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How entrepreneurship can secure the future of Africa’s youth

Entrepreneurship is the key to achieving economic growth in Africa. Today, the continent boasts the highest percentage of entrepreneurs among working-age adults in the world.
How entrepreneurship can secure the future of Africa’s youth
By Amadou Diallo |

Against the backdrop of rising unemployment and underemployment, and low-paying, unstable and hazardous sources of income, entrepreneurship has become one of the most sustainable job generation tools available to young people.

Bright young minds that can identify opportunities and deliver solutions are vigorously embracing this opportunity, and for a good reason: high levels of entrepreneurial activity may yield high returns in the future.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the global population will increase by about two billion over the next three decades, with half of that growth coming from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The region’s population is projected to double from nearly one billion to two billion, making it potentially one of the world’s most dynamic economies. It will also have the world's youngest population, so its entrepreneurs must be cushioned against future economic shockwaves.

Here are a few ways to further encourage and protect youth entrepreneurship in the region.

Nurture entrepreneurial competence

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), youth in SSA have the highest levels of perceived entrepreneurial competence across four indicators – self-efficacy, opportunity alertness, risk-willingness, and access to a role model. The GEM research also shows that individuals in factor-driven economies, such as in the SSA region, tend to grasp entrepreneurial opportunities better than those in innovation-driven economies like those in the European Economic Community (EEC), among others.

Data shows that the proportion of young entrepreneurs and new businesses is rising. While established businesses play a pivotal role in preserving stability, entrepreneurship – especially when youth-led – adds vitality and buoyancy to the economy.

However, it’s important to note that young entrepreneurs in SSA continue to be hampered by an environment where access to basic needs is still restricted. We must create incentives and support to facilitate entry into entrepreneurship, especially by younger entrepreneurs with moderate to high growth expectations.

One such support program is the #Grenzenlosetraeume initiative, which I personally support. The program focuses on assisting youth on the continent with skills development and job creation. #Grenzenlosetraeume is an Amref Germany – Healthy Africa program and aligns with the key objective of enabling people to shape their own development.

According to an AU Policy Brief released in 2020, further assistance can be rendered through policy actions that include member nations formulating a national youth entrepreneurship strategy, facilitating technology exchange and innovation, and attracting public and private partnerships. The brief further suggests that policymakers collaborate with young pioneers to optimize the regulatory environment. These may include, among other things, preferential procurement for youth entrepreneurs, tax incentives, and other policy changes to increase the ease of doing business and accessing markets.

Mentorship

Start-up support organizations, such as business hubs and incubators, are crucial to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They provide advice and training in key areas such as business skills, infrastructure, market linkage, and financing. They also afford entrepreneurs and founders access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) that help increase business productivity and market reach across sectors.

Mentorship is a crucial element in the success of young entrepreneurs in the region because mentors understand market opportunities and, more importantly, the viability of the product and services. Such support combines the knowledge of experienced entrepreneurs with the energy and efficiency of young ones to drive business growth and improve the chances of a start-up's success.

Finance

Blended finance, an approach that combines concessional financing and commercial funding, is one way to provide entrepreneurs with access to capital needed for growth. Concessional financing extends loans on a more generous basis than market loans. According to the Centre for Strategic International Studies, blended finance has mobilized approximately USD 161 billion in private capital to date. It is one of several tools to mitigate risk and facilitate financing with the potential to generate social benefits. While SSA has long been the dominant region for blended finance transactions, making actual progress requires more widespread adoption of this finance philosophy.

Fortunately, from a funding perspective, the prognosis looks generally positive. According to the African Tech Start-up Funding Report, tech start-ups saw a record number of investments, with Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt the premier investment destinations.

Access to continental and intercontinental markets

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2018 created one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, and it is forecast to boost output by $29 trillion by 2050. This proves that job and wealth creation in Africa are indeed possible, and AfCFTA’s combined technology, talents, and collaboration are the key to realising them.

AfCFTA is a gamechanger for African regional and international trade. It will create entrepreneurship opportunities for young men and women by increasing efficiency and eliminating trade barriers. Yet its success hinges on the involvement of the youth and making use of the opportunities the agreement presents.

During a unique pan-African virtual conversation convened by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and YouLead recently, more than 900 young Africans from across the continent indicated that they’re up for the AfCFTA challenge. This strongly suggests that the continent’s young entrepreneurs actively embrace the ideal of making the One African Market a reality through the free trade area.

Digitalization is the key to sustained growth

The World Economic Forum notes that limited infrastructure means that the smartphone is often the best gateway to everyday services, finance and business functions. This reality has forced the continent to innovate and has propelled Africa to the forefront of the new digital economy, leapfrogging over the rest of world. Meanwhile, the next generation of infrastructure is off to an excellent start. Millions of dollars have been invested into tech cities, co-working spaces, investment funds, and entrepreneurship workshops.

One example is an e-commerce and international trade workshop known as GoTrade.  The program aims to help African SMEs connect with overseas markets, with GoTrade providing logistical support to help them reach these markets.

A bright future beckons

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s statistics show that the African continent has the youngest population globally, with 65% below 25 and a median age of 19.6 years. Most governments in the region support intensified entrepreneurial activity because of its potential to bring about economic benefits and improve social cohesion.

With a third of all global youth expected to live in Africa by 2050, governments and businesses alike have the responsibility to assist them with developing long-term growth plans. Nurturing, mentoring, and financing entrepreneurial competence is therefore critical. We need innovative ways to survive the economic slowdown and seek out novel market opportunities to protect young business owners from future disruptions.

The pandemic reminded us how fragile the future could be, but I’m optimistic that Africa’s future is bright given the entrepreneurial talent developing across the continent.

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Against the backdrop of rising unemployment and underemployment, and low-paying, unstable and hazardous sources of income, entrepreneurship has become one of the most sustainable job generation tools available to young people.

Bright young minds that can identify opportunities and deliver solutions are vigorously embracing this opportunity, and for a good reason: high levels of entrepreneurial activity may yield high returns in the future.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the global population will increase by about two billion over the next three decades, with half of that growth coming from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The region’s population is projected to double from nearly one billion to two billion, making it potentially one of the world’s most dynamic economies. It will also have the world’s youngest population, so its entrepreneurs must be cushioned against future economic shockwaves.

