Today Africa is divided into forty-six states, more than three times the number in Asia (whose land surface is almost 50% larger) and nearly four times the number in South America.[i] These boundaries cut through 177 cultural areas and this is a major seedbed for the informal economy. Despite these facts, few rail or roadways cross borders and there are no commercially navigable rivers to facilitate the movement of goods either. Add in the infrastructure that has been ravaged by war, the often rife corruption and poor governance and the picture is clear. There are few means in place to move whatever is extracted or generated from the vast natural resources of Africa to any place else. This is the key. If you can’t move what you produce cost effectively, you are physically and economically trapped. Logistics is key.

(more…)