Amadou Diallo is CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa based in Dubai. A role he is well-placed to perform with his experience in logistics and international leadership. He is responsible for the performance and long-term strategic development of the unit. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, the DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa CEO speaks on the DHL’s experience in the African market, current state of the logistics sector, the biggest potentials for growth in Africa and outlined his company’s future plans in Africa. Excerpt.
Alaba: Kindly share your set goals when assuming as the CEO, and how much progress has been made?
Amadou: I’m a strong believer that there is a strong correlation between how well the organization does and how well we treat our people. In this regard, I’m very fortunate to work alongside talented individuals who are not just skilled at what they do, they do it with the utmost commitment, in the interest of our customers. I’ve taken on many roles within the organization, in various regions over the years, and I believe my diverse experience has given me a refreshing perspective to run the team here, and most importantly, I’m happy to contribute back to the community I was born and raised in. I’m proud to be African and I think Africa has a lot more to offer to the world.
My aspiration is to make our business in Africa the most attractive to talents in our industry, the most customer centric logistics company, the most efficient and profitable region in our division as well as the most socially responsible team within the next three years. We want to become the champions of logistics within our division as well as in the market.
Alaba: Can you provide some insights into DHL historical presence in Africa?
Amadou: DHL first started in Africa in 1865 under Hull Blyth in Angola, and has since built up an extensive network of offices offering end-to-end logistics services throughout the continent. It now has representation in every African country often with multiple business units covering Express shipments, Ocean Freight, Road Freight, Air & Supply Chain services.
We have over the years, built up a strong brand, and I expect us to maintain this as we operate in the diverse markets in Africa with the best of local talent who are sensitive to cultural nuances and local business practices.
Alaba: What has been DHL’s experience in the market in terms of its challenges, competition and successes?
Amadou: Having provided world-class freight services in Africa for the past few decades, we have seen the rapid economic growth and development in the region, and the opportunities which businesses here can tap into. With our long-term expertise and with the support of our extensive, global network, we at DHL Global Forwarding work every day towards offering our clients the best possible tailor-made solutions, which meet their evolving business needs. We remain committed to supporting them with timely, agile, and cost-effective global freight connections that allow them to reach their fullest potential.
As one of the fastest-growing markets for DHL Global Forwarding, Africa remains very attractive for many of our customers. Therefore, staying close to the market and being adaptable and responsive to customer needs are part of our fundamental principles. In order to provide the best to customers, DHL Global Forwarding relies not just on world-class facilities in Africa, but also places emphasis on our robust workforce in the region to build on its successful legacy.
Beyond adaptability, we are also cultural experts in our field of business – we operate in each diverse market in Africa with the best of local talents who are sensitive to cultural nuances and local business practices. We are heartened that our clients also see the value we bring to their table – in 2019; we were voted Africa’s International Freight Forwarder of the Year for the fifth consecutive year by readers of STAT Times, a leading international air freight publication.
Having said that, we also recognize that there remain challenges to navigate, given that the continent continues to see the lack of infrastructural support and connectivity. Nonetheless, we remain optimistic about the region’s prospects and are well-equipped to deal with challenges, and see them as opportunities to tap into. With our targeted investments and strategic initiatives, we are focused on megatrends in logistics, such as e-commerce, and are developing promising growth prospects.
Our approach is clear: We think global and act local. That requires us to have a global and long term view, while at the same time operating within local or regional constraints or cultural restrictions, to best maximize the situation. In order to achieve that, we have built a strong local team of experts in each of the countries in Africa – those who understand the nuances and can help us navigate through these challenges.
Alaba: In terms of reputation and performance, where would you like to see DHL Middle East and Africa in 3-5 yrs?
Amadou: Having been in the region for the last few decades, DHL has already established itself as a trusted partner to our customers, and I am sure we will maintain market leader position because of the value we bring to our customers.