Here are a few ways to further encourage and protect youth entrepreneurship in the region.

Nurture entrepreneurial competence

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), youth in SSA have the highest levels of perceived entrepreneurial competence across four indicators – self-efficacy, opportunity alertness, risk-willingness, and access to a role model. The GEM research also shows that individuals in factor-driven economies, such as in the SSA region, tend to grasp entrepreneurial opportunities better than those in innovation-driven economies like those in the European Economic Community (EEC), among others.

Data shows that the proportion of young entrepreneurs and new businesses is rising. While established businesses play a pivotal role in preserving stability, entrepreneurship – especially when youth-led – adds vitality and buoyancy to the economy.

However, it’s important to note that young entrepreneurs in SSA continue to be hampered by an environment where access to basic needs is still restricted. We must create incentives and support to facilitate entry into entrepreneurship, especially by younger entrepreneurs with moderate to high growth expectations.

One such support program is the #Grenzenlosetraeume initiative, which I personally support. The program focuses on assisting youth on the continent with skills development and job creation. #Grenzenlosetraeume is an Amref Germany – Healthy Africa program and aligns with the key objective of enabling people to shape their own development.

According to an AU Policy Brief released in 2020, further assistance can be rendered through policy actions that include member nations formulating a national youth entrepreneurship strategy, facilitating technology exchange and innovation, and attracting public and private partnerships. The brief further suggests that policymakers collaborate with young pioneers to optimize the regulatory environment. These may include, among other things, preferential procurement for youth entrepreneurs, tax incentives, and other policy changes to increase the ease of doing business and accessing markets.

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Key points include adopting sustainable business models, leveraging technology, and having a global mindset.

All across Africa, bright young people work every day to create a better, greener, more prosperous future. Demographically, the continent is younger than any other – and the Ouagadougou Partnership estimates that Africa will account for more than half of the world’s population growth between today and 2050.

These young people are eager to apply their energy, creativity and innovation, so naturally, entrepreneurship is also on the rise. According to comprehensive research by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Stanford University, Africa currently boasts the highest percentage of entrepreneurs among working-age adults anywhere in the world.

To have the best chance at succeeding in business and making a real change in their regions – especially in the wake of the Covid crisis – up-and-coming entrepreneurs will need to contend with a range of complex considerations. Here are five of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

Thinking beyond borders

Africa’s borders have long been a limiting factor for development. The borders, many of which were imposed by European and US colonial powers in the 1884 Berlin Conference, crisscross the continent in completely arbitrary ways. These borders have changed very little since, and they continue to divide local cultures and ethnic and linguistic groups, presenting an obstacle to collaboration and commerce.

While borders have limited the ability of African people to determine their futures, the recent African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises a better future. Companies of all sizes, from small businesses to multinationals, can now trade without limitations across Africa. The UN Economic Commission for Africa expects the agreement to boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.

Cutting the red tape and putting an end to tariffs puts the next generation of entrepreneurs in an excellent position to transform the continent. For the best chance at success, I recommend that businesses think outside of the box and use the newfound freedom that the AfCFTA provides to find new, borderless opportunities.

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Out with the old, in with the digital

Since the year 2000, the number of internet users on the continent has grown by fifty times, according to Brookings. The same data suggests that mobile technologies are responsible for 1.7 million jobs and US$144 billion of the continent’s economy – around 8.5 percent of its GDP.

At DHL, we are working toward systematic digitalisation as part of our Strategy 2025 to provide businesses of all types with the best possible logistics experience. DHL’s Saloodo! is already the first digital marketplace to offer road freight connection between the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, leveraging technology to enable greater transparency at every step of the process.

We have also recently expanded our digital platform, myDHLi, which provides customers with full visibility and control over ocean and air freight. The digital platform makes it simple to get a quote, book and track a shipment, and even review documents and analytics, and it has driven a 56 percent increase in online bookings.

The continent’s burgeoning tech industry has also responded admirably to the Covid crisis – the World Health Organisation reported that 12.8 percent of all new or modified technology developed to respond to COVID-19 is African.

Even non-tech businesses benefit from making use of modern technology. Digitalisation streamlines, simplifies, and integrates businesses in ways that weren’t possible before. For example, South Africa-based inclusive doll manufacturer Malaville Toys has used social media and e-commerce to reach an international audience of collectors.

However, affordable Internet access and reliable power are still major issues. Together, entrepreneurs, businesses and governments will all have a role to play in ensuring that everybody on the continent has access to tech. In turn, this will further widen the market for entrepreneurs and stimulate the economy.

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Logistics: making the world smaller

The world is more connected than ever, and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need to understand that everything they do has a global context. At DHL, we’re constantly reminding ourselves to “think global, act local.” Being aware of the bigger picture can reveal otherwise invisible opportunities, such as selling into more mature markets overseas.

For example, our GoTrade program takes businesses from selling locally to selling to customers around the globe using the power of our logistics network. Now, small- and medium-sized businesses in African countries which were previously behind on globalisation can access countless new opportunities in developed markets.

Logistics is the engine that drives our global world, building ties between regions and establishing cross-border trade pathways that create new opportunities and boost the economy. Some of the next generations of entrepreneurs will join me in the logistics industry, and I recommend linking up with businesses such as DHL, which have extensive market experience.

Currently, there are a significant number of entrepreneurs in Ethiopia joining the logistics industry. However, the country’s rapidly developing sector is still working to adopt global standards – a small hurdle, but one which could affect the speed of its growth. At DHL, we work with the World Trade Organisation and other trade alliances to give young logistics entrepreneurs a head-start on cross-border compliance and other potential obstacles.

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Funding for growing enterprises

Many businesses seek funding as a way to grow more quickly or cover costs during a critical period. Last year’s African Tech Startups Funding Report showed that there was a significant increase in the amount of funding that businesses on the continent – especially in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa – were able to attract from investors.

In addition to traditional means of funding, such as bank loans, more modern forms are also becoming popular. Venture capital, for example, is gaining traction in Africa with estimates suggesting that the total investment in African businesses will exceed US$2.25 billion this year. Other forms of funding that are on the rise include microfinance and crowdfunding from digital providers, opening up a range of options for growing businesses.

