DHL Transforms Rural Africa with New Cargo Service

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Parts of Africa remain vastly unexplored, with many remote regions in inaccessible for trade even as it has been widely acknowledged that international trade plays a crucial role in development and poverty reduction in the continent. Experts believe that the value of trade is measured by the extent to which it delivers better livelihoods, measured through higher incomes, greater choice and a more sustainable future. Therefore, to effectively reduce poverty growth needs to be inclusive, but poor people aren’t always located where growth takes place. The World Bank and The World Trade Organisation estimate that one billion of the world’s population remains in extreme poverty. Of this number, 415 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa. These two organisations state that extreme poverty in many countries is predominately a rural phenomenon, and that an estimated 75 percent of the extreme poor in Africa live in rural areas.

As African countries establish better trade relations with international partners, enabling trade routes within the continent can yield numerous benefits for the region and its people. Having entered the African market in 1978 when the continent was still relatively ‘unknown’, DHL has explored the remotest of regions in Africa and witnessed these areas transform, both economically and socially.

Currently, there are three commercial airlines operating in the rural African areas. Given that commercial airlines offer priority to passenger baggage, offloading of cargo from these planes was a regular occurrence. In order to deliver better service, DHL introduced a dedicated cargo flight, which operates weekly between Senegal and Cape Verde, providing various trade opportunities and greatly improving connectivity in the region.

Connecting rural areas to trade opportunities is a key focus for DHL Express in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company has made great progress in making the global market and the world at large more accessible by connecting and by increasing the number of points where customers can access DHL and its global network. Over 4,500 retail outlets offer DHL services across Sub-Saharan Africa. This allows anyone – from a student to a small business –access to over 220 countries and destinations that DHL serves.

Dr Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President, says that beyond expanding trade, more must be done: “We must always connect the poorest to trade opportunities.”  Trade is a powerful facilitator of growth in developing countries, and lower trade costs and fewer barriers between countries is vital to eliminating extreme poverty. There still needs to be a collaborative effort between the public and private sector to ease doing business across borders. Progress with a number of successful trade blocs in place that focus on better connecting the region will help Africa to continue on its growth path in years to come.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia