Dubai’s DP World seeks to empower African traders on a global scale, provides a tool to monitor cargoes
- Africa’s business environment and infrastructure are modernizing as fast as opportunities present themselves.
- DP World aims to transform trade in Africa in part by investing heavily in digital infrastructure to help Africa keep up with demand.
- DP World also incorporated tools to reduce waiting times for container ships at some ports from five days to just a few hours, which is particularly valuable for perishables traders and those tapping the huge e-commerce market in Africa .
Have you ever wondered “why is Africa important to the world?”
Africa is important because the continent is rich in natural resources ranging from arable land, water, oil, natural gas, minerals, forests and wildlife. The continent is also home to a large proportion of the world’s natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable. But this is not the only reason, the continent is important today for its contribution to world trade by taking advantage of the resources it has.
But African trade is nothing new. Let’s look at the brief history of African trade. According to an African Business article published on October 1, 2021, the first evidence of African trade is described by Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC), who wrote about trade across the Sahara; a craft recorded in cave paintings dating back to 10,000 BC.
Cave paintings depicting mules and horse-drawn carts show that salt, ivory, animal skins and slaves were the main items traded north, while manufactured goods such as pottery, glass and metalwork was traded south.
Also, the introduction of technology that allowed humanity to move en masse—from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to a settled agrarian lifestyle—was the adoption of the plow, first in northeastern Africa (probably from near-east Asia). which also stimulated trade as surplus crops were exchanged. Agriculture also grew along the Nile Valley. Although often overshadowed by its Egyptian neighbors to the north, the Kingdom of Kush, just north of Khartoum, was a regional power in Africa for more than a thousand years. The Nubian Empire reached its peak in the second millennium BC, when it ruled a wide swath of territory along the Nile River in present-day Sudan, building more than 200 pyramids.
The pre-colonial era saw the rise and fall of a series of powerful civilizations in Africa, from Carthage in the north to Great Zimbabwe in the south, and in West Africa the empires of Songhai, Ghana and Mali.
Today Africa is famous for exporting its rich minerals worldwide, population growth and rising per capita income also make Africa a potential for imports.
But Africa’s business environment and infrastructure are modernizing as fast as opportunities present themselves according to DP World. Dubai’s DP World seeks to transform trade in Africa.
DP World aims to transform trade in Africa in part by investing heavily in digital infrastructure to help Africa keep up with demand.
This includes interbank interoperability programs and truck booking platforms, which have seen a reduction in large cash payments at ports, better scheduling and the availability of inland transport providers.
The company also introduced CARGOES to the region, aiming to bring more value to customers and governments. With CARGOES, traders can also access essential information about their cargo reserves. In a few simple steps, they can see how long a product will take to travel from the factory to the customer’s door, and what the cost will be. This allows everyone along the supply chain to securely book and pay to transport their goods, all from their phone.
Operating digitally is not only beneficial for merchants, but also eases the pressure on regulators. Digital platforms, such as CARGOES Customs, provide visibility, so customs officials can immediately see what is being transported, where it came from, where it stopped en route and the final destination. They can check that all the necessary paperwork has been completed and that the relevant import and customs duties have been paid. These factors speed up the import and export process, reducing potential bottlenecks and delays at borders.
Previously, it took weeks to track loading, invoicing, payments and vehicle booking. The varied terrain and diverse weather and travel conditions in Africa create unreliability in the transport industry due to the high probability of unforeseen conditions. Even when packing and drops are on schedule, the shipping industry is often challenged by delays.
Traffic jams, multiple checkpoints and toll stations add to the problems. This results in logistics companies losing a lot of time and money. Simply put, even after accounting for additional delays, further unforeseen delays cannot be ruled out.
Another big challenge is storage. The unfortunate plight of dismal storage facilities in Africa is no secret. Cargoes incur immense damage due to pest infested warehouses, leakage damage, lack of adequate storage space and more. This is more prevalent in the case of low margin freight and cargo. Also, governments use large warehouses to store grain, leaving very little space for cargo storage.
DP World also incorporated tools to enable companies to collaborate with customs and local banking institutions to make immediate payments to customers and introduced tracking services for trucking companies. This cuts container ship waiting times at some ports from five days to a matter of hours, which is particularly valuable for perishable goods traders and those tapping into the huge e-commerce market in Africa (which is projected to reach US revenue). 43 billion dollars this year).
With smartphones and internet technologies becoming increasingly accessible in Africa, the continent has become a lucrative market for the e-commerce industry. $6 billion as of 2019.
By 2022, Africa’s e-commerce industry is expected to generate revenue of $33.3 billion, following an increase of 19%. Next year, the industry will grow 14.7% to $38.2 billion. According to estimates made by Statista, e-commerce revenue in Africa will continue to increase between 2021 and 2025. By 2025, the entire e-commerce sector in Africa could reach a value of more than US$46.1 billion .
Africa is shaping up to be the next hot spot for internet-based businesses and DP World sees it. As smartphones and the Internet become more prevalent in African countries, the population has begun to shift to online shopping.