Preparing for the future

We don’t know what’s coming next, as Covid has reminded us, but as we reckon with the effects of the pandemic, I remain optimistic. Africa’s future is bright. The continent is like a coiled spring, full of potential and ready to leap into action, and I can’t wait to see how tomorrow’s entrepreneurs shape the future.

The keys in the near future will be adopting sustainable business models, making the most of technology, maintaining a global mindset, and joining hands with experienced partners. There are lots still to do, like anywhere else, but the determination and creativity of Africa’s young people is reason alone to be optimistic about the years ahead.

This article is written by Amadou Diallo, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East and Africa. It was originally published here and was republished with permission.

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Mentorship

Start-up support organizations, such as business hubs and incubators, are crucial to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They provide advice and training in key areas such as business skills, infrastructure, market linkage, and financing. They also afford entrepreneurs and founders access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) that help increase business productivity and market reach across sectors.

Mentorship is a crucial element in the success of young entrepreneurs in the region because mentors understand market opportunities and, more importantly, the viability of the product and services. Such support combines the knowledge of experienced entrepreneurs with the energy and efficiency of young ones to drive business growth and improve the chances of a start-up’s success.

Finance

Blended finance, an approach that combines concessional financing and commercial funding, is one way to provide entrepreneurs with access to capital needed for growth. Concessional financing extends loans on a more generous basis than market loans. According to the Centre for Strategic International Studies, blended finance has mobilized approximately USD 161 billion in private capital to date. It is one of several tools to mitigate risk and facilitate financing with the potential to generate social benefits. While SSA has long been the dominant region for blended finance transactions, making actual progress requires more widespread adoption of this finance philosophy.

Fortunately, from a funding perspective, the prognosis looks generally positive. According to the African Tech Start-up Funding Report, tech start-ups saw a record number of investments, with Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt the premier investment destinations.

Access to continental and intercontinental markets

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2018 created one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, and it is forecast to boost output by $29 trillion by 2050. This proves that job and wealth creation in Africa are indeed possible, and AfCFTA’s combined technology, talents, and collaboration are the key to realising them.

AfCFTA is a gamechanger for African regional and international trade. It will create entrepreneurship opportunities for young men and women by increasing efficiency and eliminating trade barriers. Yet its success hinges on the involvement of the youth and making use of the opportunities the agreement presents.

During a unique pan-African virtual conversation convened by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and YouLead recently, more than 900 young Africans from across the continent indicated that they’re up for the AfCFTA challenge. This strongly suggests that the continent’s young entrepreneurs actively embrace the ideal of making the One African Market a reality through the free trade area.

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The rise of multimodal corridors in Africa is a massive boost for trade within the continent, allowing countries to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

From a two-story specialty coffee house in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, a barista uses a mobile app to order fresh coffee beans from a plantation nestled over 500 kilometers away on the outskirts of the scenic Mambilla Plateau.

She tracks her order in real time using a GPS function and receives her package within days. Some years back, such a delivery would have taken at least two weeks to complete.

Achieving this in a matter of days is a clear by-product of the country’s burgeoning e-commerce scene, which is expected to hit US$75 billion (€67.15 billion) by 2025.

And Nigeria’s e-commerce awakening is a phenomenon observed across the region.

With a fast-growing youth population, expanding middle-class and the second-largest Internet user population in the world, Africa is fast on its way to becoming a global powerhouse in online retail.

The rise of multimodal corridors in recent years, in particular, has played a significant role in transforming supply chains within the continent, which have long been held back by poor infrastructure and an outdated logistics framework.

They also help to link coastal countries to the hinterlands, allowing African countries to reap the benefits of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Here are six logistics corridors that are putting Africa on the global trade map.

1. Tangier-Agadir Corridor

Sitting in the northern part of Africa, the Tangier-Agadir Corridor comprises the Tanger Med Port and Free Zone, the 350 km Tangier-Casablanca rail, and an 800 km expressway.

New vehicles waiting for loading at the port of Tanger Med, Africa's largest port
New vehicles waiting for loading at the port of Tanger Med, Africa’s largest port

With an unparalleled port capacity of almost 4.8 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2019, the Tanger Med port along the Strait of Gibraltar has allowed Morocco to capitalize on the growing transshipment market in the region — making it the biggest port in Africa.

By 2028, it will become the largest container port in the Mediterranean, thanks to expansion plans to raise the port’s annual capacity to 9 million TEUs.

The Tanger Free Zone (TFZ)’s four export-oriented free trade zones have also attracted hundreds of foreign companies from the automotive, aeronautics and textile sectors hoping to target the European market.

This has transformed the local automobile sector, which in 2017 became Morocco’s top export sector.

The vast potential of the corridor has caught the attention of third-party logistics players like DHL Global Forwarding, which set up a logistics hub in Tanger Med port last year.

The 6,000 square-meter facility is the company’s largest facility in Morocco, serving as a gateway to international markets like Europe, North and West Africa. On top of air, sea and road freight services, the facility also specializes in customs clearance facilitation and supply chain management.

Another key feature of the TFZ is the Tangier-Casablanca rail which connects five free-trade zones to the port, bringing together over 800 businesses while creating revenues of almost US$7.1 billion.

2. Djibouti-Addis Ababa Corridor

The Djibouti-Addis Ababa Corridor on the eastern tip of Africa is home to the continent’s most technologically advanced container terminal.

It also includes the 4,800-hectare Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ), the largest free trade zone in Africa, which will be opening in phases leading up to 2028.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Strategically located at the mouth of the Bab el Mandeb Strait, the biggest shipping lane between Asia and Europe, the Doraleh Port is the jewel crown of Ethiopia’s sea trade. About 95 percent of its imports come through the zone.

Djibouti’s location at the entrance of the Red Sea means it is exceptionally well-placed along major trading routes. About 10 percent of oil exports and 20 percent of commercial goods pass through the narrow strait right off Djibouti’s coast on their way to and from the Suez Canal.

Another important feature of the corridor is the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway which connects businesses to industrial hubs across Ethiopia. The 728 km line has cut journey times between the destinations from four days to 12 hours.

