There may still be many social, political and even infrastructural issues on the African continent, but this has not prevented investment from experiencing solid growth in recent times as it is almost impossible to ignore the potential on the continent at the moment. As first world countries struggle for air in this economic climate, there is a clear scramble to explore the potential on the “Dark Continent” and the freight industry is a shining example of just how rapidly things are moving forward.

Growing Gains

The growth potential of Africa has now clearly been recognized and as a result there’s no doubt that their total contribution to the global economy will continue to swell. As development increases so too does the necessity for increased freight. This in turn results in the need for an increase in freight agents and generation of more freight-related jobs and  amongst other knock-on factors, once again resulting in a boost to the overall economy.

The Numbers

In the first quarter of 2012 the value of cargo arriving in Africa was $333.7 million, while the outgoing value was $45.8 million. In the third quarter air freight demand had increased by 10.2%. With big businesses setting up in various industry hubs around the continent, Africa’s consumer goods, automotive and electronics, telecommunications and retail sectors have been receiving large injections. Naturally this demands increased employment of in the freight services industry.

Back to their Routes

In order to cater for such growth, Africa has upped its number of routes to major trade hubs, such as China and the Middle East. These relationships have been strengthening in the wake of such economic development and most notably the air freight trade route increase between Africa and the Middle East saw a jump of 17.9% in February last year. The increase between Europe and the Middle East saw only a 1.4% increase for the same period, illustrating one continent’s significant trade growth in comparison with another’s stagnation.

One cannot ignore the fact, however, that although the growth statistics are positive, there are still large inhibiting factors that are yet to be overcome in Africa. And some countries in particular adhere to policies that don’t allow for maximum growth. Ultimately it is an exciting time for Africa and there is a sense that the continent will soon be shaking the stigma of being little more than a mineral fishing well.