Chairman of McDan Group, Dr Daniel McKorley has noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make a difference in trade, but cautioned that Africa must learn to walk, crawl then run.
According to him, the trade marketplace has a segmentation of stakeholders and that some of the largest players in international trade either do not have access to current technology, or the education to make use of AI yet.
“So there must be a process that allows the early adopters to explore but also allows the late entrants the time to integrate.”
He was speaking at the 30th Anniversary Annual Meetings of Afriexim Bank in Accra, on the topic “Unlocking Africa’s Trade, Investment and Commerce Opportunities Leveraging Digital Platforms and Ecosystems”, where he indicated that technology is the concept of speed, accuracy, and convenience and for businesses at the forefront of logistics and trade facilitation, they have recognized how much technology can change the game for them.
He said: “When we think technology, we think data as the life blood of facilitation because we need to know not just the customer but all stakeholders. Then we think tracking; we need to ensure trust in delivery by employing innovative technology from boarding to destination.”
McDan averred that as a private sector leader in the AfCFTA National trading companies, they are taking a three-pronged approach: of first, collating data on all the existing businesses already trading within the region and ensuring they get the full benefit of AfCFTA, onboarding businesses onto African Trade (B2B) and link them to markets and creating connectivity across the value chain, from policy makers to protocol enforcers, through logistics providers to the end users.
The expectation, he indicated, is for that streamlined system to have direct impact on areas such as transactional costs, delivery speed, response time and many other metrics.
Daniel McKorley also pointed out that on the traditional front, he is also bringing on board, vessels and cargo planes as a part of the entire National Trading Companies project, stressing his goal of ensuring that the ecosystem brings to congruence both traditional and technological resources for accelerated delivery.
“Whilst this is not going to be an easy task initially, with the buy in at all country National policy levels, the various participating agencies, and all key stake holders, the process will continue to be consultative, well tested, and robust by the time of complete roll out.”
He believed that African trade is possible, and prosperity is achievable, and asked all work diligently towards it, and whilst technology plays its part, it will take every single one of us to deliver the value that is needed for success.