By Dipo Olowookere
World’s leading international express services provider, DHL, today announced its partnership with e-commerce giant, MallforAfrica’s new platform, Marketplace Africa, to help online retailers bring African-made products to the US and global market.
The site offers items from the continent’s most talented designers and artisans from a variety of categories including fashion, body care, handbags, jewelry and home décor.
Until today, African craftspeople have been isolated from global customers due to distance, fear of not receiving overseas payments, and complex shipping requirements.
Customers who wished to purchase products directly from African artisans faced obstacles regarding accessibility of items, authenticity and validation of the product, uncertainty of delivery, high delivery costs, and payment security.
Marketplace Africa was created to help artisans sell on a global stage and simplify the ability to buy directly from African craftspeople and small enterprises. Powered by MallforAfrica’s award-winning patented e-commerce platform and payment system, MarketplaceAfrica.com’s global consumers can now shop directly from African businesses of all sizes and have the products shipped to their home with confidence.
DHL will manage all logistics services as their e-commerce delivery solutions are designed with small businesses in mind and provide the speed of delivery that customers expect. With the world’s leading logistics company behind it, Marketplace Africa will provide craftspeople and customers order verification, fast delivery, and shipment labeling and packaging services. Suitable delivery costs also keep products affordable.
Hennie Heymans, CEO for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa adds, “We are thrilled to be a part of this innovative e-commerce solution for African artisans. DHL is a facilitator of global trade and if we can improve connectivity and accessibility to global markets for local business, this will go a long way in helping small businesses grow. We’ve been in Africa since 1978, so have seen first-hand, the huge opportunities that cross-border trade offers to local businesses. This is truly an exciting time for African businesses.”
The Africa Made Product Standards (AMPS) is used to ensure that the highest quality products are being sold on the Marketplace Africa platform. It provides consumers with the assurance that products meet an international standard in quality. All products are crafted with the utmost care by an African artisan.
“Africans finally have the opportunity whether banked or unbanked to showcase their amazing talents and skills to the world and sell their products. DHL and MallforAfrica saw the need to promote African-made products to the world and I am beyond proud to be a part of making history alongside a company that has pioneered logistics efficiency in Africa, and across the globe,” said Chris Folayan, CEO of MallforAfrica. “Marketplace Africa will open the door for African designers and craftspeople and enable customers in the US and the world the ability to purchase authentic African-made products directly from the source.”
Worldwide retail e-commerce sales reached over $2 trillion in 2017 and according to DHL’s report, The 21st Century Spice Trade: A Guide to the Cross-Border E-Commerce Opportunity, cross-border market is expected to grow by about 25% annually until 2020 – nearly twice the rate of domestic e-commerce.
Sendbox Raises $1.8m to Digitise Deliveries for African SMEs
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian-based e-commerce merchant platform, Sendbox, has raised a $1.8 million seed round from investors comprising 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs and Golden Palm Investments.
With participation from Flexport and YC Combinator as part of its 2021 winter cohort, Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached $2 million following a pre-seed round from Microtraction and 4DX Ventures in 2018.
The injection of the new fund will allow the platform to further digitise deliveries for African small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) through its delivery management platform, which aggregates logistics providers and enables tracking.
The next stage of the company’s growth will see a move towards financing and payments, followed by e-commerce and marketplace integrations across West Africa and further afield.
The company will also be able to offer a solution for merchants who lack the high volumes required to attract discounted delivery fees.
To date, over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs have sent 200,000 products through Sendbox, saving on average 30-40 per cent per item by eliminating the need to work with separate logistics providers.
According to the company, the new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in other countries across West Africa, bolster the development of its product range, and hire new talent.
Commenting on Sendbox’s fundraise and growth ambitions, Mr Emotu Balogun, CEO and co-founder of Sendbox said, “No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them.
“Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants. On top of that, affordable access to the UK, EU, US, and Canada has created an opportunity to sell products to hundreds of millions of previously unreachable buyers.
“With this fundraise, we aim to support more and more SMEs and help them grow both locally and internationally, scaling alongside them as we connect African merchants with a global community of consumers.”
On his part, Mr Walter Baddoo, co-founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures said, “African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago, and it needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity doesn’t lag behind.
“Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300 per cent year-on-year growth since launch, but we’re seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching $45 billion on the continent by 2025.”
With 200 million Instagram users and one million Instagram businesses in Nigeria alone, Sendbox is well-positioned to serve this growing market and multiply its merchant count over the coming months, adding that it is planning on banking on mobile penetration on the continent.