In the next few years, we will also continue to invest in meeting growing market demand, amplifying the region’s transport infrastructure, and applying global innovations to the Africa context, with an especial focus on partnerships that will bolster our capabilities to deliver best results. We will also look into setting up more competency centers for verticals such as automotive, life sciences and perishables for example, to ensure we put in place highly specialized teams that know the unique contexts which customers in these sectors navigate, leading to winning partnerships. Wherever possible, we look into new or existing markets for us to enter or grow, to best enjoy first-mover advantage and anticipate our customers’ needs.
Digitalization will remain a key focus because there is potential for digital technologies to drive significant productivity improvements, transform customer service and create new revenue streams. We are looking forward to bringing customer benefits through an enhanced shipping experience and improved access to information.
On the people front, I hope to attract the brightest people to join our team, and to retain the talent we currently have. Diversity is celebrated in our organization and I am going to continue pushing this agenda – we will work toward having more women in leadership, and run programs that groom young talent for key positions in the company.
DHL is and will remain The Logistics Company for Africa.
Alaba: How would you evaluate the current state of the logistics sector in Africa?
Amadou: I see the logistics sector as the best enabler for Africa’s transformation towards a manufacturing platform for the world and we are seeing various forms of changes, similar to what we witnessed in Asia ten years ago. According to the World Economic Forum, the continent’s growth is projected to reach 4% in 2019 and 4.1% in 2020. An enabler of trade, logistics will play an instrumental role to facilitate the movement of goods intra-regionally and in/out of Africa.
However, despite the optimistic outlook thanks to rising urbanization and a growing middle class, the region’s growth opportunities are tapered by political risk factors, infrastructure and a fragmented market typical of an emerging region where each country has its own unique economic and cultural environment. While there is limited influence we can have on government policies on trade, logistics providers should work with customers to help them navigate through complex customs regulations and be accountable for customers’ entire end-to-end operations.
We can expect more competition among logistics providers in this region, but I’m confident that DHL, with our global expertise and local talent, will best value add and meet our customers’ expectations.
Alaba: Where are the biggest potentials for growth in Africa now and beyond?
Amadou: Africa is one of our network’s fastest growing markets. The business and socio-political climate in the region has definitely stabilized as compared to what we have experienced in the last few years – that bodes well for the economy as a whole. For example, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Morocco are heavily working to improve on policies as well as infrastructure towards becoming important logistics hubs.
According to the World Economic Forum, the continent’s growth is projected to reach 4% in 2019 and 4.1% in 2020. With the region’s economic landscape growth attributed to a young urbanizing population, we are anticipating that digitization, digitalization and the adoption of new technologies in our services and solutions will be crucial to cater to Africa’s mobile-first consumer and business preferences.
Equally, a boost in intra-regional trade will be critical to growing the economy further, and there is room for logistics providers such as DHL to scale up our operations to support our customers’ needs.
Alaba: What’s your view on the African Continental Free Trade Area?
Amadou: Currently, Africa has the lowest intra-regional trade in the world as compared to Europe and Asia, so greater integration of African economies will accelerate growth by removing barriers to trade and investment, hence sharpening Africa’s edge in global trade and value chains. Logistics as an enabler of trade will also grow to support the region’s logistics needs, so wherever possible, we will look into new or existing markets to enter or grow, to best enjoy first-mover advantage and anticipate our customers’ needs.
Like ASEAN and the EU, ACFTA will enable stellar growth and job creation within the continent whilst making it more attractive for foreign investors.
Alaba: How would you describe your leadership style, and monitor the performance of the people you lead?
Amadou: I believe in our people as they are the cornerstone of the company’s success. They are the best we can find in the continent – in addition to being extremely skillful in their respective fields, they also wear their hearts on their sleeves, know Africa inside-out and are fiercely passionate about giving their best to our customers. Rather than monitor or micro-manage, I prefer to trust my senior management team to set clear goals, which their teams can align to, and make available the needed resources to help them do their work well.
