By Paul Matthew, Africa Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance

The cold chain logistics sector in Africa is pivotal to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) due to its role in upholding quality and safety standards for food and pharmaceutical products.

167-GCCA - Westin Conference

167-GCCA – Westin Conference. Claire Photography

At this year’s Africa Cold Chain Conference, the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) will delve into the intricacies of this transformative trade agreement. The event will take place at The Westin Hotel in Cape Town on the 22nd and 23rd August.

GCCA exists to provide a voice, share knowledge and a networking platform for the cold chain in Africa. Our mission to show how effective logistics reduces post-harvest waste and enhances food security. It’s a vital mission because Africa faces substantial challenges, as much as 40% of food is lost between farms and retailers in Sub-Saharan Africa.  At the same time nearly 20% of Africans are living with hunger or food insecurity in some form.  It does not have to be that way. Our keynote address from Johann Kotze, Chief Executive of AgiSA will set this vital context.

GCCA is committed to promoting investment in the cold chain and delivering growth for the wider economy. At our conference we will hear from business leaders on the frontline of meeting this challenge. They include our Chairman, Chris Creed (formerly Vector Logistics). He, along with fellow cold chain leaders Paul Gibbons (CCH Group), Renier Du Preez (Digistics) and Ownsu Akoto (Freezelink), will reflect on the vital contribution the cold chain industry makes to the continent of Africa.

Paul Matthew, Africa Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance.

Paul Matthew, Africa Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance. Supplied by GCCA

We will also hear from trade experts, both leading academics, Professor Lawrence Edwards from University of Cape Town and Dr Martin Cameron from Northwest University, as well as practitioners including Africa Kiiza and Donald Mac Kay, who will give an honest and practical appraisal of how AfCTA has performed so far, and how it can be harnessed to delivering the necessary growth in inter-African agricultural trade.

It is impossible to underestimate how important agriculture is to Africa’s economy.  It is the source of employment for about 50% of the continent’s population and accounts for about 35% of GDP.  The effective implementation of AfCFTA will attract significant investment into Africa’s logistics and infrastructure, including the cold chain. We will hear from industry leaders, including Wandile Siholobo at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa and Vijan Chetty, General Manager at the Perishable Products Export Board of Control.

These speakers, and more, will help our delegates reflect on how our industry can benefit from facilitating trade, reducing food wastage, supporting economic development, and promoting regional integration and food security. With Africa’s population set to almost double by 2050 (compared to 2024 levels), the establishment of robust cold chain facilities across the continent will be integral to the health, prosperity, and well-being of its inhabitants.  Join us to be part of our network, make and cement vital business contacts and be inspired to be part of the exciting future of the African cold chain. Find out more at