3. Abidjan-Lagos Corridor

Spanning the southern Atlantic shores of the Ivory Coast, the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor stretches across more than 1,000 km of roads.

Work on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway is underway — a six-lane motorway that will connect five of Africa’s largest and most economically vibrant cities: Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé, and Lagos.

Jointly funded by The ECOWAS Commission, the African Development Bank and the European Union, the highway will allow landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to gain access to thriving seaports in West Africa.

The project is expected to spur economic development in the area with the development of economic zones like logistics centers and industrial zones, along with cross-border and regional markets.

It is estimated that the development will bring together more than 30 million urban dwellers and drive almost 75 percent of the region’s economic activity.

4. Mombasa-Kigali Corridor

Over on the south-eastern coast of Africa, the Mombasa-Kigali Corridor comprises the Mombasa Port, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway network, and over 1,700 km of roads that link both cities.

As Africa’s fifth-busiest port, the 1.1 million TEU Mombasa Port is the main trade gateway for the Eastern Africa region connecting Kenya with seven neighbors that include Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The Nairobi to Mombasa train on the historic Uganda railway line
The Nairobi to Mombasa train on the historic Uganda railway line

Its strategic location has helped to boost local businesses, and annual cargo traffic is expected to rise further from 32 million tons in 2018 to 47 million tons by 2025.

Another key element of the corridor is the US$3.8 billion Mombasa-Nairobi railway that connects Kenya to Uganda.

Running 470 km across nine port terminal stations, the rail allows containers to be loaded directly onto trains for transportation to Nairobi. It operates 14 freight trains per day carrying almost 750 TEUs of containers, while reducing travel time for freight from 12 days to only eight hours.

5. Durban-Lubumbashi Corridor

The region’s busiest corridor in terms of both values and freight, the Durban-Lubumbashi Corridor — also known as the North-South Corridor — is a combination of two traditional corridors connecting the port of Durban in Southern Africa to the Eastern Port of Dar es Salaam.

Durban Port stands out as one of the world’s leading container ports linked by rail and road to over seven African countries.

As the best-performing Sub-Saharan Africa port, Durban Port serves as the main gateway to the Gauteng province, one of South Africa’s leading economic hubs situated some 600 km from the port.

Durban Port
Durban Port

It is also the country’s main port for the automotive sector, overseeing 66 percent of vehicle manufacturers’ imports and exports.

In 2018, the port handled almost 2.7 million TEUs of containers, 10.7 million tons of dry bulk, 28 million tons of liquid bulk cargo, 455,000 units of automotive parts and 2.2 million tons of breakbulk cargo.

6. Moatize-Nacala Corridor

The Moatize-Nacala corridor is one of Mozambique’s main economic drivers, comprising a world-class deep sea port and a state-of-the-art railway network.

Started in 2012 by Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale and Mozambique’s state port and railway operator CFM, with support from Mitsui of Japan, the 912 km project connects northern Mozambique, southern Malawi and the Moatize coalfield.

The goal is to enable some 18 metric tons per annum of coal to be exported to key markets like Asia, Europe, India and the Americas.

When in full operation, the rail segment of the Nacala Logistics Corridor is expected to raise coal exports by a whopping 40 percent.

Apart from being the deepest port in Southern Africa, the Port of Nacala in northern Mozambique is also a key terminal for coal for the Moatize mine in the province of Tete.

RELATED ARTICLES


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With cooperation from its member countries, the landmark agreement could be a turning point for Africa’s underperforming intra-regional trade.

As promising as the future of Africa’s logistics framework looks, the glue that will hold it all together is ultimately the cooperation of governments, leaders and third-party logistics partners, explained Amadou Diallo, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Middle East and Africa.

“Just as Asia and Europe have done, Africa urgently needs to simplify operations and eliminate borders to accelerate intra-African trade and unleash an economic boom,” he said.

“This has to start and end with a complete policy engagement at the regional and sub-regional level. Working together as one will open up avenues for long-term growth, ultimately putting Africa on the world map for free and open trade.”

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From a two-story specialty coffee house in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, a barista uses a mobile app to order fresh coffee beans from a plantation nestled over 500 kilometers away on the outskirts of the scenic Mambilla Plateau.

She tracks her order in real time using a GPS function and receives her package within days. Some years back, such a delivery would have taken at least two weeks to complete.

Achieving this in a matter of days is a clear by-product of the country’s burgeoning e-commerce scene, which is expected to hit US$75 billion (€67.15 billion) by 2025.

And Nigeria’s e-commerce awakening is a phenomenon observed across the region.

With a fast-growing youth population, expanding middle-class and the second-largest Internet user population in the world, Africa is fast on its way to becoming a global powerhouse in online retail.

The rise of multimodal corridors in recent years, in particular, has played a significant role in transforming supply chains within the continent, which have long been held back by poor infrastructure and an outdated logistics framework.

They also help to link coastal countries to the hinterlands, allowing African countries to reap the benefits of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Here are six logistics corridors that are putting Africa on the global trade map.

1. Tangier-Agadir Corridor

Sitting in the northern part of Africa, the Tangier-Agadir Corridor comprises the Tanger Med Port and Free Zone, the 350 km Tangier-Casablanca rail, and an 800 km expressway.

New vehicles waiting for loading at the port of Tanger Med, Africa's largest port
New vehicles waiting for loading at the port of Tanger Med, Africa’s largest port

With an unparalleled port capacity of almost 4.8 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2019, the Tanger Med port along the Strait of Gibraltar has allowed Morocco to capitalize on the growing transshipment market in the region — making it the biggest port in Africa.

By 2028, it will become the largest container port in the Mediterranean, thanks to expansion plans to raise the port’s annual capacity to 9 million TEUs.

The Tanger Free Zone (TFZ)’s four export-oriented free trade zones have also attracted hundreds of foreign companies from the automotive, aeronautics and textile sectors hoping to target the European market.

This has transformed the local automobile sector, which in 2017 became Morocco’s top export sector.

The vast potential of the corridor has caught the attention of third-party logistics players like DHL Global Forwarding, which set up a logistics hub in Tanger Med port last year.

