Could Ghana be Africa’s next biggest commercial logistics hub?

Port of Tema, Ghana

By Conrad Onyango, bird story agency

The choice of the West African country as the hub for coordination of medical and humanitarian supplies in the continent over the last decade is proving valuable. Now its logistics market is attracting local and international commercial investors.

Ghana has begun morphing from being just a hub for delivery of vital medical and humanitarian supplies to other African countries to possibly what could be the next big commercial logistics market on the continent.

The West African country’s logistics market attractiveness for both domestic and international logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, distributors and investors has risen significantly over the past year.

Ghana improved its global ranking to position 32 after climbing eight positions – the largest move among all countries ranked in the 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.

“It improved its relative position across the board, making gains in international logistics, domestic logistics and business fundamentals, and finishing a respectable no. 32 in the new digital readiness metric,” according to the index.

Overall, Ghana, the eighth largest economy in Africa, is ranked fifth on the continent after Morocco (20), Egypt (21), South Africa (24) and Kenya (28) in the 50-country logistics index.

Of all the metrics, Ghana scored highest in digital readiness (5.14), suggesting that many logistics providers and investors were attracted by the degree to which Ghana has integrated technology in its cross-border movements of goods.

The index, compiled by logistics industry analysis and research firm, Transport Intelligence (Ti), identified adoption of technology as the leading driver of economic and business growth for emerging markets among logistics professionals.

“They picked operational technology, supply chain sustainability, and advanced tech such as AI as the three main focuses for the logistics industry in 2022 and beyond,” said the authors of the index.

Under the digital readiness ranking, only Kenya (5.43) and South Africa (5.17) came out ahead of Ghana, in Africa.

The West African country was also the only African country to improve its position in the 2022 business fundamentals rankings, rising to 28th by four positions.

Positive economic prospects – approaching pre-pandemic levels – have also been linked to Ghana’s strong performance.

“So is Ghana, Africa’s eight largest economy, a model for the rest of the continent? That’s not clear,” quipped the report on its stellar performance.

After recording a flat economic growth in 2020, the country roared back last year to record a 6.6% growth in the third quarter of 2021 – considerably higher than the sub-Saharan Africa average of 3.5%.

The World Bank projects GDP growth for the country of 5.8% in 2022.

In 2006, the United Nations World Food Programme opened a major logistics hub for humanitarian operations in Accra, Ghana to expand its emergency response capacity in the West Africa region.

Since then, the country has played a key role in supporting global efforts to address health crises in Africa.

In 2014, Accra was the headquarters of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), while in 2020 it became part of the global hub-and-spokes system of air links for dispatching essential medical and humanitarian cargo when there was limited commercial transport and travel restrictions.

/bird story agency