It is important to set our people up for success, and celebrate little wins along the way, to keep our morale high. In essence, positivity, enthusiasm, hard work and determination are the best combinations I put to play in order to lead with head, heart and guts. I have zero tolerance for corruption and disrespect.
Alaba: What inspires you and keeps you going? What books do you read?
Amadou: I work alongside a great team of colleagues in the region – every single individual comes ready each day to do our best for our customers, and this keeps the passion and fire in me going. It is especially rewarding to know that we have the best team for our customers, made up of experts in their fields and raring to go.
The sparkle in the eyes of my colleagues, customers, friends and family keeps me going! My grandmother, Aissatou Labe is still my greatest source of inspiration, and she has not written any books. I read a lot on technology, innovation but also historical books detailing the stories of different entrepreneurs.
Alaba: What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors in Africa?
Amadou: Be bold in your endeavors and place your customers’ interest at the heart of everything you do, without compromising on the welfare of your team. It will be tough at the get-go but keep your eye on the prize, and keep pushing your limits. Sacrifice for your teams and build their success, and they will be with you for the long run.
B I O G R A P H Y
Amadou Diallo is CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa. Based in Dubai, he is responsible for the performance and long-term strategic development of the unit, a role he is well-placed to perform with his experience in logistics and international leadership. Mr. Diallo has more than 30 years of experience in the tourism, banking, express and logistics industries.
He is also the founder of Saloodo!, DHL’s first logistics online platform. Prior to this role, he took on various senior roles within the organization – CEO of DHL Freight, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding South Asia Pacific, Chief Financial Officer of DPDHL Logistics Division and Managing Director for the integration of Exel and DHL. Mr. Diallo has worked across all geographies in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Renowned for his expertise and forward-thinking approach towards corporate integrations, Mr. Diallo played a lead role in shaping the development and structure of the DHL Logistics Division through the Exel integration, which remains the largest corporate integration in the transportation and logistics industry to date. Mr. Diallo is Chairman of Amref Health Africa in Germany, a member of the boards of Welthungerhilfe, Global Business School Network and the Universal Business School of Mumbai.
He is Senegalese and fluent in several languages including English, German, French, Fulani, Wolof and Spanish. As of February 2019
Biography: Remi Duyile- RemiSpeaks, Career and Impact
Remi Duyile: Author | International Speaker | Empowerment Coach | Strategic Consultant
About Remi Duyile
Dr. Remi Duyile is a Nigerian-born and accomplished author, founder of Legacy premier foundation, a business leader with expertise and extensive experience in the financial sector, government and corporate strategy and communication , an eloquent International Keynote speaker who is intentionally in the Diaspora and abroad impacting the next generation and being a business bridge to Global Investors. She is an insightful legislative advocate and trusted community leader. Remi Duyile wears many hats, the one that she wears very proudly is being a devoted wife, and mother to three awesome children.
Dr. Duyile is an example of how faith, hard work and diligence can lead to numerous exposure and growth, she is passionate about seeing others succeed, it’s no doubt she was honored by the Governor of Maryland in the United States of America for her matchless efforts to better humanity. She has made it her life’s purpose to empower others to recognize their own strength, skills and abilities.
Early Life and Education
Dr. Remi Duyile was born and raised in Ondo City and Lagos State, Nigeria. where she learned the thesis of discipline, hard work, commitment and staying true to oneself. With this strong foundation, she relocated from Nigeria to the United States over 30 years ago with just one purpose: to shatter the glass ceilings which she fulfilled, is still fulfilling and will continue to fulfill.
As a fervid believer in the power of education as the key to unlocking opportunities, Dr. Duyile enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia between 1982 and 1987 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Masters’ of Business Administration in Finance and Business Economy.
Dr. Duyile started her corporate career at one of the nation’s most revered banking institutions, Bank of America(one of the largest financial institutions in the United States). It was here that she shattered glass ceilings when she was promoted to Vice President of Retail, Premier, and Mortgage Banking. Dr. Duyile served in these roles managing over 600 financial portfolios of high net-worth clients for several years, until she decided that it was time to step into her true calling as a serial entrepreneur and empowering others in her community.
