It is perhaps no surprise that no sooner has the MENA region been touted as the area best poised for growth that economic experts have begun to look beyond the Sahara for the next success stories. Dynamic South Africa, the oil rich nations in Africa’s West and the liberalized, and the increasingly democratic societies to the East have spurred many companies to explore opportunities in markets that are only now beginning to truly emerge.
For example, just a few weeks ago, Aramex made one of its biggest acquisitions in its history, as it acquired South African Berco Express, which has a significant share of the country’s freight and logistics market. It operates 15 branches throughout South Africa, and employs more than 700 people. In the first phase, this move will allow Aramex to introduce it full range of services to the South African market, including integrated logistics solutions, international and domestic express delivery, freight forwarding, secure records and information management solutions, and e-services, including e-business solutions and Shop and Ship. In the second phase, Aramex plans to further expand across Southern Africa region with the opening of additional offices and warehouses.
But its not only about South Africa. Aramex has already recognised the potential of the rest of the region. CEO and founder Fadi Ghandour stated in December 2011 that “We believe that this decade will be Africa’s and with six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries over the past ten years in Africa, we are committed to the future of the continent,” said Ghandour. In 2011, the company acquired Kenyan operations OneWorld and In-Time. Third-party logistics centre in Nairobi have been developed and are already serving top FMCG brands.
“Kenya has a large domestic consumer base and is located in close proximity to key markets in the Middle East and Africa, offering connectivity to fast-growing landlocked East African nations such as Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda,” remarked Samer Gharaibeh, Aramex CEO for Africa. “The opportunities in Kenya, which has an open-market economy and liberalised external trade system, are clearly tremendous. It will provide us with a strategic foothold in a market that also serves as a bridge between East Africa and Asian markets such as China and India.”