Amadou Diallo, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Middle East and Africa

DHL’s biggest achievement since its founding in 1969 is growing from being a start-up with three young entrepreneurs to being the most international company on Earth. With more than 550,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, the company continues to strive as the postal service for Germany, the logistics company for the world and a great place to work.

With business across all of the company’s divisions growing tremendously, DHL has successfully pushed into regions around the world with the company’s global reach spanning transportation and warehousing to industry-specific solutions designed to streamline worldwide logistics.


Mr. Amdou Diallo is the CEO in charge of DHL’s Global Forwarding in the Middle East and Africa. His acute knowledge and experiences in developing teams, building customer and supplier relationships, and being socially responsible are all key for growing the business as he pushes into the future as an innovator in the logistics industry. He shares some thoughts with Africa Executive.

How has DHL evolved over the years, and where does it want to go?

Our new DPDHL Group strategy “Strategy 2025 – Delivering excellence in a digital world” focuses on strengthening what we do best – our core businesses. It provides a framework for accelerating – especially digital – opportunities to enhance our customer services and continuously improve our processes.

Logistics providers will have to continue addressing their environmental footprints, and we are committed to doing our part: Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to achieve net zero logistics-related emissions by 2050. Up to 2025, four interim targets will be used to track progress with the implementation of the new target. In the future, the company will focus its activities even more intensively on emission-neutral logistics concepts.

The Group is already making great strides in meeting its goal of increasing carbon efficiency by 50% by 2025. The carbon efficiency index was up 35% in 2019 compared with 2007 (2018: 33%). The Group’s contribution to better air quality in urban areas increased as well with 33% of all pickups and deliveries being emission-free (2025 target: 70%). Deutsche Post DHL Group today already uses green electricity for 83% of its energy needs. Moreover, the Group has together with its partners planted three million trees in reforestation projects since 2017.

How would you evaluate the situation in the freight forwarding sector in Africa?

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.

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 ensure to have a strong local team and experts in each of the countries in Africa – those who can help us navigate through these challenges.

Wherever possible, we look into new or existing markets for us to enter or grow, to best enjoy the first-mover advantage and anticipate our customers’ needs.

What are the main challenges facing DHL Global Forwarding in the region? How are you dealing with them?


Prospects for the global economy are still pointing towards continued low growth: Global GDP is expected to increase. However, economic momentum will probably remain below historic norms. Deutsche Post DHL Group is well-equipped to continue to perform well even with a lack of significant economic tailwinds. With our targeted investments and strategic initiatives, we are focused on megatrends in logistics, such as e-commerce, and are developing promising growth prospects.

With our long-term expertise and with the support of our extensive global network, we will continue to ensure we provide our customers with the best logistics solutions. As a company, we are always prepared to deal with challenges; in fact, we see them as opportunities to tap into.

Can you shed some light on the geographical importance of Africa to DHL?

Africa is one of our network’s fastest growing markets. With rising disposable incomes and more stable economic and socio-political environment, Africa as a region presents many opportunities for businesses. As it gains in economic importance, businesses need comprehensive freight connections, flexible capacity, and durable partnerships more than ever if they wish to grow alongside these opportunities. We continue to invest in meeting the growing market demand, amplifying the region’s transport infrastructure, and applying global innovations to the Africa context.

At DHL Global Forwarding, we are in the business of offering what works best for our clients – they can leverage our extensive network and expertise to extend their foray into the international markets. We also invest in bringing together the right talent in the right market, to maximize their expertise in navigating local business or cultural practices.

As a global company, how do you stay relevant to local needs in a continent that is so diverse?

DHL is an established global logistics service provider; staying close to the market with strong local knowledge and experience, and being adaptable and responsive to customer needs are DHL’s fundamental principles. 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 service and solution.

Beyond adaptability, we are also cultural experts in our field of business – we operate in each diverse market in Africa with the best local talents who are attuned to cultural nuances and local business practices.

DHL has a proven commitment to technology and connectivity. What are the best practices/strategies that you employ, to seek out, develop and Implement solutions for trade requirements?


DHL has been driving innovations through various initiatives which enable us to identify and implement changes that improve trade flows as well as meet our customer needs even before they anticipate them. Our footprint expansion will play a major role in facilitating international trade across the region especially for medium enterprises (SMEs) that are consistently seeking access to growth opportunities beyond our borders:
myDHLi Quote & Book – an online service for comparing quotations and making instant bookings for air and ocean freight and even for door-to-door shipments. The service guides customers through the quotation journey and enables them to directly compare available options, including DHL Ocean Connect LCL (less-than-container-load) and FCL (Full container load) as well as two speeds of air freight, DHL Air Connect, and DHL Air Economy

Similarly, we have launched Saloodo!, our digital marketplace that connects shippers and carriers, in South Africa and UAE. The platform utilizes artificial intelligence to fully digitize the customer experience when it comes to our Africa Connect offering for Road freight services. Our plan is to launch it in a few more countries this year as we try to plug the digital gap in reliable road freight services in Africa and the Middle East.

