Infrastructure growth essential to enhance supply chains in Africa
Infrastructure growth that leads to new commerce and employment will enhance supply chains, and tech innovation will be key to reducing the cost of development in Africa said DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem during his meetings with three African heads of state in Dubai recently.
On the side lines of the Global Business Forum on Africa, Sulayem met with President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Vice President of Ghana Mahamudu Bawumia to discuss Africa’s growing trade potential.
Sulayem shed light on the company’s business plans for the continent, where its presence has grown from five to seven countries in the last two years, including Algeria, Egypt, Djibouti, Senegal, Mozambique, Rwanda and Somaliland.
DP World has partnered with local governments in all seven countries–developing trade infrastructure including ports, inland container depots (ICDs), customs processes and multimodal, seamless supply chains for ease of doing business. In Senegal, the company recently announced that it will build an integrated port, logistics and economic zone in Dakar for the creation of cargo and free movement of goods to support the country’s economic diversification, boosting non-resource exports.
“Africa’s trade potential is enormous, evident in the 400 per cent increase in trade between Africa and rest of the world in last two decades. Infrastructure development is more important than ever to maintain and increase this growth momentum. I’ve done several tours of Africa in recent years and always look forward to having meaningful discussions with leaders of governments eager to develop their trade potential. We’ve always maintained that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are the route to progress–they are an effective model to fund projects, especially those on infrastructure, while robust government policy and transparency are essential to its success. We’ve partnered with local governments in all our countries of operations in Africa. The Port of Maputo is an example of the power of partnerships–it’s well located to drive growth and a gateway to southern Africa’s vast economic hinterland. It has had a significant impact on the economy, employing 2000 people directly and 10,000 indirectly, while port volumes have grown 286 per cent since 2003. We also expect that technology will completely disrupt supply chains in the future–consider the implications of blockchain, the internet of things and autonomous ships–reducing the cost of trade and development in Africa too,” said Sulayem.
He added that there is also great potential for trade between African countries, while the continent’s free trade area is also becoming the world’s largest single free trade area by number of countries. But one out of four African countries rely on one or two commodities for 75 per cent of their export revenues and so a focus on economic diversification will be beneficial to future growth.