to facilitate the growth required on the continent.”

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Issue 39