- Dubai Ports World (DP World), based in the United Arab Emirates, is rapidly expanding its operations across Africa to become a dominant player in the region’s commerce.
- Establishing a streamlined commerce corridor connecting East Africa and the Great Lakes region is a fundamental plank of DP World’s overall strategy.
- DP World seeks to regulate and strengthen African trade by tackling the difficulties of logistics and storage with cutting-edge digital solutions.
Dubai Ports World in Africa
As the Africa Continental Free Trade Act ushers in a new era of African trade, a significant participant rises from the Arabian Peninsula. Dubai Ports World (DP World), based in the United Arab Emirates, is rapidly expanding its operations across Africa to become a dominant player in the region’s commerce.
The story’s action begins in one of East Africa’s thriving harbours. The vast potential of the Kenyan ports of Mombasa, Lamu, Kisumu, and Naivasha has attracted the attention of DP World. The company took a risk by offering to revitalise the region’s trade capacities by reworking these entry points.
In addition to Kenya, DP World has its sights set on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somaliland, Djibouti, Angola, Senegal, and Egypt with this aim.
The Kenyan endeavour, however, was not without its share of controversy. DP World proposed establishing and operating transport logistics services at four major Kenyan facilities: Mombasa, Lamu, Kisumu, and the dry port in Naivasha. As it surfaced amid election campaigning, it sparked heated political controversy, with some characterising it as a covert plot to sell off public assets. Detractors raised concerns about sovereignty and lack of openness.
Despite this, the Kenyan government has highlighted the possible economic benefits, including creating new jobs, expanding existing businesses, and strengthening Kenya’s position as a logistics hub.
The arrangement also accords with Kenya’s ambition to convert Lamu into a new economic zone, ideally putting it as an import gateway for the hinterlands, spanning to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Understanding the Dubai-Africa Relationship
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) push into Africa is more than a commercial venture; it is an Emirate-tested move in a giant geopolitical game. In a region where Middle Eastern tensions boil, the UAE, fearing competition from Qatar and Turkey in Somalia, went to Somaliland, investing substantially in the Berbera port. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is using this action as part of a more extensive campaign to cement its position as a regional and global force in the Horn of Africa.
Establishing a streamlined commerce corridor connecting East Africa and the Great Lakes region is a fundamental plank of DP World’s overall strategy. The construction of a deep-sea port at Banana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a model of this goal. This port, once built, promises to provide a new entrance to the continent, boosting the DRC’s access to international markets and global supply chains.
DP World is not just building coastal properties. In Rwanda, the company has been a catalyst for growth since 2018, delivering bonded and inland container terminal services that have greatly improved local economies.
The partnership between DP World and Tanzania, announced in October 2023, is the most recent development in Tanzania’s long-term strategy to participate significantly in East Africa’s shipping industry. The $250 million project will improve cargo handling and turnaround times at the Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while adding another country to DP World’s portfolio. Tanzania is serious about updating its infrastructure with international help, as seen by the 30-year concession arrangement. The global port operator’s foray into Africa (where it already has a significant presence) is timed to coincide with the continent’s expanding trade potential and digital infrastructure development, and it is intended to foster the rise of Tanzania’s maritime sector.
DP World’s collaboration with the CDC Group of the United Kingdom indicates the company’s lofty African goals. Together, they pledged dollars to transform Africa’s infrastructure. A wealthier and more linked Africa is hoped for due to the investment, which will spur trade, generate employment opportunities, and increase access to necessities.
Towards the west, in Angola, DP World is investing $190 million to develop the local port into a central commerce hub. A similar landmark in the region’s economic development is the constructing of a $1.13 billion deep-water port at Ndayane in Senegal. The construction signals a new era in Africa’s commercial history, especially in light of the Africa Continental Free Trade Act. This historic legislation promotes intra-African commerce by establishing a continental market for products and services. With this goal in mind, DP World is investing in infrastructure across Africa, which has the potential to improve connectivity, lower trade barriers, and encourage economic integration.
Because of Africa’s great potential and historical significance as a trading hub, DP World is at the forefront of this shift as the continent’s economic climate quickly modernises. They plan to invest heavily in digital infrastructure to keep up with rising demand and improve the efficacy of trade logistics. DP World’s implementation of these cutting-edge solutions has already reduced container vessel wait times from days to hours.
The booming trade in perishable goods and the growing e-commerce market on the continent both necessitate this level of sophistication. By investing digitally, DP World can capitalise on Africa’s strategic location and plenty of natural resources to increase the value of the continent’s commodities and manufacturing industries. CARGOES is only one example of the company’s digital tools and platforms that make trade operations more straightforward and transparent, from shipment monitoring and invoicing to instant payment and efficient storage options.
DP World seeks to regulate and strengthen African trade by tackling the difficulties of logistics and storage with cutting-edge digital solutions. The goal of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area is to establish a single market for products and services across the continent, and this empowerment is expected to contribute to a more dynamic, responsive, and robust economic climate across the continent.