DHL: collaboration essential to successful African trade
The theme ‘Then and Now: Reimagining Africa's Future’ and, fittingly, Brewer said that despite Africa being one of the last frontiers for economic growth and development, leaders need to urgently determine the best approach for the continent going forward and work hard to implement it. Business leaders, government and the community need to work together towards making Africa easier to do business with.
Brewer said: “The region offers plenty of untapped opportunities, which pave the way for SMEs to fill the gaps not presently being catered for by larger corporations. Manufacturing, on a large scale, is still somewhat embryonic in Africa and as such, there is a definite opportunity for SMEs that operate in the manufacturing industry.”
DHL first entered Africa in the late seventies and has grown its presence to extend over every country on the continent, suffice to say that it is familiar with nearly any eventuality.
He pointed to the recent Global Connectedness Index, which stated, sadly, that Africa is the world’s least connected continent, considering the free movement of trade, information and finance.
A discussion on the Future of Trade at the WEF forum highlighted the fact that just 12 percent of African countries’ total trade is with each other, and the continent only accounts for 3 percent of value addition to global trade.
Brewer added: “Government and the private sector need to work together to create a sustainable and inclusive environment, and work on solutions to make it easier to conduct business and for the business environment to flourish. Attending a forum such as WEF definitely enriches your knowledge, but what I find most valuable, is that a lot of the discussions challenge your beliefs and value sets.”
DHL is a leading global logistics brand offering services that range from national and international parcel delivery, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management.
Read the June Issue of African Business Review.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.