Growth trends: Six booming industries in sub-Saharan Africa

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Due to the nature of its business, DHL Express is well positioned to spot key economic growth trends in sub-Saharan Africa. How we made it in Africa asked a selection of DHL country managers to identify the sector seeing the greatest growth, based on shipment volumes, in their respective territories.

Claude Edgard Zocli, DHL Express country manager in The Gambia, highlights agriculture as one of the country's booming industries.

Claude Edgard Zocli, DHL Express country manager in The Gambia, highlights agriculture as one of the country’s booming industries.

Uganda – local manufacturing

Manufacturing accounts for a relatively small proportion of GDP in most African economies. But Uganda seems to be making progress in this regard. DHL Uganda is seeing a strong increase in manufacturing-related shipments.

“Manufacturing – both large and small scale – is growing,” says Asteway Desta, the local DHL country manager. “Though plagued with a lack of suitable and modern infrastructure, we are an investor-friendly country. The Uganda Investment Authority is trying its best to attract foreign investors and the government is working on improving the road and power infrastructure.”

Benin – preparing for oil production

The West African nation of Benin is expected to soon resume crude oil production, which could hold considerable benefits to the economy. Production started in the 1970s but stopped by the end of the 1990s when funds dried up. Nigerian-based South Atlantic Petroleum says it plans to start pumping crude from its offshore field by the first quarter of 2015.

“We are presently experiencing a rise in oil industry shipments, as the offshore exploration seems to have delivered good results, and some are saying operations will start soon,” explains DHL Benin’s country manager, Mamadou Aw.

Liberia – untapped resources

Liberia has rich untapped deposits of mineral resources, attracting international mining companies such as ArcelorMittal and China Union. The sector accounts for a significant portion of DHL’s volumes in Liberia.

“Abundant mineral resources and a new favourable mining law have prompted the influx of several mining companies exploring for iron ore and gold,” says Akwasi Aninakwah, DHL country manager.

However, some mines have temporarily shut down and expansion projects put on hold, as the region has been affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Mozambique – middle class driving banking

“Banking is one of the fastest growing market sectors in Mozambique,” notes DHL country head Dominique Lalous. “This is mainly driven by a growing middle class. More people are opening bank accounts, using online banking and swiping their debit and credit cards for day-to-day purchases, whereas previously cash was king.”

The Gambia – agricultural exports

“Grow what you eat and eat what you grow.” This is the Gambian government’s official line on agriculture as it plans to be food self-sufficient by 2016.

According to DHL country manager Claude Edgard Zocli, agriculture continues to be a major driver of the economy, alongside tourism. “The main growth in 2014, according to our observation, has been noticed in agriculture, mainly driven by the export of peanuts and its by-products.”

Kenya – demand for the latest gadgets

DHL Kenya country manager Alan Cassels highlights telecommunications as one of the booming industries. “The reason for the growth of telecoms revolves around the ongoing demand for phones from the few who don’t already have one, and new phones with improved technology for those that want it and can pay for it, of which there seem to be many.”