The 6,000 square-meter facility is the company’s largest facility in Morocco, serving as a gateway to international markets like Europe, North and West Africa. On top of air, sea and road freight services, the facility also specializes in customs clearance facilitation and supply chain management.

Another key feature of the TFZ is the Tangier-Casablanca rail which connects five free-trade zones to the port, bringing together over 800 businesses while creating revenues of almost US$7.1 billion.

2. Djibouti-Addis Ababa Corridor

The Djibouti-Addis Ababa Corridor on the eastern tip of Africa is home to the continent’s most technologically advanced container terminal.

It also includes the 4,800-hectare Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ), the largest free trade zone in Africa, which will be opening in phases leading up to 2028.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Strategically located at the mouth of the Bab el Mandeb Strait, the biggest shipping lane between Asia and Europe, the Doraleh Port is the jewel crown of Ethiopia’s sea trade. About 95 percent of its imports come through the zone.

Djibouti’s location at the entrance of the Red Sea means it is exceptionally well-placed along major trading routes. About 10 percent of oil exports and 20 percent of commercial goods pass through the narrow strait right off Djibouti’s coast on their way to and from the Suez Canal.

Another important feature of the corridor is the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway which connects businesses to industrial hubs across Ethiopia. The 728 km line has cut journey times between the destinations from four days to 12 hours.

3. Abidjan-Lagos Corridor

Spanning the southern Atlantic shores of the Ivory Coast, the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor stretches across more than 1,000 km of roads.

Work on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway is underway — a six-lane motorway that will connect five of Africa’s largest and most economically vibrant cities: Abidjan, Accra, Cotonou, Lomé, and Lagos.

Jointly funded by The ECOWAS Commission, the African Development Bank and the European Union, the highway will allow landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to gain access to thriving seaports in West Africa.

The project is expected to spur economic development in the area with the development of economic zones like logistics centers and industrial zones, along with cross-border and regional markets.

It is estimated that the development will bring together more than 30 million urban dwellers and drive almost 75 percent of the region’s economic activity.

4. Mombasa-Kigali Corridor

Over on the south-eastern coast of Africa, the Mombasa-Kigali Corridor comprises the Mombasa Port, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway network, and over 1,700 km of roads that link both cities.

As Africa’s fifth-busiest port, the 1.1 million TEU Mombasa Port is the main trade gateway for the Eastern Africa region connecting Kenya with seven neighbors that include Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The Nairobi to Mombasa train on the historic Uganda railway line
The Nairobi to Mombasa train on the historic Uganda railway line

Its strategic location has helped to boost local businesses, and annual cargo traffic is expected to rise further from 32 million tons in 2018 to 47 million tons by 2025.

Another key element of the corridor is the US$3.8 billion Mombasa-Nairobi railway that connects Kenya to Uganda.

Running 470 km across nine port terminal stations, the rail allows containers to be loaded directly onto trains for transportation to Nairobi. It operates 14 freight trains per day carrying almost 750 TEUs of containers, while reducing travel time for freight from 12 days to only eight hours.

5. Durban-Lubumbashi Corridor

The region’s busiest corridor in terms of both values and freight, the Durban-Lubumbashi Corridor — also known as the North-South Corridor — is a combination of two traditional corridors connecting the port of Durban in Southern Africa to the Eastern Port of Dar es Salaam.

Durban Port stands out as one of the world’s leading container ports linked by rail and road to over seven African countries.

As the best-performing Sub-Saharan Africa port, Durban Port serves as the main gateway to the Gauteng province, one of South Africa’s leading economic hubs situated some 600 km from the port.

Durban Port
Durban Port

It is also the country’s main port for the automotive sector, overseeing 66 percent of vehicle manufacturers’ imports and exports.

In 2018, the port handled almost 2.7 million TEUs of containers, 10.7 million tons of dry bulk, 28 million tons of liquid bulk cargo, 455,000 units of automotive parts and 2.2 million tons of breakbulk cargo.

6. Moatize-Nacala Corridor

The Moatize-Nacala corridor is one of Mozambique’s main economic drivers, comprising a world-class deep sea port and a state-of-the-art railway network.

Started in 2012 by Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale and Mozambique’s state port and railway operator CFM, with support from Mitsui of Japan, the 912 km project connects northern Mozambique, southern Malawi and the Moatize coalfield.

The goal is to enable some 18 metric tons per annum of coal to be exported to key markets like Asia, Europe, India and the Americas.

When in full operation, the rail segment of the Nacala Logistics Corridor is expected to raise coal exports by a whopping 40 percent.

Apart from being the deepest port in Southern Africa, the Port of Nacala in northern Mozambique is also a key terminal for coal for the Moatize mine in the province of Tete.

RELATED ARTICLES


Africa’s continental free trade agreement has finally launched. What now?
With cooperation from its member countries, the landmark agreement could be a turning point for Africa’s underperforming intra-regional trade.

As promising as the future of Africa’s logistics framework looks, the glue that will hold it all together is ultimately the cooperation of governments, leaders and third-party logistics partners, explained Amadou Diallo, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Middle East and Africa.

“Just as Asia and Europe have done, Africa urgently needs to simplify operations and eliminate borders to accelerate intra-African trade and unleash an economic boom,” he said.

“This has to start and end with a complete policy engagement at the regional and sub-regional level. Working together as one will open up avenues for long-term growth, ultimately putting Africa on the world map for free and open trade.”

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Digitalization is the key to sustained growth

The World Economic Forum notes that limited infrastructure means that the smartphone is often the best gateway to everyday services, finance and business functions. This reality has forced the continent to innovate and has propelled Africa to the forefront of the new digital economy, leapfrogging over the rest of world. Meanwhile, the next generation of infrastructure is off to an excellent start. Millions of dollars have been invested into tech cities, co-working spaces, investment funds, and entrepreneurship workshops.

One example is an e-commerce and international trade workshop known as GoTrade.  The program aims to help African SMEs connect with overseas markets, with GoTrade providing logistical support to help them reach these markets.

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As African businesses grapple with the impact of Covid-19, the new sustainability program by Deutsche Post DHL Group may be the answer to survival and sustainable growth.

