By Quinton de Villiers
The ability to move goods effectively is at the heart of Africa’s growth and international competitiveness in a global economy.
This important mandate continues to receive due priority with many initiatives being spearheaded at the highest levels to help ease the movement of goods on the continent.
The conversation has matured from mere regional integration to one that focuses on a connected continent.
As a leading transport and logistics specialist, Bridgewater Logistics keeps a close watch on all developments that have a direct bearing on African transport and logistics.
The more recent MoveAfrica initiative is certainly one that has caught our attention, as it promises to add momentum to those other high-level projects that are geared at helping us meet our mandate as professional logisticians.
Launched in May 2016 by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, one of the highlights of the programme is its focus on one-stop border posts, or OSBPs.
While developing infrastructure is essential, Bridgewater Logistics believes that any measures geared at de-congesting border crossings is one of the quickest interventions that will lead to marked increases in efficiency for African businesses.
It is one of the “lowest-hanging fruits” available to initiate meaningful change for transporters and their customers, while wrestling with the far more complex task of developing adequate transport infrastructure on the continent.
The precursor to this initiative, which was launched at a summit in Nairobi, Kenya, is a “traffic light” system that assesses the performance of cross-border logistics at these facilities.
Experts are assessing logistics, traffic flow and volumes on key corridors; as well as policies and regulations that have a direct impact on OSBPs.
They are also studying existing procedures and operational flows at OSBPs to help guide the way forward.
Just as importantly, the “traffic light” system will lead to greater synergies between private-sector partners, the NEPAD Agency and its development partners, which have all prioritised the need to ensure better linkages between countries in Africa.
Bridgewater Logistics agrees that the private sector is instrumental to the success of all of these projects, and should, therefore, also help influence them as early as possible, preferably in their conceptualisation phases.
This is considering that we are at the “coalface” of African transport and logistics with first-hand knowledge of the many obstacles in the way of efficient movement of product to where it is needed.
I am looking forward to watching developments around MoveAfrica unfold, and my team is sure that this project will help specialists, such as Bridgewater Logistics, keep Africa moving!
Quinton de Villiers is the founder and managing director of Bridgewater Logistics with a long and impressive track-record in African logistics and security. Follow Quinton at #InTheFastLane for more insights and expert commentary on African transport and logistics.