Strengthening Africa’s gateways to trade
Ports are a vital part of the supply chain in Africa with each port having a far-reaching hinterland often spanning a number of countries.
This report was compiled by PwC’s Capital Projects and Infrastructure (CP&I) Transport and Logistics team using a combination of information obtained from interviews with port authorities and port operators, together with detailed research and incorporating our extensive knowledge of the port, trade and transport sector.
Africa, despite its enormous size, still represents only a small portion of world trade. Exports are largely commodity based and include oil, coal, iron ore, ferrochrome, precious metals, cocoa, palm oil and timber. Yet, Africa is growing and many of its larger economies are beginning to diversify away from a traditional commodity focus. Ports represent the gateways for these commodity exports, but as countries grow and develop, ports are also essential for sustaining and improving more robust and diverse growth in African economies through the import and export of manufactured goods and other products.
Africa needs to take advantage of the economic potential of its ports and shipping sector if it is to realise its growth ambitions. Globally, ports are gateways for 80% of merchandise trade by volume and 70% by value. Investment in ports and their related transport infrastructure to advance trade and promote overall economic development and growth is therefore vital - particularly in emerging economies that are currently under-served by modern transportation facilities.
Map above depicts the throughput at all the major facilities across sub-Saharan Africa showing a trend in volumes and differences between regions.
Globalised supply chains have enabled goods and services to be transported across the world to meet the ever-increasing demands of populations. Ports are gateways for 80% of global merchandise trade by volume and 70% by value. As an emerging market region endowed with vast natural resources and a young and growing population, SSA must accelerate its market access and trade both across the region and with the rest of the world. This is important to stimulate economic growth, diversify its economies, reduce the inflationary effects of weak transport and logistics infrastructure, become globally competitive, create employment and reduce poverty.