Launched in 2018, the company provides affordable access to local and international delivery options for small-scale merchants selling on e-commerce and social media platforms.
Accessible to iOS and Android users, via a web application, on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer APIs, Sendbox is providing a single location to manage both local deliveries and international shipments to the European Union, UK, US and Canada.
German Firm Partners Freddy Hirsch Nigeria to Boost Food Innovation
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
In a bid to boost food innovation across West Africa, a German-based nutrition supplier, Symrise AG, has partnered with Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, a manufacturer of ingredients.
According to the statement issued today by Symrise AG, the partnership will focus on the development, launch and commercialization of transformational food products, which includes general seasoning, bouillon meat, snacks, and instant noodles.
Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, a leading West African manufacturer of ingredients and flavours, boasts world-class Research, Development, and Application laboratories and manufacturing facilities.
On the other hand, Symrise AG is a global multi-billion-dollar fragrance, care, flavour, and nutrition supplier present in over 100 countries.
According to the Sub Regional Director, Flavour Africa Middle East, Symrise AG, Mr Sofiane Berrahmoune, the company is set to deliver its products and services at a greater speed to market in Africa, and for this reason, has partnered with Freddy Hirsch Nigeria.
Symrise AG spokesperson further stated that the partnership will give the company deeper access to valuable insights about Africa’s food industry.
This follows as increasing urbanization, rising incomes, a growing regional population, and evolving lifestyle changes are driving the African food flavour and enhancer ingredient market and increasing the consumption of processed foods and beverages.
The global flavour and fragrance market is projected to reach $36 billion in 2022 with Africa expected to play one of the biggest growth opportunities.
Also, according to a forecast for the period of 2020 to 2025, the Africa food flavour and enhancer market is foretold to witness a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 5.12 per cent as the continent proved to be a growing market.
Mr Berrahmoune concluded his statement by saying “together, we are stronger than ever, committed to co-create with Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, combining the best of our strengths and leveraging our strong global footprint with our winning local flexibility, market, and consumer understanding.”
Also speaking on the partnership, the Managing Director of Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, Mr Kojo Brifo, expressed that his company is set to achieve its vision of creating authentic African flavours and tastes.
He noted that Freddy Hirsch has invested in a Research, Development, and Application laboratory and a manufacturing facility with world-class quality management systems, in West Africa.
Mr Brifo added that partnership with Symrise AG will provide an acceleration of flavour development across West Africa and will increase the creativity of customized flavours, help our customers attain speed to market, and enhance their operational agility.
Together, Symrise AG and Freddy Hirsch Nigeria are set to position themselves as the leading contributors to the evolution of the food and beverage industry in West Africa and the Middle East.
Bolt Commences Food Delivery Service in Nigeria
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
In order to offer good working conditions to food couriers and profit to restaurant partners, a leading ride-hailing platform in Africa, Bolt, has launched a food delivery service.
A statement from the company said the Bolt Food Delivery will offer customers competitively affordable, efficient food delivery service and help to provide easier access to daily essentials.
With over 30 million customers worldwide, Bolt has built its ride-hailing platform efficiently to offer the best service in the sector to drivers and riders, positioning the company as a leader in Nigeria’s mobility sector. The company will now extend its expertise to food delivery to advance the sector with innovation and technology.
“We are excited to launch Bolt Food, which will allow Nigerians to order food from their favourite restaurants and receive it quickly and safely at their home or office,” the Bolt Nigeria’s Country Manager, Mr Femi Akin-Laguda, said.
“Our ride-hailing business is built on efficiency and easing mobility for riders while offering drivers a flexible opportunity to earn more income.
“Bolt is eager to bring this approach to food delivery and ensure that our partner restaurants benefit from our loyal customer base. This is also a way for us to augment the earning opportunities for Nigerians by contributing to the gig economy.
“We will ensure that it is worthwhile for couriers on the platform like drivers have benefited from our ride-hailing platform,” Mr Akin-Laguda concluded.
The entrance of Bolt Food to Nigeria will help restaurants have a broader reach to customers, with Bolt acting as a reliable platform for affordable delivery and efficient service. At the initial stage of the launch, customers can only place food orders from more than 100 restaurants in Lagos Island. Bolt is looking to add new restaurants to the app daily while also expanding to other parts of Lagos soon.
To place an order, users can download the Bolt Food application on their smartphone, with an array of different restaurants and available menu options to choose from. The application also provides customers with various price ranges and an estimated delivery time. Initially payments will be paid by cash, and customers can specify the location for contactless delivery drop-offs upon order arrival.
Bolt Food was first launched in Estonia in August 2019. The service is also available in South Africa, Ghana and Kenya.
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