Making Trade Easier for Africa’s Youthful Population
By Adedayo Oluwafemi
The youth are spearheading a lot of change initiatives not only in Nigeria but also across Africa.
The world’s population is estimated to hit 10 billion people by 2055. It’s projected that Africa will account for 57% of the growth at about 1.4 billion people. With Africa’s youthful population growing there is a growing need to ensure that the youth are well resourced.
If harnessed, the creativity and innovation of the huge youthful population can play a key role in Africa’s economic transformation.
Across the continent, the informal sector has provided a major source of employment for many youths. The majority of them are in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space. This resort to informality is due to the need to explore available opportunities and earn a living. SMEs in Africa have proven to be key drivers of growth, innovation development and job creation.
A vibrant SME segment provides a strong foundation for development, increased standards of living and poverty reduction.
Sadly, the challenges with facilitating trade, especially among SMEs are well known. They include fragmentation, market access, operational and administrative inefficiencies and in some cases, bureaucratic delays.
Limited access to financing or capital, inadequate capacity to keep proper inventory, limited storage options, inequitable distribution channels and other infrastructural gaps have also bedevilled SMEs. The question then arises, how do we leapfrog and make trade easier for young Africans?
The digital economy has positively influenced the SME space. For many Africans, technology has radically transformed the core of how we live, move and experience life.
Imagine being able to move goods from one point to the other at the touch of a button whereas in the past, you’d probably be waiting on a messenger at work to help you deliver them or physically walk many miles to the nearest post office or delivery service provider to send them. Today, the digital economy has offered young Africans an opportunity to trade easier locally or internationally through opening up opportunities.
Combining the power of tech and the ease of doing business that platforms like Sendy, a tech company that is building a fulfilment infrastructure for e-commerce and consumer brands, provides, SMEs are set to thrive.
Sendy makes it easier for trade to happen – enabling sellers and retailers to sell more and grow. When trade is enhanced and the impediments around financing, warehousing, managing inventory and logistics management have been removed, productivity goes up, more jobs are created, customers and happy and young business owners can trade efficiently and grow their businesses
If we are seriously looking to drive larger participation for young people in trade and commercial activities, we must encourage uptake in the use of digital assets that technology avails us. Africa’s future looks bright and promising, we now need to fully embrace digitization in the SME space in order to spur growth and development.
Adedayo Oluwafemi is a Lagos-based SME consultant and growth hacker