African supply chains
USAID recently announced its plans to invest $15 million in the development of a state-of-the-art research and training facility in Ghana that aims to improve African supply chains. Supply chains constitute the path that goods take as they go from a mere idea to a concrete purchase. Goods move through supply chains from companies to manufacturers and finally to buyers. Supply chains often operate on a global scale as communication and technology have progressed. Struggles to join capital-building and international supply chains prevent many African economies from experiencing serious growth.

According to Arizona State University research, healthy, efficient supply chains are essential for economic development. Furthermore, healthy supply chains are crucial to providing widespread access to necessary goods such as medicine and sanitary products. To grow African economies and expand access to resources, USAID is sponsoring a groundbreaking research and training facility in Ghana. It will be named the Center for Applied Research in Supply Chain-Africa. This facility aims to strengthen supply chains across the African continent.

A Research and Training Facility Rooted in Innovation and Education

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and University Technology in Ghana and Arizona State University, who have successfully partnered on projects in the past, will spearhead the Center for Applied Research in Supply Chain-Africa, also called CARISCA. Accordingly, the research and training center will function as a facility to “connect African researchers, practitioners, and businesses to supply chain assets around the world.” Additionally, the partnership between Kwame Nkrumah University and Arizona State University is a facet of USAID’s BRIDGE-Train program that seeks to connect American and African institutions in order to strengthen international relationships in education. Thus, the training center will not only connect business professionals but students and educators as well.

The Center for Applied Research in Supply Chain-Africa intends to boost economic autonomy in African countries. As a result, it focusses on providing marginalized populations with the opportunity to join expanding supply chains. USAID has committed itself to investments that will stimulate long-term growth. These will consequently reduce global poverty and decrease the need for international aid.

An African Free Trade Agreement

With the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2019, the research and training facility in Ghana will likely prosper. The agreement will permit free trade between 28 African countries. Moreover, it will remove barriers that previously hindered movement through African supply chains. In 2016, only 18% of exports were intra-regional, meaning that relatively little trade is taking place between African countries. Researchers believe that by increasing intra-regional trade, many African economies could grow in order to make the whole continent a more dynamic force in international markets.

The development of the Center for Applied Research in Supply Chain-Africa in Ghana is a major investment in African economic growth. It will hopefully provide opportunities for innovation in African businesses.

Courtney Bergsieker
Photo: Pixabay