In recent years, a number of fintech solutions have entered the African market. Their aim is to be alternatives for largely under-banked populations. 

Cassbana is a fintech solution developed by an Egyptian start-up. It allows small merchants to buy goods from partners and pay in small installments. 

"Cassbana is a technology solution that builds financial identities for the underserved communities in Egypt through managing their business needs and building a behavior-based scoring system, making us the future data-based financial advisory collective," the explains on its website.  

The solution has an Android app that allows users to create their accounts and access Cassbana’s services. Based on the usage data collected, the startup uses AI and machine learning to customize and improve the services offered to each merchant. 

On Playstore, the Android app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. With the solution attracting a growing number of users, Cassbana founder Haitham Nassar wants to roll out new services to better serve users. In 2021, the startup had already raised US$1 million to support its growth. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

His ambition has always been to contribute to financial inclusion in Africa. After his stint at the online betting and gaming company 1960bet, he embarked on an entrepreneurship journey, becoming the co-founder of two fintech companies.  

Kingsley Nwose (photo) is a Nigerian economist and entrepreneur. In August 2020, he co-founded fintech platform Joovlin with Yusuf Olalere and Lucky Mark, two fellow students he met during his time at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Through Joovlin, he provides B2B solutions helping businesses manage their stocks and boost sales. 

We noticed that lots of people have started selling on social media – WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. […] Over 90 percent of them do not stock any goods, they only post images of trending products and source them when orders are placed. They walk from store to store picking up the ordered items, and also manually find logistics personnel to deliver the orders. [...],” he told Disrupt Africa in September 2022.  

According to the media, “Joovlin decided to work on making this disjointed process more efficient, and early uptake has been strong.”  Meanwhile, Kingsley explains that his startup  enables “low-budget underserved retailers to sell with zero capital investment.” “We are also providing a direct-to-retailer tool for enterprises. We help them connect directly with their retailers,” he added. 

Kingsley holds a degree in database and server administration from the Indian talent development corporation NIIT Pune. In 2015, he got a Master’s in Monetary Economics from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.  Two years later, he received an entrepreneurship certificate from Bocconi University, Italy. 

The entrepreneur also co-founded Nigerian fintech Bewla in 2017. Currently, he is a Tony Elumelu Foundation and Yali Africa business mentor. He began his professional career, in 2013, as the area manager of Nigerian gambling company 1960bet. After years as the business developer of Bewla, he joined MEST Africa as a product designer and business developer. He co-founded Joovlin after leaving MEST Africa.

In August 2022, he became one of the winners of the Seedstars Migration Entrepreneurship Prize, which rewards socially-driven businesses that “enhance the economic inclusion of migrants in the Middle East and Africa

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

Thanks to online stores, people can sell their products to more people than they could with conventional methods. Vangovango wants to capitalize on this opportunity to showcase Malagasy ancestral bracelets and jewelry.  

Vangovango is an e-commerce platform developed by Malagasy jewelry store Vangovango Gasy, founded in 2018 by Diana Chamia Anjarasao.  It allows artisans to sell ancestral Malagasy jewelry made of noble materials.

 “Vangovango Gasy was born out of the desire to showcase the Malagasy ancestral bracelet. However, the adventure led us to offer other types of jewelry (necklaces, rings, etc) besides bracelets. My initial goal was to offer a modernized Vangovango. The old style of VangoVango is fine and we do list those types on our online store but, we believed that it was necessary to offer new styles to distinguish ourselves. [...] I am lucky I know how to draw and I am also creative. I generate ideas from my life and my surroundings. Sometimes, I visit museums and attend garage sales in Latin Quarter [in Paris] to hunt for creative ideas. I also visit Maisons-Laffitte and charm sellers at the Diego Suarez market,”   indicates Diana Chamia Anjarasoa. 

The ecommerce platform showcases pictures of gold, silver, or Sapphire jewelry made by Malagasy artisans. To buy from Vangovango, users need to register on the platform. Let’s note that delivery is free for purchases worth more than €50. Also, the store’s delivery deadlines are a bit long. Depending on the geographic area, it can go from three to sixteen days. 

Buyers can pay for their order via numerous means, including Paypal or bank transfer. There is also the option to buy and pay by installments (four installments overall). In 2022, Diana Chamia was selected among the Africa Business Heroes’ top 50 heroes. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Although not yet popular, online shopping is gradually getting into people’s habits in Africa, thanks notably to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector is attracting a growing volume of state investments since it is perceived as an opportunity to reach foreign markets.  