Impact and Philanthropy
Dr. Duyile founded Premier Mortgage Solutions (a mortgage solutions business), Image Consulting Group (an international consulting firm), and Legacy Premier Foundation (a non-profit providing mentorship and financial literacy for women and girls. She’s also the founder of RemiSpeaks. RemiSpeaks is a Coaching, Speaking and Training Platform for Management, Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs in quest of sustainable growth with Global Relevance. Under the umbrella of her companies, she has become an empowerment mentor, community mobilizer, certified trainer, as well as an international key note speaker.
She has spoken throughout Africa, Europe, and extensively within North America (Canada and the US) teaching financial literacy, offering entrepreneurial development, and encouraging emerging leaders to engage in the Diaspora and beyond.
Professional Memberships, Affiliations and Boards
- Member Continental Who’s Who
- Member, World Trade Center Institute
- Member, National Black MBA
- Advisory Council Member, Leadership Initiatives
- Member, Wambia Capital
- Advisory Board Member, Mentoring International
- Member, National Speakers Association-DC
- Member, Les Brown Platinum Speaker Network
- Member : NCBW 100 of Prince George’s
- Member: LPGA Golf Female Executive Member
- Board Chair: Pan African Diaspora Women Association
- Board Member, Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc.
- Member, Jesus House, DC
- Chair, Census 2010 Complete Count Committee. 2009 – 2010
- Member, Maryland Democratic Party, Continental African Leadership Council
- Member of the National Coalition of 100 Black women
Nomination and Recognition
- Top 100 MBE award winner 2009
- 2010 Smart CEO Award
- Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, 2013
Biography: Ngozi Oyewole – Noxie, Career and Impact
Ngozi Oyewole, also known as ‘Noxie’ is the Founder of Noxie Limited, an award-winning, SONCAP (SON/LSOII/CB/2324) and MAN (MAN/GML/05047) integrated service provider and manufacturer. She is a certified health and safety professional and a big player in the medical, food, construction, oil and gas industries supplying protective equipment.
A result driven, resilient and ace ‘womentrepreneur’ with an extensive experience in leadership, business management and strategic planning. She is an experienced, certified Interior Designer and holds a degree in Business Administration; an alumnus of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
In 2015, she was nominated by Forbes Magazine as one of the leading women entrepreneur in Africa championing business sustainability and women inclusion in business. A WEConnect International award recipient for Woman of Excellence 2019.
Ngozi is also a 2019 award recipient of an Exceptional Leader of Excellence from the Women Economic Forum (WEF) and All Ladies League. She is a certified and active member of WeConnect International, SheTrade Commonwealth, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), WIMBIZ and Nigeria Gas Association (NGA).
She is a member of the Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA); a member cum Assistant Secretary of the International Women’s Society (IWS); Lioness Club of Africa Group, Thrive Women Solution, GAIA Women Club, Global Fund for Women and World Pulse Group; a member of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria; a member and COO of Commonwealth Business Women Network Nigeria. The CBWN sits on the main governance body on gender for the 54 commonwealth governments.
A NITAD certified trainer and holds various certifications in her industry which are Oxford Driving Disruptive Growth Program from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, the MOODY’S Financing your Growing Business certificate, Women Leadership Institute certificate in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. She also holds more than 35 certifications from the SheTrades Commonwealth Global Entrepreneurship Program.
Ngozi Oyewole was a participant at the Road to Growth Training Program organized by Cherie Blair Foundation in conjunction with Exxon Mobil and Enterprise Development Center, Pan Atlantic University, Nigeria. She is a member of the oil and gas forum and an active player in various women oil, renewable energy, power and gas networks.
