Trade among African countries is very critical for the growth and prosperity of the continent. Hence, the need for the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) agreement which is underway.
Unlike before, African countries are hoping to trade more with one another. And as mobile technology penetrates the continent, we can expect to see an increase in using eCommerce platforms, especially by consumers, to place orders for products within and outside their countries using platforms like Export Portal.
Therefore, for this process to be meaningful and seamless, a reliable and efficient supply chain across the continent is essential.
We can describe a supply chain as the entire process of making and selling commercial goods. This includes every stage, from supplying (raw) materials and manufacturing goods to distribution and sales.
Several entities involved in the supply chain include producers, vendors, warehouses, freight forwarders, transportation companies, distribution centers, and retailers.
In the global economy, supply chains are essential for business success. Therefore, it reinforces the need for every business to identify the unique supply chain challenges that confront it and how to overcome it. However, despite the continent’s growth opportunities, the challenges in the supply chain sector are daunting.
Regardless, these are three ways to overcome supply chain challenges in Africa.
Approach Logistics Differently
Transporting products or commodities is an integral aspect of a supply chain; mainly, via sea or road transportation. Although, it can unnecessarily take long to get commodities through seaports, yet, it is an essential channel in a supply chain.
Africa is very fragmented, with 55 countries, each with its customs and regulatory environments. This puts up the challenge of limited road connectivity coupled with delays at multiple land borders.
Therefore, businesses have to carefully approach the planning and control of the movement and storage of goods from their point of origin to their last destination. This will help reduce costs and delays in delivery and will help achieve better customer service.
It is also crucial for businesses to consult local logistics companies with expertise and experience in dealing with the unique logistics problem.
Understand the Diversity
Africa has diverse cultures, traditions, and preferences. Therefore, businesses must be able to adapt products to local markets and manage diverse demand preferences and service expectations while maintaining profits and standards.
Doing this will require efforts to understand the realities of the business environments across the continent and integrate them with its supply chain strategy.
The volume of intra-African trade could grow significantly with the removal of supply chain barriers. Governments across the continent also have roles to ensure that goods and people can move across the continent more easily.
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