To expand accessibility to small, medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, DHL said it would continue to invest in the Nigerian market and help stimulate growth.
Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express, Sub-Saharan Africa, Hennie Heymans, in a chat with journalists, said DHL would continue to be at the forefront of investment in the economy and help SMEs to maximise their growth through its various programmes.
He said it was important that the firm presses forward with its investments in the country so that it could continue to expand its network, thereby expanding accessibility for SMEs.
Heymans, who described Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa as a critical part of the firm’s network, said the nation’s market is unique because of the incredible growth being witnessed at the macro level, particularly in the SME sector.
“Nigeria is an important market for us and we will continue to invest in this market. We have invested heavily in the facilities such as the acquisition of two model boats for navigation. We will continue that investment. So, the focus right now from a macro point of view as well as SMEs, is that we see growth in the SME market here and believe it is our role and part of our purpose to make sure that we help and stimulate that growth,” he said.
Heymans who noted that the SMEs play a critical role in the economy and make up about 48 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, 96 per cent of businesses and about 84 per cent of the job opportunities in the local market, said as the population grows, SMEs will continue to be a real source of economic growth, inclusion and job employment.
To support SMEs, he said the firm would help bring the world to Nigeria’s SMEs while taking the SMEs from the country to the world.
“And we do that through our cross-border network. There are a couple of ways to interpret the concept of networks, the first one is bringing international trade in and taking international trade out.
“Whatever gets produced by the SMEs can be transported across borders within Africa, or internationally. We are particularly proud of the fact that we connect the world through our aviation network. As it were, we have our aviation hub located here in Lagos, and we also have an extensive, independent retail outlet network which gives accessibility to the SMEs,” he said.
Heymans said looking at the challenges that SMEs face, particularly in the area of skills, training and understanding international trade, DHL has initiated some programmes like ‘Power Up Your Potential’ which is a training programme specifically designed to educate SMEs about taking their businesses across borders.
Furthermore, the company has programmes such as ‘GO Trade’ that it uses to facilitate trade while it also uses its international expertise to help ensure an understanding of cross-border trade. “The Go Trade programme is one that we use to stimulate the SMEs and their growth and to help bridge that knowledge gap. We have partnered with international organisations such as the GIZ, to offer this training to SMEs so that they can understand the value of cross-border trade.