By Staff Writer
Agility is one of the World’s largest integrated solution providers with $5billion revenue, more than 22, 000 employees and a global network of 550 offices in over 100 countries. The Dubai-headquartered company has a strong and growing presence in Africa where it builds durable, efficient supply chains that power businesses and drive trade, creates access to new opportunities, helps and supports governments and economies to grow.
Needless to say, as the International Monetary Fund revised the 4.3 per cent economic growth it predicted last October in sub-Saharan Africa to 3 percent in 2016, many African countries in efforts to recuperate from the shock of low commodity prices continue to improve their business climate and undertake macroeconomic policy reforms to increase and attract foreign direct investment to provide solutions to Africa’s challenges while spurring economic growth and development.
To this end, the recently held 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, which convened regional and global businesses, governments and civil society leaders, exemplifies the efforts of African leaders to find economic catalysts that can drive radical and robust transformation and strengthen public-private collaboration on key global and regional challenges.
As Agility Africa is one of the foreign investors in the continent, African Leadership Magazine’s Franklin Ajaegbu and Victor Gotevbe caught up with the CEO, Mr. Geoffrey White, at the World Economic Forum on Africa, to ascertain the company’s activities and investments in Africa and how Foreign Direct Investments are contributing to Africa’s economic growth and development story.
From the interaction with Mr. White, Agility is expanding into West African countries with offices in Ghana and Nigeria in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Senegal, Benin Republic, Angola, Congo, Cameroon, and Mozambique are to follow in the coming years. As part of their track record in Africa, Agility builds local capacity by hiring locally. Ninety Eight (98) percent of Agility’s employees in Africa are Africans. They also invest in on-the-job training, focusing on skills transfer, and enabling employees to grow within the organisation.
Their commercial activities provide solutions to challenges across key sectors of the African economies. Agility, which is currently building a pan-African network of international standard distribution parks, takes out the complexity of logistics in humanitarian relief, relocation of services, and cargo delivery for government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who look for supply chain solutions in remote and challenging environments or city settings. In Darfur, Sudan, Sierra Leon, Somalia, Chad, Libya, Mali among others, Agility has been involved in the delivery of life support services and logistics for government agencies and NGOs.
Additionally, it is involved in planning and execution for oil and gas clients in major oil-producing countries in Africa, storage and distribution of fuel, ground handling, and airport services, connecting companies to new markets and sources of growth.
It is also important to note that Agility contributes to the development of the continent through a strong and functional social impact initiative. In Sudan, for instance, the company contributes to the development of the educational sector by initially donating three classrooms to primary schools in Juba, and later funding the construction of a new primary school outside of the main town. This level of involvement remarkably allows 400 students a year to get access to education.
Agility’s bulk fuel transport business has been working in South Sudan for years, moving fuel by barge to support aid organisations. The company through this process develops strong ties with the local community. The company has also awarded 85 scholarships to help pay for the cost of education.
In Sierra Leon, Agility employees have been raising funds to support the All as One Orphanage for more than five years. The orphanage looks after 100 children. It has helped transport equipment and educational material to Sierra Leone as well as supported the running costs of the orphanage.
Agility also provides access to clean water and better schools In Egypt. The company installed three water treatment stations in a small town in rural Upper Egypt. As a result, five hundred (500) children now have improved access to clean water. The company’s employees also helped refurbished three schools catering for more than 500 students. Employees have raised funds and volunteered their time to help in the renovation, allowing kids in the community to learn in a brighter, cleaner and better-equipped educational environment.