Between 2007 and 2017, a staggering USD 50 billion were invested in the African port sector. With growth of 7% a year in maritime traffic of all types and a four-fold increase in maritime trade, driven in particular by Asia, Africa is the focus of renewed interest.
Over the past decade, the majority of Africa’s port terminals have been handed over to private operators: the Continent now represents 5% of international maritime trade and 2% of global containerised traffic (pages 30-33). Most African container terminals are now managed under public-private partnership arrangements (pages 14-17) whose terms have been defined by the World Bank. Practically all of the ports that agreed to these investments have been able to make up for lost time in just a few years, both by adopting international standards to enhance their productivity and by boosting their profitability and competitiveness.
Now more than ever, the African port sector needs to step up and play a key role in the Continent’s development. This is why Private Sector & Development is devoting an entire issue to the question, at a time when Africa seeks to benefit from the favourable trade winds of the new world order.