Moving goods in Africa – what you need to know

When Africa supply chain management is the topic of discussion, frequently used words include inefficiency, bottlenecks, bureaucracy, corruption, poor infrastructure and the occasional “chaos”. It is easy to fall into the trap of grouping all African countries into the same categories. However, there are significant similarities and differences from country to country and region to region. For any executive, it is important to understand how these similarities and differences will impact their business.

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For organisations moving goods in and around African markets, the high cost and long lead times are two of the biggest challenges for almost every industry. A World Bank study found that, with the exception of Durban, South Africa, cargo spends on average 20 days in African ports, compared to three to four days for most other ports. For Africa’s numerous landlocked countries (the highest of any continent), the lead times are significantly longer. For example, landlocked countries such as Burundi and Uganda are negatively impacted, as they depend on transit solutions from neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. A report by Trademark East Africa noted that it takes up to 71 days to import goods to Burundi from any of the other East African countries. It is estimated that the cost of transporting goods in Africa is 60%-70% higher than in the US and Europe. View Article

How We Made It In Africa, 2013

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