The Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Charles Brewer, has said the biggest game changer for Africa going forward will be its ability to boost connectivity and intra-Africa trade.

According to him, the most recent DHL Global Connectedness Index has revealed that Africa is the world’s least connected continent, when considering the ease of moving people, trade, information and finance, compared to other economies elsewhere.

The gap, he noted, must be bridged to ensure growth in the continent.

“All African countries should therefore be focused on developing connectedness on the continent and building trade relationships,” said Brewer at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Cape Town under the theme “Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future”.

During one of the panel discussions at the event, the participants highlighted the fact that just 12% of African countries’ total trade is with each other, and the continent only accounts for 3% of value addition in global trade. .

“Africa needs to remove the obstacles which hinder the ease of doing business and continually investigate new trade agreements in the region, as these have the potential to boost the level of trade significantly. Africa has already benefited from several trade partnerships such as the East Africa Community (EAC) and ECOWAS and the imminent launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area. These are significant developments for Africa – and it is crucial that these collaborative relationships continue and more importantly, that they be implemented consistently,” he said.

Brewer urged governments and the private sector to work together and create a sustainable and inclusive environment that would ensure that the conduct of doing business in the continent flourishes.

He says a strong growth engine for the continent is the rise in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“The region offers plenty of untapped opportunities, which pave the way for SMEs to fill the gaps not presently being catered for by larger corporations. Manufacturing, on a large scale, is still somewhat embryonic in Africa and as such, there is a definite opportunity for SMEs that operate in the manufacturing industry,” noted Brewer.