Uncharted African regions, sectors offer growth opportunities for SMEs — DHL

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Lagos –  DHL says there are vast opportunities on the African continent for progressive African entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage .

The company said in a on Monday in Lagos that this was in spite of the prediction by the World Bank that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will slow in 2015.

The statement noted that against the prediction, the region was still home to one of the fastest-growing middle class in the world.

It quoted Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as saying that one sector providing plentiful prospects was the agricultural industry.

It noted that the industry, Africa’s largest economic sector, representing 15 per cent of the continent’s total and more 100 billion dollars per year.

“It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of the globe’s available and vacant land is situated in SSA, which suggests that the sector still offers incredible growth,’’ the statement said.

Another industry seeing significant growth is the banking sector, which has grown extensively over the last decade and has become a substantial player in emerging-market banking, it said.
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The statement said that the rising middle class and ‘unbanked’ African consumers should continue to drive the industry.

“Other industries experiencing growth and offering prospects on the continent include technology, consumer goods and telecommunications.’’

It said that in addition to the thriving industries, Brewer identified five unexpected ‘boom towns’ and cities that are enjoying growth on the back of these industries, therefore providing opportunities for African businesses.

They are Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, which is second city and blossoming due to substantial growth in the food and agriculture sector.

It noted that many small and medium enterprises were setting up factories to locally produce products for both the domestic and export markets, with the main products being fruits, cereals, cotton, vegetable oil, soap and other artisanal products.

The other city is Ebène, Mauritius where it noted there was an up and coming technology hub which, due to its advanced infrastructure and , had attracted many financial institutions and international legal firms.

The statement said that in Uganda, Mbarara was a growing industrial town 280km from the capital, Kampala, which is located in the center of the farming district.

“As a result of its location, favourable climate and abundant land availability, it has attracted investors involved in the manufacturing of dairy products, as well as breweries and beverage companies expanding to the area.’’

It said that Farafenni in the Gambia, situated on the north bank of the Gambia River, about 120km inland from the capital Banjul, was home to numerous banks and insurance firms.

“It is experiencing fast growth mainly due to its geographical location on the main road between Dakar and Casamance (the southern area of Senegal), and its close proximity to the ferry to cross the Gambia River.’’

The statement said that Konza Techno City, Kenya had just finished its infrastructure phase.

It noted that the new technology city is situated 60km southeast of Nairobi and would focus on four economic sectors; namely education, life sciences, telecommunications and business process outsourcing.

It is predicted to significantly stimulate technology spending, investment and growth in Kenya, the statement said.

“DHL is present in every African country and territory, with 37 years of express logistics experience on the continent.

“With our extensive footprint in Africa, we are uniquely positioned to service these ‘boom towns’ and burgeoning industries,’’ it quoted Brewer as concluding.

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry and its family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain .

With more than 325,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, they connect people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows.

It specialises in solutions for growth markets and industries, including e-Commerce, technology, life and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail.

DHL, part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, generated revenues of more than 56 billion euros in 2014. (NAN)