Ken Allen, CEO of DHL, has a lot to celebrate: business in Africa is booming. DHL is in business to make a profit. Luckily for Africa, their business is working out the logistics of connecting frontiers of business to demanding consumers. The numbers for Africa make it an extremely appealing continent in terms of frontiers: there is a 2:1 inbound ratio. As export/import experts, DHL fits right in. They have an office in most countries and offices in all major cities. They partner with retail and other outlets to take advantage of expanding networks.
It is not all smooth sailing for DHL in Africa. There are still the issues of navigating through many countries without clearly marked street signs and the prevalent corruption. Allen responds that DHL has been in Africa for 25-30 years. The logistics of getting around in a place without street signs has been worked out: DHL flies their planes into Legos, for example, then uses smaller DHL carriers to get to regional destinations. As for the corruption, DHL is not a government watch-dog. They are in business to do business. Allen states that most officials see DHL as a positive force and corruption is stronger in perception than in reality. Their role is not to question or change the strict customs regulations, but to interface on behalf of their customers and the regulations to make the transactions as smooth as possible. The goal of DHL is to build the best architecture to make it easy to do business.
– Katherine Zobre