Taming the lion in the heart of Africa: a look at freight logistics

A look at freight logistics
A look at freight logistics

Africa is experiencing an era of change, one that presents immense opportunities in the prospects for trade and investment and its governments are actively working to break down barriers, as Marco Sorgetti, Director General of FIATA, explains

Investment is pouring into Africa both in terms of hard infrastructure such as road and rail, as well as the soft initiatives that are being implemented and which include trade policies essential for the purposes of improving transport networks.

South Africa, accounting for 40 per cent of Sub-Saharan GDP, leads the way as the top African Country for UK exporters followed by Nigeria (37 per cent), Egypt (35 per cent), Ghana (24 per cent) and Kenya (23 per cent). [1] The UK exports a wide range of products across the region, particularly manufactured products, which are shipped mostly to Southern and West Africa. [2] It is also beneficial that UK-based firms have a strong presence in South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Angola, Kenya, Ghana and Senegal where the UK’s share of goods is typically around five per cent of total imports.

Over the years an interesting opportunity has presented itself in Nigeria. As the UK’s second-largest trading partner, the country has immense potential, given that it is the most populous country in Africa and is experiencing immense economic growth. It does, however, have its work cut out for it before it can compete as a regional trade hub or a gateway to other African markets. Nigeria ranks 12th and 16th respectively in Barclay’s Trade Index categories of trade openness and intra-African connectivity, plagued mostly by lack of transport infrastructure and non-tariff trade barriers.[3]

Its complex business environment makes it difficult to penetrate the market and understand the demands on traders. Despite these setbacks, the situation is likely to improve through the new leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is cleaning the State of corruption and making it a more attractive environment to conduct business.

Credit: FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, was founded in Vienna, Austria on May 31st 1926. It is a non-governmental organisation that today represents an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing around 10 million people in some 160 countries. For further information please visit www.fiata.com