Hennie Heymans, the managing director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says the company firmly believes that the African continent is still one of the last frontiers for growth, and that the region will continue to grow as it has over the past decade due to the vast number of unexploited opportunities available for local and foreign investors.
“The drop in GDP growth for the region over the past year shouldn’t deter investors. Africa will continue to thrive, albeit, at a slightly slower pace as previously experienced. Similar to the global environment – which reported growth of 2.4% in 2015, down 0.2% year on year – it was a tough year economically for Africa. Compounded by a drop in the demand for the continent’s commodities resulting in falling prices, declining currencies, political instability and El Nino causing widespread drought, have all contributed to the region’s challenges. However, despite this, the region remains abound with untapped prospects and offers growth opportunities in 2016 for those willing to seek them out,” says Heymans.
Heymans says that based on DHL’s experience, each country offers unique growth opportunities. “For example, in Ethiopia, the telecommunications sector is a large contributor to GDP. It was reported that the country had 40 million mobile subscribers and 10 million internet connections in 2015. However, with a population of over 90 million, the sector has the capacity to double its contribution to GDP.
“In Mozambique, the retail sector is offering huge opportunities. With a growing middle class and shopping culture, coupled with a limited availability of common products, this sector offers opportunities for both small and large businesses. With Rwanda’s ambition to become a regional ICT (Information and Communications Technology) hub, there has also been a stronger demand for communication devices and ICT-related equipment. Similarly, we’ve seen an influx of medical supplies in the country with a booming healthcare sector.”
“The opportunities are clearly there; it’s all about having a long-term, sustainable focus on the region. As we move into the second quarter of 2016, DHL Express will continue to invest in the SSA region, in our people and our network, with the ultimate goal of seeing Africa thriving,” concludes Heymans.