DUBAI – The key to African economic emergence lies in the removal of barriers, increased connectivity between nations and infrastructure development, DP World’s Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, told African leaders and top executives in Dakar, Senegal.
“We believe in the viability of Africa, we believe in investing in the continent, during our investment in Senegal we improved efficiency and volumes 135 percent in 10 years,” he told the audience at the Africa Emergence Conference 2019.
Addressing a panel on how private institutions can help support emergence in Africa with Senegal President, Macky Sall, and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahatir Mohammed, Bin Sulayem explained how economic emergence is dependent on increasing inter-African trade and infrastructure development.
“The removal of trade barriers is very important. In Africa, tariffs are 50 percent higher in than in Latin America and Asia,” he said. “Intra-regional trade in Africa is only 12 percent, while in Europe, Asia and Latin America it is over 50 percent, and we need to improve this to prosper,” he added.
Bin Sulayem reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the economic growth of Senegal and developing Dakar into a major logistics hub and gateway for West Africa during the panel with President Sall.
He stated that as a smart trade enabler, DP World has the extensive expertise and know-how that can help African countries realise their trade and infrastructure goals while assisting countries to address the challenges of national ports and logistics infrastructure.
He highlighted the importance of developing a logistics infrastructure reflecting DP World’s activities in Rwanda and Mali.
“We believe in connecting landlocked nations to the world and international markets. Our logistics park in Rwanda will reduce costs across the country and region,” he said. “The price of containers moving from Shanghai to an East African port is anywhere between US$500 to $1000, but the price of the same container from the port to Kigali is $5000,” he added.
President Sall said to the audience that DP World helped in the development of Senegal.
“What the CEO said is the truth. In Senegal we have experienced a change because DP World was present before I became president with a concession of 25 years at the Port of Dakar,” he said.
Sall added that the government has consolidation of DP World’s presence and they are working together finalise new port investments by DP World in Senegal.
“The country stability is essential but also the stability of the contracts between the state and the private sector to develop foreign investment. It is evident that the public investment cannot satisfy the basic needs of the population so we need to work with the private sector,” he added.
DP World has operations in Senegal, Egypt, Mozambique, Somaliland, Rwanda and Algeria and has recently signed an agreement with the Republic of Mali to develop a logistics platform and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first deep-sea port in the country.