Every spring, with the roses in full bloom, farmers in Kenya’s scenic Rift Valley would be knee-deep in the open fields, clipping tens of thousands of flowers to be shipped off to the rest of the world.

But this year has been different. The flower trade in Kenya, Africa’s largest flower exporter, has come to a near-standstill amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flower industry in Africa has dumped nearly 241,000 stems due to a slump in demand and supply chain disruptions, from delayed or canceled flights to higher freight costs. Several farms have also shuttered.

The industry’s plight is a snapshot of the hard-hitting impact the continent is grappling with because of the pandemic. Africa is headed for its first recession in 25 years, with its gross domestic product (GDP) forecasted to be -3.3 percent this year.

Often mired in red tape and corruption, developing countries in Africa already face global trade barriers and the pandemic has further hindered their access.

But at least one new partnership is hoping to lead the charge for change.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries access to global markets. The two parties pledged to invest €30 million in African trade over the next few years.

DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel announcing the GoTrade sustainability program during a virtual press conference
DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel announcing the GoTrade sustainability program during a virtual press conference

The goal is to reduce trade barriers and speed up digitalization, including pushing for e-commerce to boost cross-border trade between SMEs.

Signed in September 2020, the agreement comes under DPDHL Group’s latest group-wide sustainability program GoTrade, which aims to promote sustainable economic growth in developing countries.

“The corona crisis and the lockdown have disrupted supply chains in developing countries. Millions of companies are fighting for survival,” said Germany’s Federal Minister Gerd Müller. “Right now we have to keep economic cycles going.”

Tearing down trade barriers

Slow economic growth and rigid customs have long been hampering regional export in Africa — a market of huge potential, with its 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion (€2.13 trillion).

Currently, African businesses pay an average 6.1 percent of tariffs when exporting within the continent, higher than what they pay to export goods outside it. They are also hobbled by border bureaucracy and excessive regulations.

But the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) — launched in May 2019 with 54 African countries agreeing to create the world’s largest free trade zone — has been touted as a game changer. Set to be implemented in several phases by 2030, the deal will allow intra-African trade to flourish by progressively removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods.

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Africa’s continental free trade agreement has finally launched. What now?
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With Covid-19 plunging the economy into unprecedented chaos, Africa has moved to fast-track negotiations for the second and third phases of the agreement to support businesses. This involves discussions on the legalities and governance of e-commerce and digitalization, given that the pandemic has exposed businesses that lack online capabilities.

“We ignore digitalization at our own peril,” said Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA’s Secretary-General, in September.

This is where the GoTrade program can shine. African SMEs fumbling with red tape can expect help with their digitalization efforts, which will help tackle the current inefficiencies by smoothing out custom procedures.

“Cross-border trade creates prosperity, improves lives and connects people – but in many regions there are still major hurdles,” said DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel.

“Merchants who previously sold their goods regionally get access to customers around the world. For this purpose, we also started our new sustainability program GoTrade. The program engages especially in developing countries which have not yet benefited from globalization as much as others.”

Five countries — Morocco, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast — have been identified for the program’s initial implementation.

Africa’s businesses can count on digitalization to grow beyond borders.
Africa’s businesses can count on digitalization to grow beyond borders.

GoTrade will cooperate with public sector partners such as national governments and multinational organizations to initiate projects that help speed up customs clearance, reduce delays at borders, and generally reduce cross-border trade costs.

The program also aims to set up new e-commerce platforms, opening avenues to markets worldwide. This will bolster international trade and expand customer bases at a time when many businesses are struggling.

The power of digitalization

Going digital will unlock more opportunities for SMEs in a continent where access to the Internet and technology is quickly growing.

Internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa has jumped tenfold since the early 2000s, compared with a threefold increase in the rest of the world.

South Africa-based Malaville Toys is one startup that has leveraged its online presence to great effect. Founded by model-entrepreneur Mala Bryan in 2015, the doll-making business thrives on social media marketing campaigns, and products on its website often sell out quickly.

The dolls, which were created to better represent black women and have found fans worldwide, are exported via DHL Express’ network.

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Reach 220 countries and territories around the world, with easy shipping, preferential shipping rates, exclusive tools, and a trusted network!

“I wanted to be selling overseas because the people that had shown interest in my products come from all over the world,” she said. “I never focused on my local market, the moment I launched I was already focused on selling internationally online.”

As digitalization in the continent picks up pace, GoTrade is primed to help businesses ride a wave of growth.

The agreement will be a welcome boost to supply chains and trade relations disrupted by Covid-19, which has pushed a further 115 million people worldwide into poverty in 2020.

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Every spring, with the roses in full bloom, farmers in Kenya’s scenic Rift Valley would be knee-deep in the open fields, clipping tens of thousands of flowers to be shipped off to the rest of the world.

But this year has been different. The flower trade in Kenya, Africa’s largest flower exporter, has come to a near-standstill amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flower industry in Africa has dumped nearly 241,000 stems due to a slump in demand and supply chain disruptions, from delayed or canceled flights to higher freight costs. Several farms have also shuttered.

The industry’s plight is a snapshot of the hard-hitting impact the continent is grappling with because of the pandemic. Africa is headed for its first recession in 25 years, with its gross domestic product (GDP) forecasted to be -3.3 percent this year.

Often mired in red tape and corruption, developing countries in Africa already face global trade barriers and the pandemic has further hindered their access.

But at least one new partnership is hoping to lead the charge for change.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries access to global markets. The two parties pledged to invest €30 million in African trade over the next few years.

DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel announcing the GoTrade sustainability program during a virtual press conference
DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel announcing the GoTrade sustainability program during a virtual press conference

The goal is to reduce trade barriers and speed up digitalization, including pushing for e-commerce to boost cross-border trade between SMEs.

Signed in September 2020, the agreement comes under DPDHL Group’s latest group-wide sustainability program GoTrade, which aims to promote sustainable economic growth in developing countries.

“The corona crisis and the lockdown have disrupted supply chains in developing countries. Millions of companies are fighting for survival,” said Germany’s Federal Minister Gerd Müller. “Right now we have to keep economic cycles going.”

Tearing down trade barriers

Slow economic growth and rigid customs have long been hampering regional export in Africa — a market of huge potential, with its 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion (€2.13 trillion).

