Trading with Africa

Trading with Africa

The vast potential of the second-largest continent is starting to come to fruition. ‘Africa Rising’ has become a trend as global businesses and increased political stability and improvements in education and healthcare are transforming Africa’s economies and demographics: over the past decade, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African, and half of the increase in population over the next 40 years will be in Africa.

Foreign investment, especially from China, has improved infrastructures and boosted manufacturing throughout the continent. A strong enthusiasm for technology is manifested in 600 million mobile phone users and widespread mobile internet services.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that Africa’s economic growth will accelerate to 5.2 per cent this year, and Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by more than US$ 400 billion by 2020. The proportion of people with disposable income in Africa is the fastest-growing in the world, predicted to reach 1.1 billion individuals by 2060.

The world’s fastest growing economies in 2013

as per the IMF (International Monetary Fund)

Africa Spices

With the world economy continuing to recover cautiously, Africa’s progress embodies the transformative power of growth. And European companies are in a unique position to tap into this market: despite contentious chapters in Europe’s long history with Africa, goods and services from Europe are held in high regard.
Ireland has a long and positive relationship with Africa, with a history of missionary and aid work. In 2011, the Irish government released a new ‘Africa Strategy’ to further engage with Africa, especially on the international trade level. This has already seen direct results: Irish exports of goods and services to Africa reached €2.7 billion in 2012, an increase of 200 per cent from 2009.

Research carried out by Barclays Bank Ireland showed that Irish businesses see Africa as a growing opportunity, particularly in the areas of agriculture, energy and utilities, construction and tourism. The Irish Exporters Association’s Africa Business Forum projects exports from Ireland to Africa to reach €24 billion by 2020 – a figure greater than the growth figures forecast for China.

This is not to say that trade with Africa – far from a homogenous region – doesn’t bring its unique challenges. So for any company contemplating opportunities here, it is crucial to work with partners that truly understand the local business landscape. How We Made it in Africa ( offers business insight and networking for African businesspeople and showcases the opportunities the continent offers on a global level.

Sources: The Economist, DHL, GOV.UK, Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, McKinsey Global Institute, The World Bank, Enterprise Ireland and Irish Exporters Association

We began building our DHL logistics network in Africa in the late 1970s. Today, DHL is present in every country on the continent, with all airside and landside facilities fully owned by DHL and thus compliant with DHL’s strict global security regulations. DHL’s airfleet is networked across Africa, with large freighter aircraft arriving from Europe every evening. In-house Customs at key airports – including a standalone DHL Hub and Gateway with clearance facilities in Nigeria – means that DHL does not rely on external agents or other third parties.

DHL’s logistical expertise, coupled with the business and cultural insight provided by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Exporters Association, can help you build your foundations for trading with Africa.