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Kenya is among the top-four countries in Africa with the biggest economic growth promise over the next five years, a new survey of global logistics executives shows
The survey by Agility, a global logistics provider, also shows that consumer spending by a fast-growing middle class is as important a growth driver in Africa as mineral and oil resources.
In the 2016 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, Kenya is ranked behind South Africa and Nigeria but ahead of Ghana and Angola in the list of top five promising states.
“The market is open for first movers who can navigate risk and nurture African talent,” says Geoffrey White, the chief executive officer of Agility Africa.
“The opportunity is for those seeking to build long-term, sustainable businesses that bring world-class practices and adapt to local conditions. Africa’s requirement for logistics services and supply chain expertise is huge and growing every day.”
The 1,100 logistics executives polled in the survey said that low energy costs, recent oil finds, continued investments in infrastructure and the horticulture industry are working in Kenya’s favour.
“A particularly surprising statistic is that Kenya is the third-largest emerging market air export trade lane by tonnage, exceeding not just its continental competitors such as South Africa and Nigeria, but even the likes of India,” the survey noted.
Horticulture is a leading source of foreign exchange for Kenya, alongside tea and tourism.
The logistics executives however pointed out that despite the promise shown by African states, poor infrastructure, lack of power and corruption continue to pose the greatest risk to their entry.
Only 21.2 per cent of logistics industry executives surveyed said that their companies have operations there while 12.7 per cent said they are in the planning stages to enter African markets.
However, more than 43 per cent of them said they have no plans to set up in Africa.
“The results show a serious disconnect between the perception of the market and actual opportunities,” said Mr White. “At the same time, many of the companies that need logistics to enter the market don’t know how to get started in Africa or aren’t willing to take the risk.”
China, the world’s second-largest economy, topped the global ranking followed by the United Arab Emirates, India, and Malaysia with Saudi Arabia completing the list of the top countries.
In Africa, South Africa emerged was 16, Nigeria (17), Morocco (20), Egypt (22), Algeria (30), Ethiopia (37), Tanzania (40), Libya (41) Kenya (43) while Uganda was placed 45.