Nigeria wants to improve national e-commerce revenues to US$75 billion by 2025, up from US$13 billion currently. During a stakeholder dialogue on e-commerce and digital trade policy last weekend,  Suleman Audu, Nigerian Ministry of Industry’s Director of Commodities, indicated that the government was already making the required investments to achieve the goal. 

The Federal Government is [...] committed to developing an e-commerce strategy in line with the Federal Government’s Post COVID-19 recovery plan, to encourage investment in the e-commerce value chain,” he said.

He also admitted that “Nigeria is yet to fully harness the inherent opportunities in the e-commerce value chain, largely due to inadequate investment, coupled with inadequate information on the opportunities in the sector and the inability of Government to provide the required enabling environment.”

By increasing e-commerce revenues, the country wants to reduce oil dependence in line with economic diversification calls from the UNECA and the World Bank. According to the UNCTAD 2020 B2C e-commerce index, Nigeria was the eighth best e-commerce market in Africa and the 94th globally. 

Muriel Edjo

Published in Public Management

E-commerce has gained momentum in Africa since the Covid-19 period. Numerous platforms have emerged to help the population buy what they need online and allow sellers to sell more. With Kwely, the focus is now on selling more local products abroad.  

Kwely is a B2B platform developed by an eponymous startup based in Senegal and the USA. The startup behind the platform was founded in 2019, by Birame N. Sock (photo). It aims to become the Alibaba of products made in Africa.  For that purpose, it raised US$1.7 million to carry out its targeted projects. 

According to Birame N. Sock, Kwely is a bridge between African producers, global consumers, and international buyers. “The goal is to be Africa's leading B2B e-commerce platform, redefining how African products are perceived and how African buyers and sellers transact with each other and the rest of the world,” she explains. 

The best way to become one of Kwely’s suppliers is to enter its incubator program Tekki, which is currently in its second cohort. The program teaches producers how to improve packaging to meet international standards and gives tips to develop a scalable and adequate international business or marketing strategy as well as create effective product storytelling to enter the targeted markets. 

Tekki helps producers create an export-ready brand while the Kwely platform offers marketing and distribution services. The products available on the platform include cosmetics, food, and home accessories.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

Recently, the e-commerce boom gave a new impetus to a concept that started in the 1970s: dropshipping. Although the popularity of that concept is growing among Africans, there is almost no local platform facilitating the process. Tendo is changing that. 

Tendo is a digital platform developed by a Ghanaian eponymous startup, connecting local suppliers with dropshippers. Before Tendo, “people who want to sell online [had] to save money, visit hundreds of suppliers to find a trusted one, and risk losing their capital by stocking up inventory. [They also had] to incur costs for logistics and warehousing,” explained co-founder Felix Manford. With the creation of the startup Tendo (in 2020), all that changed, he added.  

The solution addresses additional challenges, allowing any individual who so wishes to become a retailer. "Tendo enables anyone to start their online business without investing any capital," the platform indicates. All the retailers have to do is share the goods listed by suppliers with potential customers. When a buyer places an order with the retailer, the latter simply sends the order and buyer’s details and lets the supplier deliver the order. Once the order is delivered, the retailer will receive the profit he/she generated.  

Tendo also has a mobile app (accessible for Android and iOS devices) that allows users to perform all the tasks they can carry out on the web platform. It also allows suppliers to register on Tendo and leverage the retailer network to quickly sell their goods. 

From 2020 to date, the Ghanaian startup behind the platform has raised over US$220,000. This year, it expanded into the Nigerian market and got selected to participate in Y Combinator’s winter cohort.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The informal sector is an important segment of the African economy. Yet, actors are most of the time left to fend for themselves for various reasons. In Angola, an entrepreneur has decided to digitize the sector with a virtual marketplace. 

Roque Online is a digital platform developed by Angolan eponymous startup founded in 2018 by Geraldine Geraldo. It is a virtual marketplace allowing traders to take their businesses to the next level. Its name is inspired by Roque Santeiro, a famous Angolan market active between 1991 and 2011. 

“Our focus is to help anyone compete effectively in modern society. Whether you’re an informal market vendor, small business owner, or a large distributor, you can download our mobile application and start registering your inventory so we can start monetizing it on our website or through our partners’ e-commerce channels,” the startup explains on its platform. 

