Applying the Principles of Indigenous Logistics Systems to Supply Chain Management in Africa: Learning from Historical Culture in Nigeria

  •  Adebayo Adeleke    


Trade in Africa has been disproportionately affected over the years by a poorly developed logistics and supply chain management system. Few explorative research has been done on indigenous logistics systems across Africa. This study examines the indigenous logistics systems in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. Qualitative data was gathered from the six zones of the country examining the most popular logistics system, reasons for its popularity, its strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for scaling up. For the first time ever, this paper defined indigenous logistics systems and supply chain management. The “waybill” system or sending goods through registered vehicles at motor parks is the choice of the majority of the citizens. The system is consistent with the cultural norms and habits of the people, prioritizes the use of local knowledge and resources in an integrated manner, offers competitive advantage to practitioners, and is sustainable. This paper concludes that, if standardized and improved upon, the “waybill” system has the potential of being the sole supply chain management system in Nigeria and across Africa.

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