September saw the respective international conferences of two major supply chain management industry bodies – that of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA, in Taipei) and that of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT, in Dubai). At both gatherings there was substantial African representation and, at the CILT Convention, Africans were in a clear majority. What does this imply for African businesses?
The greater majority of delegates at both of these events were either senior executives or business owners.
Discussions with those from Africa revealed that most were participating for two reasons:
- To network and find new business opportunities, both within and outside of Africa
- To seek ways of doing things better through innovative systems and the upliftment of staff.
In the area of upliftment there is a significant, emerging trend in Africa: whereas before there was a considerable reluctance to train staff for fear of their being poached, this has been replaced by a deep realisation that the way to increased profitability is through increased professionalism. The results are clear to see: Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 4,5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016, mainly driven by agriculture, extractive industries, construction and services on the supply side. On the demand side, the boost has come from private consumption and infrastructure investment.
In terms of world GDP growth, this is forecast at 2,8% for 2015 and 3,3% in 2016.