Giving small- and medium-sized enterprises from developing countries access to global markets, that is the goal of cooperation between the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group.
Over the next few years, the partners want to invest €30m in the digitisation of customs and trade processes, the promotion of e-commerce and low-emission logistics in cities.
The cooperation will focus on Africa. A corresponding agreement was signed recently by Germany’s Federal Minister, Gerd Müller and Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post DHL Group.
Müller said, “The corona crisis and the lockdown have disrupted supply chains in developing countries. Millions of companies are fighting for survival. Right now we have to keep economic cycles going. But bureaucratic customs procedures and corruption are hampering intra-African trade.
“This is where we work together with Deutsche Post DHL Group. With a new digital system, we are helping medium-sized African companies to handle customs completely digitally. We are starting in Morocco, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
“We are also creating new sales markets worldwide via new e-commerce platforms. All this accelerates trade, creates transparency and enables enormous leaps in development. We place particular emphasis on training and the promotion of women as entrepreneurs. And we are deliberately focusing on digitisation.”
Speaking further, he stated, “Nowhere is digitisation progressing faster than in Africa. Some African countries are already further ahead than Europe – for example, in cashless payment via smartphone.”
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is cutting trade relations in developing countries and plunging an additional 115m people into poverty this year alone.
He noted, “Right now we have to keep global economic cycles running and ensure that the poor also benefit from it. Digitalisation can make a big difference here. Many of our partner countries are already more advanced in digitization than we are in Germany – for example, when it comes to mobile payment.”
DHL boss, Appel, added, “Cross-border trade creates prosperity, improves lives and connects people – but in many regions, there are still major hurdles. Together with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, we are working decisively on removing those hurdles.
“Merchants who previously sold their goods regionally get access to customers around the world. For this purpose, we also started our new sustainability program GoTrade. The programme engages especially in developing countries which have not yet benefited from globalization as much as others.”