By Etuka Sunday
DHL Express, the world’s logistics company said it would bridge the mobility deficit in Africa in order to significantly strengthen businesses and boost intra-Africa trade on the continent.
This it said formed the key topic of discussion among global leaders at the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa in Nigeria.
Managing Director, DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Charles Brewer, who attended the forum said, “There was a collective consensus among African leaders on the topic of mobility in Africa, as well as the importance of efficient border and visa policies. We have seen good follow-up particularly in East Africa and it is imperative to continue to work on the border and customs environment to grow intra-Africa trade.”
He said that the forum took place against a backdrop of significant economic growth in Nigeria – having recently overtaken South Africa as the largest economy in Africa – and that this has spurred investment interest in the country. “Africa is clearly on the global agenda. Despite security concerns, delegates and heads of state from all parts of the world gathered in Abuja to discuss inclusive growth for Africa.”
A key view expressed by a number of African leaders at the Forum was the need for a proactive approach to border management, which would enable trade between various regions. The creation of an environment that enables business growth on the continent as opposed to obstructing it was also addressed by various parties.
Recognising the importance of travel facilitation and talent mobility as drivers to integrate and develop the region, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Prime Minister Moussa Mara of Mali have all signed The Call to Action on Travel Facilitation & Talent Mobility, which urges all African States to work together towards the establishment of joint policies and the removal of barriers to facilitate movement of people.
Brewer adds that it was also positive to witness how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly being recognized as the primary driver of economic growth in Africa and how they are being supported across Africa. “A growing SME base will create thousands of new jobs, which is an absolute must for this ever-growing continent, as it is a critical driver of sustainable economic growth.”