Currently, African businesses pay an average 6.1 percent of tariffs when exporting within the continent, higher than what they pay to export goods outside it. They are also hobbled by border bureaucracy and excessive regulations.

But the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) — launched in May 2019 with 54 African countries agreeing to create the world’s largest free trade zone — has been touted as a game changer. Set to be implemented in several phases by 2030, the deal will allow intra-African trade to flourish by progressively removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods.

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With Covid-19 plunging the economy into unprecedented chaos, Africa has moved to fast-track negotiations for the second and third phases of the agreement to support businesses. This involves discussions on the legalities and governance of e-commerce and digitalization, given that the pandemic has exposed businesses that lack online capabilities.

“We ignore digitalization at our own peril,” said Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA’s Secretary-General, in September.

This is where the GoTrade program can shine. African SMEs fumbling with red tape can expect help with their digitalization efforts, which will help tackle the current inefficiencies by smoothing out custom procedures.

“Cross-border trade creates prosperity, improves lives and connects people – but in many regions there are still major hurdles,” said DPDHL Group CEO Frank Appel.

“Merchants who previously sold their goods regionally get access to customers around the world. For this purpose, we also started our new sustainability program GoTrade. The program engages especially in developing countries which have not yet benefited from globalization as much as others.”

Five countries — Morocco, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast — have been identified for the program’s initial implementation.

Africa’s businesses can count on digitalization to grow beyond borders.
Africa’s businesses can count on digitalization to grow beyond borders.

GoTrade will cooperate with public sector partners such as national governments and multinational organizations to initiate projects that help speed up customs clearance, reduce delays at borders, and generally reduce cross-border trade costs.

The program also aims to set up new e-commerce platforms, opening avenues to markets worldwide. This will bolster international trade and expand customer bases at a time when many businesses are struggling.

The power of digitalization

Going digital will unlock more opportunities for SMEs in a continent where access to the Internet and technology is quickly growing.

Internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa has jumped tenfold since the early 2000s, compared with a threefold increase in the rest of the world.

South Africa-based Malaville Toys is one startup that has leveraged its online presence to great effect. Founded by model-entrepreneur Mala Bryan in 2015, the doll-making business thrives on social media marketing campaigns, and products on its website often sell out quickly.

The dolls, which were created to better represent black women and have found fans worldwide, are exported via DHL Express’ network.

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“I wanted to be selling overseas because the people that had shown interest in my products come from all over the world,” she said. “I never focused on my local market, the moment I launched I was already focused on selling internationally online.”

As digitalization in the continent picks up pace, GoTrade is primed to help businesses ride a wave of growth.

The agreement will be a welcome boost to supply chains and trade relations disrupted by Covid-19, which has pushed a further 115 million people worldwide into poverty in 2020.

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DHL Africa eShop has expanded to serve 34 African countries in a bid to fulfill the continent’s growing demand for international consumer brands.

E-commerce is a vital lifeline for the US$25 trillion (€23 trillion) global retail industry today. This rang particularly true in the first quarter of 2020, as Covid-19 quarantines locked down countries across the globe, confining shoppers to their homes — and their screens.

E-commerce service provider Oberlo predicted that by 2023, shoppers will spend one in every five dollars online.

In recent years, emerging markets have become increasingly attractive to foreign players, observed a Euromonitor report. These include countries with growing middle-class, urban populations such as India, China and South Africa.

Zooming in on Africa, research by McKinsey projected that the continent’s consumer spending would reach US$2.1 trillion by 2025, representing the region’s “single largest business opportunity”.

Millenials using mobile phones
Younger digital natives accounted for over 25 percent of South Africa’s total population and millennials represented over 1.5 billion people in emerging markets this decade, Euromonitor reported.

Yet, millions of African consumers seem to have flown under the radar of most global brands. “At the moment, 90 percent of U.S. and U.K. retailers don’t sell in Africa,” said Chris Folayan, CEO of MallforAfrica in late 2018.

“These businesses have dismissed the continent for reasons I have no clue of — they just don’t see what [it] can do,” he added, affirming that a local partner could help businesses overcome challenges such as lack of infrastructure and corruption concerns.

In 2012, Folayan launched MallForAfrica to help friends and family to shop directly from international retailers’ online stores. In an interview with Discover DHL, the entrepreneur recalled his journey of growing MallForAfrica from simple lines of code to the disruptive e-commerce platform it is today, partnering with DHL Express to deliver purchased items straight to shoppers’ doorsteps.

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In April 2019, DHL Express took its partnership with MallForAfrica one step further. Partnering with Link Commerce, the company behind the platform, DHL Africa eShop was launched.

Opportunities abound to connect quality brands and products to African shoppers

Today, DHL Africa eShop is an e-commerce platform present in 34 African countries. These include Nigeria and South Africa, the continent’s online retail leaders, according to data provider Research and Markets.

Integrating the existing online retail and brokerage platforms developed by MallForAfrica and DHL Express’ global logistics network, DHL Africa eShop ships direct orders from overseas retailers to buyers on the continent.

DHL Africa eShop’s website displays the global retailers that customers can purchase from upon installing the app.

The e-commerce platform was launched amid stiff competition from market incumbents Jumia, Konga and Takealot. Global investor interest from the likes of Goldman Sachs and MTN had made Jumia’s owners, Africa Internet Group, the continent’s first unicorn startup in 2016.

However, the competitive and growing landscape has only fueled DHL’s interest in the market. The global logistics provider acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce just shy of a year from the launch, with Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, taking a spot on the investee firm’s board.

“Acquiring a stake in Link Commerce – the company behind the MallforAfrica.com platform – shows our tremendous support of e-commerce in Africa,” said Heymans. “It also positions us to realize our ambitions of growing the eShop offering globally.”

“With the DHL investment, we are now able to grow faster by leveraging the amazing shipping network DHL has built globally. This will help us expand our white-label turnkey B2B eCommerce platform and provide online shoppers with the ability to shop more at great shipping rates fast,” Folayan added.

Local market conditions in favor of e-commerce growth

According to Heymans, the e-commerce market in Sub-Saharan Africa currently offers some of the biggest potential for rapid growth in the world.