She belongs to a high impact entrepreneurial group (HIVE) and has been selected as one of their global speaker for their 2020 conference in Ghana. A panelist at the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit 2020 Women Forum where she spoke on how small industries can disrupt big industries. She was a participant at the LCCI Cyber Security 2020 Conference in Lagos.
Her business services cut across all spheres and major sectors in Nigeria such as the Oil and Gas, Communication, Banking, Power, Education, etc. As the Founder of Noxie Limited, she has been able to leverage her years of experience to ensuring that all her products, though produced locally, meet international specifications as certified by her vast client base, which is further supported by the company’s foreign partners such as PPE SERVICES B.V in the Netherlands; MIGE Office Furniture in Singapore, TINGLEY CORPORATION in the USA, ANOWAT PROJECTS AND RESOURCES LIMITED in Turkey and Hong Kong.
She participated at the SMEDAN supported USA-AFRICA Business Expo 2019 in New York, USA; WEConnect International and Moody’s Foundation 2019 Bootcamp; AWEP Annual Conference; WIMBIZBoard Institute Training; Africa SME Champion Conference and The Boardroom Africa Open Door Conference in South Africa.
She was at the 2019 African Union Expo and the AIW Africa Week Expo in Ethiopia. She was at the Global Business Expo 2019 in Botswana and the WEConnect International 2019 Annual Conference. She was also at the 2019 World Economic Forum in India. She was a key note speaker at the 2nd Thrive Women Conference in 2019 and at the 6th HIVE (High Impact Visionary Entrepreneur) Global Leaders Summit in Accra, Ghana.
As a social crusader and philanthropist, Ngozi Oyewole is the President of Mrs. Beatrice Chiebonam Foundation where she engages her influence to reach-out and render financial aids to over 400 widows yearly in various parts of Rivers State. She also organizes skill-based empowerment programs for women and mentors young female entrepreneur through the Cherie Blair Foundation and other platforms. She is a part of the team supporting education for the “Almajiri Child Right Initiative”; Women Impacting Nigeria and “When in Need” philanthropic group that seeks out to support the less privileged within her community.
Visit: Noxie Limited
Josephine Favre – B I O G R A P H Y
Josephine Favre, a Tanzanian grew up in Geneva, Switzerland due to the Diplomatic nature that brought her Father to Switzerland in 1975. Josephine attended the International School of Geneva from primary education to graduating with an International Baccalaureate Diploma.
She pursued higher-level studies where she obtained her Diploma in Marketing and Communication being nominated as MarCom Expert in her category. She later obtained Certification in Leadership (MBA Level) and registered for an Executive MBA with Cambridge University, UK.
Josephine worked her way up into senior management positions with global organizations, focusing on marketing and sales of consumer goods and services in foreign markets. Marketing and Communication being her strongest points, Josephine has worked within several industries such as Swiss Luxury Watches, (The SWATCH Group, Gucci Timepieces and IWC), Asset Management Systems, Banking Technology and Education.
Over time her roles and responsibilities evolved, enabling her to reach the strategic management level in various multinational companies. With more than 20 years experience in education, Josephine developed her passion for writing instructional programs and curricula for learning institutions. In Switzerland, She is still a very dedicated Language and Communication Instructor that continues:
-To foster position all earning environments for students with diverse learning difficulties.
-Maximize individual student performance.
-Develop student interest in language and communication.
Since a very young age, Josephine has been volunteering in humanitarian projects that led her to visit various communities in Africa where she actively engages herself in diverse initiatives including putting together agriculture infrastructure, programs and trainings enabling communities to sustainably secure food for their families while creating an enterprise mindset.
Josephine created The African Association for Vertical Farming (AAVF) in October 2018 where she sits as the President. An association that seeks to accelerate the practice of Vertical Farming and Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) into the continent. Through collaborations with various stakeholders in the entire Agro value chain. With its main focus on Agri Business, Education & Training, Research and Technology as well as Humanitarian Support.
She therefore has a good notion of the African continent which she dearly cherish.