Leading international express services provider DHL Express has said it has expanded its network of service points in sub-Saharan Africa from an initial 300 to over 1 000 in a few months. In a statement, the firm said the move was an aggressive expansion into the market aimed at further cementing the company's position in Africa and also to offer local consumers and small businesses an efficient, convenient way of shipping overseas.
DHL sub-Saharan Africa managing director Mr Charles Brewer said the drive to increase consumer access points had been a result of a multi-pronged retail strategy which looked at retail offerings from a small spaza shop in South Africa to a telecommunications company in Angola or a post office in Mauritius.
"In our recent 2012 Global Connectedness Index, which measures the state of globalisation around the world, sub-Saharan Africa remained the globe's least connected continent.
"However, it did average the largest increase from 2010 to 2011 and boasted the top five 'gainers' - Mozambique, Togo, Ghana, Guinea and Zambia. This tells us that there is still major opportunity to improve connectivity across the continent, and access to logistics services and international markets are both key to this improvement," said Mr Brewer.
He said the company, which is present in 52 sub-Saharan Africa markets, including Zimbabwe, had been looking to create enhanced accessibility for customers and increasing connectivity between African markets and the over 220 countries that DHL currently serves worldwide.
The logistics operator also said it had identified the need for increased convenience for small to medium enterprises, as a recent study by global information and analytics company, IHS, showed that accessibility to international markets was a driver of small business success.
"The SMEs sector is growing at an amazing pace and this investment will help to connect African SMEs to the rest of the world.
"Africa is a complex market to operate in but we've proven that, with a bit of creativity, you can expand your footprint and provide a way to service the continent's growth.
"Ensuring the people within Africa can access global markets, and transfer skills, goods and information, means we are able to support and spur on the continued African resurgence. Expanding our retail presence is just the first step," Mr Brewer added.