The 1.2-billion-person market on the continent will be opened up by the African Continental Free Commerce Area, which also aims to change the conditions that keep intra-African trade at 17%, compared to 68 percent in Europe, 59 percent in Asia, and 55 percent in America. The next critical stage is industrialization, and better logistics is the key to better industrialization.
This was one of the most important lessons to come out of a panel discussion at the Africa CEO Forum this year, the biggest annual meeting of the continent’s corporate sector. Nearly 2,000 political, commercial, and thought leaders attended the event in Abidjan.
Ahmed Bennis, group business development director at Tanger Med in Morocco, Africa’s largest port complex, and Portia Derby, CEO of Transnet, one of the continent’s largest rail, port, and pipeline companies, were among the speakers at the session on how the health crisis is revolutionising African logistics.
The speakers emphasised that industrialisation will enable Africa to produce jobs for the 8–9 million Africans who enter the labour force each year and will enable the continent to gain a greater share of the value of global commodities markets.
Africa primarily exports raw materials at the moment, which benefits other nations more economically who add value through processing. Because of high energy prices and subpar infrastructure, processing is more expensive on the continent.
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