Africa’s Moment Is Here

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I always say, when referring to Africa’s potential, we must take care to not look at the continent as a single entity. From the winelands in South Africa, to the exquisite coffee beans in Ethiopia and the breathtaking mountains in Rwanda, this continent is unimaginably diverse. Each nation within it possesses a vibrant, myriad of beliefs, languages, resources, talents, and complexities that drive new ideas – and should be nurtured if it is to reach its full potential.

The opportunities here are immense. However, stunted infrastructure, high-quality road, rail, and port networks, has hindered the ability for ideas and business to flow throughout the continent. Infrastructure is the lifeblood of trade, so addressing this problem is the single biggest way we can unlock Africa’s growth potential.

Commitment To The Continent

At DP World, this is the kind of transformation we are leading. From Senegal to Somaliland, Rwanda to Angola, we are enhancing the logistics and supply chain across Africa to improve the flow of trade – which will benefit the continent and the world beyond.

At Ndayane near Dakar, for example, we are investing over $1 billion to develop a brand new, state-of-the-art port and economic zone – the largest single private investment in the history of Senegal. Meanwhile, in Berbera, Somaliland, our new terminal is already delivering substantial economic benefits.

Over in Kigali, our facility is now a major centre for logistics in East Africa, acting as a vital trade gateway to the continent’s heartlands. In Luanda, Angola, we are investing $190 million in our multipurpose terminal to transform the port in to a key trade hub in the region. In the Democratic Republic of Congo we will build the country’s first deep-sea port at Banana.

These investments, as well as others in Mozambique, Algeria, and Egypt, are our commitment to Africa’s future. They are an investment in its people, creating jobs, skills, training, and social development while maximising opportunities for trade. Our achievements in the region are indicative of our belief in delivering for communities everywhere, by powering prosperity through sustainable activities.

But it is not just physical developments we are focused on. We must also keep driving the digitisation of trade.

The New Digital Landscape

By 2025, e-commerce revenue in Africa is set to be double what it was in 2020. In the next few years, millions more will be taking their livelihoods online. This is why we are taking trade into the digital era too.

Last year we launched, Africa’s new online marketplace. Connecting small traders to markets all over the globe, opens a world of new opportunities that are not dependent on local footfall, yet still generate valuable income for local jobs.

In this new, more digitised landscape, customers in other developing markets are just a few clicks away for the first time ever – imagine what new, previously untapped trade flows this will unveil. By breaking down traditional geographic barriers, and creating access to emerging markets, platforms such as have the potential to drive a paradigm shift in trade both from west to east and south to south. In fact, by 2030 south to south trade is expected to make up 30% of global trade.

Other tech innovations can further enhance this predicted growth by creating a unified domain for public and private collaboration for entities that previously would never share the same space. In other words, e-commerce turns local businesses into global ones.

Take the World Logistics Passport (WLP): the world’s first digital freight loyalty scheme. Designed to streamline cross-border trade, the WLP unites private companies and governments in one easy-to-use hub, with exclusive member benefits that make trade easier – and faster. For African economies targeting south-to-south growth, this will be key to unlocking global connectivity for a rising generation of entrepreneurs.

Looking Towards The Future

I believe partnerships like these are the way forward, as trade is always better when we work together. We see this day in, day out, in the work we are doing all over Africa – from communities on the ground right up to international trade relations. This collaborative spirit is why I believe the outlook for Africa is so promising – not to mention exciting

Source:| Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

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