The digital platform has a mobile app available on PlayStore and AppStore. To assess its services, users must first create an account and put up goods and services for sale. To boost the user base, the startup invites market women to offer their goods and services online. That way, it helps create additional income for the women, who were not aware of the existence of an online market where they could reach more clients. 

Roque Online has become a reference marketplace to buy almost anything and get them delivered. From food products to services, customers can access anything they want from informal traders. This allows small family businesses to expand their consumer base and adapt to the changing business environment. In 2019, the startup won the first prize at Seedstars Luanda.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions
samedi, 25 juin 2022 04:07

Kenya: Ushanga values local beadworks

Ushanga is an initiative supported by the Office of the Vice President, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, the various county governments, and the Ministry of Public Service, and Gender among others.

Ushanga is a digital platform set up by the Ushanga Initiative and supported by the Kenyan government. It aims to help women in West Pokot, Samburu, Narok, Kajiado, Marsabit, Baringo, and Turkana sell their beaded accessories online.

Speaking during the launch of the platform, the Sports, Heritage and Culture Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed explained that the platform would expose the women’s  “beautiful work” to the world, which will then respect their “intellectual capacity.”  

In Kenya, every pastoralist community has its special way to make beautiful accessories. With the platform, they can present such diverse offerings to potential customers in the local market and also to international buyers. Earrings, bracelets, chest plates, rings, and belts are some of the items that will be available on the platform. 

According to Hellen Nkaissery, chairperson of the Ushanga Initiative, “as pastoralists’ women, the women who are low in the radar, now they are being lifted up through the support of our government, through the program of Ushanga Kenya Initiative, and we are being put in a platform where other parts of the country have also been supported.”

In the framework of the Ushanga Initiative, the Kenyan government has decided to invest US$4 million to impact the lives of 5,000 women. Those women will be endowed with professional skills, leading to the creation of 60 cooperatives.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

E-commerce platforms have gained popularity with the Covid-19 pandemic because they are more convenient and save time. 

Carniger is a website allowing users to quickly buy cars, motorcycles, trucks, and parts in Niger. The website was launched in 2017, by Africargroup, Africa’s first automotive marketplace.  

To buy a product on Carniger, users have to visit the website, check the information of listed cars/motorcycles/trucks, and select what they like. Users either register or login in and contact the seller either through the website’s chat feature or by dialing the number listed. Buyers can also directly make counter-offers for the products listed. 

The website also has a buy now and pay later service that connects potential buyers with specialized institutions for vehicle financing. To access that service, interested buyers must submit a valid Nigerien ID card or passport, justify a permanent source of income, and provide a bank statement dating six months before the financing request.  Then, they fill out a form to quickstart the process.

Let’s note that the platform also facilitates insurance subscriptions. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

When the AfCFTA became effective in January 2021, it boosted the business opportunities available for actors. Yet, some players are still left out because they have poor or no access to market information. Ancestral House Eastern Africa wants to address that issue.

Online trading platform Ancestral House Eastern Africa recently launched its activities to facilitate intra-African trades. With offices in Abuja, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya,  the platform acts like a facilitator offering administrative, technical, logistics, and commercial assistance. 

According to Ancestral chairman Ose Imoukhuede (photo), although most African SMEs can easily export or import goods from other continents it is hard for them to carry out intra-African trades despite the yearly US$1 billion potential of the market. 

Ancestral House Eastern Africa, therefore, wants to make intra-African trades easy for those firms by addressing a certain number of challenges. The said challenges are namely “lack of market information, inexperienced exporters/importers, poor logistics infrastructure, inefficient cross-border payment systems/infrastructure, cultural differences, gaps, and trust deficit, as well as  varied Competitive landscapes.”

For the time being, the online trading platform will connect East and West African traders with services like business matchmaking, market research, logistics, consumer trends, and behaviors. 

Ancestral connects “producers and consumers of goods and services across Africa through technology-driven go-to-market information and expertise,” explains chairman Ose Imoukhuede.

In January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) became effective in a market of 1.2 billion people covering 55 countries with combined GDP estimated to be some US$2.5 trillion. In those countries, SMEs represent 80% of the economic fabric but they are still struggling to penetrate overseas markets. With Ancestral’s trading platform, they can capitalize on regional markets to reach buyers outside the continent.  

Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in Tech
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