The success of DHL Africa eShop is testament to the demand. Since its launch and rapid spread across the region, tens of thousands of users have downloaded the DHL eShop Africa app.

“Awesome store selection and service. Shipping is super fast as expected from DHL. I will be needing a bigger closet!” posted user “Arim Mera” in a positive review.

DHL courier and shop owner in Africa
From one-man retail stands to global brands, a strong payments and logistics framework are key for success in today’s globalized, Internet-driven sector.

“Global e-commerce trade has exploded over the past few years with the advent of more free trade agreements being signed, the cost of getting online reducing globally, and more people being able to start their own e-commerce sites easily within minutes,” observed Folayan.

“Delivery has always been a huge factor in e-commerce success and we have seen shipments get to our customers faster year-over-year,” he added. “The world has seen a huge positive shift with no end in sight.”

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DHL Africa eShop
An innovative platform that connects shoppers with over 200 online retailers in the U.S. and UK, with all shipments delivered door-to-door by DHL Express.

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E-commerce is a vital lifeline for the US$25 trillion (€23 trillion) global retail industry today. This rang particularly true in the first quarter of 2020, as Covid-19 quarantines locked down countries across the globe, confining shoppers to their homes — and their screens.

E-commerce service provider Oberlo predicted that by 2023, shoppers will spend one in every five dollars online.

In recent years, emerging markets have become increasingly attractive to foreign players, observed a Euromonitor report. These include countries with growing middle-class, urban populations such as India, China and South Africa.

Zooming in on Africa, research by McKinsey projected that the continent’s consumer spending would reach US$2.1 trillion by 2025, representing the region’s “single largest business opportunity”.

Millenials using mobile phones
Younger digital natives accounted for over 25 percent of South Africa’s total population and millennials represented over 1.5 billion people in emerging markets this decade, Euromonitor reported.

Yet, millions of African consumers seem to have flown under the radar of most global brands. “At the moment, 90 percent of U.S. and U.K. retailers don’t sell in Africa,” said Chris Folayan, CEO of MallforAfrica in late 2018.

“These businesses have dismissed the continent for reasons I have no clue of — they just don’t see what [it] can do,” he added, affirming that a local partner could help businesses overcome challenges such as lack of infrastructure and corruption concerns.

In 2012, Folayan launched MallForAfrica to help friends and family to shop directly from international retailers’ online stores. In an interview with Discover DHL, the entrepreneur recalled his journey of growing MallForAfrica from simple lines of code to the disruptive e-commerce platform it is today, partnering with DHL Express to deliver purchased items straight to shoppers’ doorsteps.

RELATED ARTICLES


Serious about taking your brand global?
Reach 220 countries and territories around the world, with easy shipping, preferential shipping rates, exclusive tools, and a trusted network!

In April 2019, DHL Express took its partnership with MallForAfrica one step further. Partnering with Link Commerce, the company behind the platform, DHL Africa eShop was launched.

Opportunities abound to connect quality brands and products to African shoppers

Today, DHL Africa eShop is an e-commerce platform present in 34 African countries. These include Nigeria and South Africa, the continent’s online retail leaders, according to data provider Research and Markets.

Integrating the existing online retail and brokerage platforms developed by MallForAfrica and DHL Express’ global logistics network, DHL Africa eShop ships direct orders from overseas retailers to buyers on the continent.

DHL Africa eShop’s website displays the global retailers that customers can purchase from upon installing the app.

The e-commerce platform was launched amid stiff competition from market incumbents Jumia, Konga and Takealot. Global investor interest from the likes of Goldman Sachs and MTN had made Jumia’s owners, Africa Internet Group, the continent’s first unicorn startup in 2016.

However, the competitive and growing landscape has only fueled DHL’s interest in the market. The global logistics provider acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce just shy of a year from the launch, with Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, taking a spot on the investee firm’s board.

“Acquiring a stake in Link Commerce – the company behind the MallforAfrica.com platform – shows our tremendous support of e-commerce in Africa,” said Heymans. “It also positions us to realize our ambitions of growing the eShop offering globally.”

“With the DHL investment, we are now able to grow faster by leveraging the amazing shipping network DHL has built globally. This will help us expand our white-label turnkey B2B eCommerce platform and provide online shoppers with the ability to shop more at great shipping rates fast,” Folayan added.

Local market conditions in favor of e-commerce growth

According to Heymans, the e-commerce market in Sub-Saharan Africa currently offers some of the biggest potential for rapid growth in the world.

The success of DHL Africa eShop is testament to the demand. Since its launch and rapid spread across the region, tens of thousands of users have downloaded the DHL eShop Africa app.

“Awesome store selection and service. Shipping is super fast as expected from DHL. I will be needing a bigger closet!” posted user “Arim Mera” in a positive review.

DHL courier and shop owner in Africa
From one-man retail stands to global brands, a strong payments and logistics framework are key for success in today’s globalized, Internet-driven sector.

“Global e-commerce trade has exploded over the past few years with the advent of more free trade agreements being signed, the cost of getting online reducing globally, and more people being able to start their own e-commerce sites easily within minutes,” observed Folayan.

“Delivery has always been a huge factor in e-commerce success and we have seen shipments get to our customers faster year-over-year,” he added. “The world has seen a huge positive shift with no end in sight.”

RELATED ARTICLES


DHL Africa eShop
An innovative platform that connects shoppers with over 200 online retailers in the U.S. and UK, with all shipments delivered door-to-door by DHL Express.

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A bright future beckons

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s statistics show that the African continent has the youngest population globally, with 65% below 25 and a median age of 19.6 years. Most governments in the region support intensified entrepreneurial activity because of its potential to bring about economic benefits and improve social cohesion.

With a third of all global youth expected to live in Africa by 2050, governments and businesses alike have the responsibility to assist them with developing long-term growth plans. Nurturing, mentoring, and financing entrepreneurial competence is therefore critical. We need innovative ways to survive the economic slowdown and seek out novel market opportunities to protect young business owners from future disruptions.

The pandemic reminded us how fragile the future could be, but I’m optimistic that Africa’s future is bright given the entrepreneurial talent developing across the continent.

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