Safety and reliability of delivery are traditionally perceived as the key competitive strength of the global freight forwarding business. What initiatives does DHL undertake to bring its services in line with the market expectations?

We facilitate global trade and offer innovative logistics solutions to help businesses tap into opportunities. Our joint venture with Ethiopian Airlines to form DHL-Ethiopian Airlines Logistics Services has also reaped results – a combination of DHL Global Forwarding’s world-class freight expertise with Ethiopian Airlines’ local know-how to give Ethiopian businesses a future-ready logistics network designed to keep pace with the country’s rapid industrialization and globalization.


Staying close to the market and being adaptable and responsive to customer needs are DHL’s fundamental principles. We have established world-class facilities in Africa to support our global network, led by best-in-class services by our employees. We are committed to the region and will continue to build on our successful legacy in the region.

What do you think are the main distinctive features and strengths of DHL’s corporate culture?


We have a culture of open communication, access to information, and the provision of necessary resources for optimal performance.

As a global company, the diversity and inclusivity of the workforce is very important to us. We believe that a diverse workforce has a positive and multifaceted impact on our business, on our drive towards innovation, our attractiveness as an employer and our success with our customers. We have been awarded Top Employer in Middle East and in Africa for 2020, a mark of recognition from the Top Employer Institute.

We are a team focused on customer-centricity – providing tailored solutions across all sectors to best meet customers’ business needs. With our guiding principle of Respect & Results, we show respect to our customers, employees, and investors by understanding their needs and meeting their expectations in our journey towards delivering results for our customers and the company.

Given DHL’s large presence in Africa, what is your take on the African Economy as it relates to freight and business conditions at the moment?


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 spells well for the economy as a whole, and of course, has positive effects on freight prospects. Logistics is the enabler of trade and therefore, we are always ready to create the connections necessary for growth and cross-border commerce, thereby laying the groundwork for thriving businesses, industries, and economies.

Greater integration of African economies will remove barriers to trade and investment, and logistics as an enabler of trade will also grow to support the region’s logistics needs. For example, when the integration of the three African regional economic communities (RECs): Comesa, SADC and the EAC under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) come into fruition in the near future, the region will see immense growth, for which we can best support with our global expertise and network.

We are always actively seeking out new markets to expand our already extensive network in the region, with the best local talents. Wherever possible, we look into new or existing markets for us to enter or grow, to best enjoy the first-mover advantage and anticipate our customers’ needs. Some of the areas we’ll look to continue focusing on by investing the right resources: Industrial Projects for the movement of breakbulk cargo, life sciences, perishables, automotive, oil, and gas.

How does DHL view the intermodal market?

Intermodal and Multimodal Transport provides the most efficient combination of multiple transport modes, optimizing lead times, reducing inventory costs, and keeping the level of freight costs under control. This combination results in increased environmental sustainability, reducing the transportation carbon footprint.

We see a lot of potential in growing this in Africa, as we acknowledged the effectiveness and success of this model in mature markets and regions in Europe and Asia. Of course, we are aware that there are still infrastructural challenges to overcome and there needs to be more economic integration in the region for this to come to fruition.

How do you see DHL Global Forwarding in the future?


Our new DPDHL Group strategy “Strategy 2025 – Delivering excellence in a digital world” focuses on strengthening what we do best – our core businesses. It provides a framework for accelerating – especially digital – opportunities to enhance our customer services and continuously improve our processes.

Staying close to the market and being adaptable and responsive to customer needs are DHL’s fundamental principles. We have established world-class facilities in Africa to support our global network, led by best-in-class services by our employees. We are committed to the region and will continue to build on our successful legacy in the region. Global trade will continue and we enable it; logistics remain a key pillar and we see a promising future especially as the region continues to focus on building up logistics infrastructure and regulations to drive economic growth. Some of the areas we’ll look to continue focusing on by investing the right resources: Industrial Projects for the movement of breakbulk cargo, life sciences, perishables, automotive, oil, and gas.

Economic integration is gaining momentum in Africa. How will these trends affect the logistics industry, and how does DHL plan to take advantage of this?


Logistics, as an enabler of trade, create the connections necessary for growth and cross-border commerce, thereby laying the groundwork for thriving businesses, industries, and economies.

Greater integration of African economies will remove barriers to trade and investment, and logistics as an enabler of trade will also grow to support the region’s logistics needs. For example, when the integration of the three African regional economic communities (RECs): Comesa, SADC and the EAC under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) does come into fruition in the near future, the region will see immense growth, for which we can best support with our global expertise and network.

We are always actively seeking out new markets to expand our already extensive network in the region, with the best local talents.

A number of countries in the region were some of the hardest hit During the pandemic. Has DHL suffered a knock-on effect from this? How did your strategy develop in the context of the downturn?


As a general principle, Deutsche Post DHL Group is well accustomed to dealing with political, regulatory, social, and economic changes around the world. We are confident that we will be able to make any necessary short and mid-term adjustments that are needed to avert disruption to our operations and to ensure that our customers will continue to enjoy the seamless service they have come to expect from us.

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