While the rest of the world has gone on to become a key player in global trade, Africa remains slow. Even with its tremendous natural resources like gold and diamonds, the continent has only 2 per cent of export products and services in circulation.
Many countries in Asia and Latin America prove otherwise. Despite having fewer resources, countries like South Korea and Japan played a huge part in the global trading system.
Africa is economically abundant nevertheless. Despite the lack of a well-interconnected supply chain, both of its rich resources and agricultural products cement an income source for decades. To keep up, Africa needs to step up its game by tapping on the power of the internet.
History of the African Trade
The African region has been exporting precious metals and raw materials to developed countries since time immemorial. In return, those industrialized countries import finished products to the region, creating a mutually balanced trading relation.
Africa has exported mostly natural resources and agricultural products like petroleum, copper, coffee, grains, livestock, textiles, clothing, gold, diamonds, and platinum. Most of these trades occur within cramped and tiny ports. In recent years intra-African trading has risen. Regional trading surged 10 per cent among African free trade zones.
When Africa started trading within the region, the continent grew economically. Regional trading or intra-trading is necessary to promote competitiveness in the continent. Even more so, they hone these products enough to compete not just within the region but also across the world. This rise forges African goods and services to be a viable contender in global trade. As a result, each African country can also bring home lots of income.
But as more and more products come and go to their shipping ports, larger shipments often get delayed. To strengthen its trading, Africa must establish an efficient supply chain. Major companies should adopt a cloud-based trading system.
Industry 4.0 (The Fourth Industrial Revolution) to Improve African Supply Chain
Technology carved a unique landscape in manufacturing and supply. Computers and the internet from previous years enable business leaders to tap the international market.
But the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0, marks the new era of automation. With developed artificial intelligence software, manufacturing, and logistics, companies doubled their income without doubling manpower. Robotics takes on bigger packages and shipments while cloud computing handles, interprets, and solves problems of bigger data.
Data processing becomes easier with the help of cloud computing. Multiple companies use this advanced technology to manage their day-to-day tasks, without big infrastructure and manpower.
Cloud software or SaaS embeds a machine learning capacity or artificial intelligence. It analyzes the data, then predicts and solves problems that might arise based on past conditions. This process produces a “smart factory,” where increase efficiency and quality leaves less room for errors, downtime, waste, and delays.
While Industry 4.0 took Africa to a promising level, internet penetration proved to be a hindrance to its escalating growth.
Nigeria accounts its rapid growth to its 61-per cent internet penetration. On the contrary, Uganda’s internet penetration of only 24 per cent can cripple a supposed powerhouse economy.