US-Africa Trade Lane

Charles Brewer, managing director, DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, advises countries in the region to take advantage of the new US presidential directive on trade and investment to achieve sustainable development

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Oct 14, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

DHL Express, one of the most renowned courier service companies in the world has expressed confidence that the trade between the United States of America and Sub-Saharan Africa will lead to continued growth. Both regions are building upon the recent U.S. presidential policy directive, PPD, to achieve sustainable development through increased trade and investment.

Charles Brewer, managing director, DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, made this assertion in New York on Monday, September 23, at a meeting with key stakeholders and multi-nationals in to promote commerce between the two regions. “We have already seen this increased trade in specific countries on the continent, as they take advantage of preferential trade agreements and state-led policy change to increase exports and imports with the U.S.” Brewer also noted that African countries have witnessed a significant shift in trade partners in recent years and that dependence on Europe has been greatly reduced while partnerships with Asian and American firms have increased.

Ian Clough
Clough

“Since 2001, many African countries have seen a significant shift in trade partners, our dependency on Europe has been reduced, while trade with Asia as well as intra-Africa has picked up significantly. The next region for growth is the U.S. and we’re very pleased to see the U.S. government’s willingness to break down trade barriers to achieve this.”

Figures recently released by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, as well as the company’s own performance, reveal an extremely positive economic outlook for Africa. The figures also highlight the fact that Africa is proving to be less susceptible than other regions to the peaks and troughs in the global economy, as it diversifies its trading partners.

The IMF’s regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa report found that economic activity in the region is projected to expand by about five percent in 2012 and 2013, a similar pace to that observed in 2010–11. Key markets driving this growth are Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Mauritius and South Africa.

Ian Clough, chief executive officer, DHL Express USA, expressed confidence that the partnership would be beneficial to both the US and African businesses looking to build cross-border business opportunities. “The USA and Africa have historically enjoyed favourable trade conditions based on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA of 2000. We are confident that, when this legislation is reviewed, there will be further benefits for both the US and African businesses looking to build cross-border business opportunities.”

 The express company has seen a similar picture appearing between the US and various African trade lanes, with larger, more developed economies like South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Angola boasting strong double digit growth on both inbound and outbound volumes. However, according to their shipment figures, it is the smaller, rising economies that are seeing a major boom, with Somalia, Mayotte, Guinea-Bissau and South Sudan seeing meteoric increases in imports from the U.S., and Comoros, Eritrea, South Sudan and Liberia enjoying significant demand for exports to the States.

 According to statistics released at the AGOA Forum in Addis Ababa last month, the US total trade with sub-Saharan Africa which includes exports and imports has grown by more than 250 percent.  While urging small and medium-scale business owners to take advantage of the opportunity the partnership offers, Brewer assured that the figures would continue to rise as long as the respective government continue to show commitment to developing the trade relationship.

“There is no doubt that there is a commitment to trade growth from the respective governments, and these figures will continue to rise. It is now the role of the private sector and the thousands of SMEs looking for opportunities to take advantage of this growth, and build success on this lucrative trade lane.”

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