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Africa|Business|Business Growth|Environment|Freight|Health|Logistics|Safety|Service|Services|transport|Products|Operations
Africa|Business|Business Growth|Environment|Freight|Health|Logistics|Safety|Service|Services|transport|Products|Operations
africa|business|business-growth|environment|freight|health|logistics|safety|service|services|transport|products|operations

FedEx says air freight an important part of AfCFTA, Africa's economic growth

FedEx Express sub-Saharan Africa Operations MD Natasha Parmanand

FedEx Express sub-Saharan Africa Operations MD Natasha Parmanand

18th January 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The rapid change in retail and trade networks caused by the global pandemic has highlighted how logistics, and air logistics in particular, is crucial to the economy.

Air express also has a role to play in helping drive economic growth in Africa, says logistics and courier services company FedEx Express sub-Saharan Africa operations MD Natasha Parmanand.

Air freight is a clear choice for speed, special handling or specialised products, she notes.

According to global industry body the International Air Transport Association, despite lockdowns and border closures across the continent, Africa’s air cargo volumes rose 1% during 2020. Air cargo transports about $5.6-trillion worth of goods, or about 35% of world trade by value, but represents 1% by volume.

The African Union notes that a key feature of Africa’s trade is its high external orientation and relatively low level of intra‐regional trade. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been identified by global finance organisation the World Bank as a major opportunity for countries to boost growth, reduce poverty and improve economic inclusion, says Parmanand.

“If implemented fully, it is projected that the AfCFTA could boost regional income by 7%, or $450-billion; speed up wage growth for women; and lift 30-million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.

“Trade-driven growth will be important to not only help African economies recover from the impact of the pandemic, but provide new markets for business growth, which presents a particular opportunity for the micro and small business sector, which make up about 80% of Africa’s business environment, with around 44-million small, medium-sized and microenterprises in sub-Saharan Africa alone.”

The World Bank says that, for trade-driven growth to happen, there must be a determined effort to reduce all trade costs. This means simpler trade legislation, but also logistics that is straightforward and efficient, states Parmanand.

Further, while e-commerce had previously been growing at a healthy pace, it surged in popularity even further during the lockdowns.

“Ordering online and having the product delivered to your door was the smart option for those focused on their health and safety, and in many cases, courier delivery was also practical for people stuck in their homes. For many, e-commerce became their preferred method of shopping,” Parmanand says.

“Air express is perfectly placed to support businesses from major e-commerce platforms to small businesses looking to expand to their first cross-border market. In turn, this access stimulates growth and local economies, here in South Africa and across the continent. When speed and service are important, air freight is the choice.”

Businesses looking to trade across Africa and the rest of the world should consider air freight and logistics as an essential part of their growth strategy, while partnering with an experienced courier and logistics organisation can make entries to new markets work on a business' terms, she says.

“Express air logistics is not just about greater speed and convenience, but also fast and efficient cross-border customs clearance, which are areas where it pays to have specialised experts on call.”

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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