Africa’s tourism and logistics software market

Posted on January 29, 2017 12:00 am

In Africa’s fast paced market, businesses are increasingly judged not only on the quality of their goods and services, but also on the speed and efficiency with which they deliver them. Due to the increasing technical complexity of distributing standard consumer goods, and the globalisation of markets, the link between consumer and vendor has become longer and vastly more complicated. According to data in your blogger’s possession, African market for tourism and logistics software is expected to grow at twice the rate of the overall software market this year, with factors such as mobility, logistics-hub development, e-commerce and the 4G network being the main drivers. Most small and medium sized enterprises still have the potential to utilise software that would improve their productivity and efficiency.The tourism software market in African countries like Egypt, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria will this year experience twice the growth rate of the total software industry, as local and foreign companies are well-positioned to develop localised products to support domestic demand, as well as to provide after-sales service to businesses. Interestingly, locally developed software will remain cheaper than international products in my own observation. Gone are the days when African businesses depended on non locals for meet software needs. As a result of these factors, local tourism software has by far the majority share of the African market, at around 52 per cent in Nigeria and South Africa while Kenya and Egypt will cross the 50% mark in the next 18 months.Measures taken to support Kenyan tourism sector will also drive business usage of tourism software aimed at improving productivity and the sector’s supply chain.

In Egypt, most SMEs do not utilise software to support their business process by improving their productivity to support customers, who increasingly get the services they need via online channels. There is therefore high potential for Egyptian software firms to provide tourism software to help these operators. Software as a service has good growth potential for the near future in the country.A South Africa logistics-software development company owner recently told your blogger that South Africa’s software development designed for the logistics industry is also cashing in on high growth potential in light of the rising e-commerce trend, with more and more consumers shopping online.She also said that South African operators need their logistics to be finely tuned to demand, so that they do not have to carry too much inventory at any given time. The logistics industry is growing rapidly, both in South Africa and Africa. African countries relies on an expansive transport network of road, rail, air and sea to meet its logistical needs. Occupational pathways range across technical, operational and managerial areas, providing opportunities for graduates from many different disciplines.To manage supply chains, logistics companies use leading edge technology to provide shared resource efficiency and real-time information in conjunction with rapid transaction processing. The internet enables full integration of logistics functions and facilitates e business growth.In Kenya, there have been several recent government and private sector initiatives to develop and support the logistics sector, ranging from support for technology research to funding for industry-based training programs. This has also opened up more opportunities for Kenyan graduates. Many Kenyan organisations now also provide postgraduate qualifications training, creating strong scope for career learning and development.In addition, Kenya’s designs on being the logistics hub of the East and Central African region, coupled with mobile users, executives in terms of making business decisions on the go, and customers ordering products and services online are factors driving the usage of logistics software in the domestic market.

Me think that businesses that provide collaborative services will be an important part of the logistics industry, helping Kenyan and East African companies increase productivity and supporting the competition trend in the digital era.In Port of Mombasa, logistics software in use are now able to provide real-time information for a business and its customers alike. A business can utilise data for analytical purposes, so that it can provide flexibility for logistics services and business on demand.However its not all that rosy as some businesses lacked the necessary information-technology experts to support their business. There is also a lack of awareness of the benefits of utilising IT to support their business, particularly among restaurant and land-transportation operators who ply between Kenya to Uganda, then Rwanda, Kenya to Uganda then South Sudan or Kenya to Ethiopia.Also, in a research am familiar conducted early last year, tourism firms in Africa utilise software packages to run their business, but only less than 2% utilise outsourcing to develop software to support their operations.In the logistics sector, more than three quarter of businesses use software packages, while 9 per cent utilise outsourcing software or hire a local software company to develop a program to support their business.In my view, there’s still much room for local developers to provide software to support tourism and logistics industries. All what is needed are policies to encourage and leverage tourism and logistics businesses to utilise IT and software, in order to improve their productivity and the efficiency of their businesses as a whole.There’s need for African countries to support and encourage the application of technology to various industries, builds a cooperation network between software service providers and entrepreneurs, as well as expanding the market base for the African software industry to compete with the western world software service providers.

Contador Harrison