AFRICA – The federal government of German has partnered with global logistics firm, Deutsche Post DHL Group to moot an e-commerce platform that will facilitate cross border trade in Africa.

The US$38 million digitisation drive will reduce manual customs and trade processes in favour of digital clearance protocol running in tandem with an e-commerce platform thereby helping to promote a bulk goods movement regime thereby promoting low-emission logistics in cities.

The co-operation signed by the German economic co-operation and development federal ministry and DHL seeks to restore supply chains adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal minister Gerd Müller said the programme will also eradicate graft and bureaucratic practices at customs thereby enabling intra-Africa trade to thrive.

“Bureaucratic customs procedures and corruption are hampering intra-African trade but with a new digital system, we are helping medium-sized African companies to handle customs completely digitally,” he said adding that the programme is to be implemented in Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Minister Müller said that the new e-commerce platforms will create direct linkages between buyers and sellers across Africa where DHL will act as the go-between with transactional activities riding on the runaway success of mobile money.

“The Covid-19 crisis is cutting trade relations in developing countries and plunging an additional 115 million people into poverty this year alone. Digitalisation can make a big difference here as many of our partner countries are more advanced in digitisation than we are in Germany, say mobile money payments,” he said.

DHL chief executive Frank Appel said cross border trade would directly improve availability of foodstuffs, increase incomes as well as generate business activities around transport and product transactions.

“We are working decisively on removing those hurdles so as to assist merchants who previously sold goods regionally get back into business,” he said.

The partnership will also work towards promotion of green technologies especially green hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

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