Cokodeal woos partners with AI-enabled export platform for wider reach

Cokodeal as featured on Vanguard News:

Cokodeal, a major player in Africa’s commodity market, has said it is positioning itself as the centre for commodity export for Africans, using Artificial Intelligence to connect and match real-time buyers across the world with African traders on the platform. Noting that there are so many opportunities to explore in the international trade space and Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement, said it is providing options to interested investors to become partners and shareholders in the company.

This, it said in a statement by its Co-Founders, Mike Dola and Michael Olufemi, will lead to raising of funds and leveraging partners to access larger markets, a plan that is “open to private individuals, business partners and company associates.” According to Cokodeal, “This funding will help to develop a more robust technology infrastructure for the platform, align its vision and better deliver product efficiently, register 6,000 agents across Nigeria that will help generate real-time trade information and coordinate deals in their local communities.

“This will develop strong collaborations and partnerships with larger organisations locally and internationally, to run digital marketing campaigns globally to drive huge numbers of buyers for its businesses to do bigger and better deals. “A series-A funding is in the pipeline in an ongoing deal flow with venture capitalists.

This fund will allow the company to better compete in the global space, becoming a household name and trading partners across the world. “Investors and partners would have a great deal of advantage in joining early, as the company becomes very valuable and more attractive to larger investors.”

On the benefits of the partnership, Cokodeal noted that from fashion to agriculture, the continent has seen an emergence of entrepreneurs in recent years creating quality and bringing the best products into the market. “Although resources abound, inter-trade and intra-trade seems to still be quite limited in the continent. “The global market is interested in many of these locally-produced goods, but don’t know how to find and reach manufacturers.

“The local producers on their end really have no knowledge of the extent their products could reach and as such still remain in the same spot within weak economies for a long time, which leads to stunted growth.

“Cokodeal has found this sweet spot, taken advantage of the opportunity and is currently filling the gap. “With technology, we have been connecting commodity traders in Africa to the local and global market effectively, efficiently and quickly since we launched in 2013.”

Opportunities of agro export through dry inland port in northern Nigeria

Nigeria as a sovereign independent nation with a land mass size of about 927,763 square kilometres which the northern part is having the largest portion with over 65 percent of the total area.

In recent times, this land mass has produced more security concern to the nation than its agricultural advantages as it was in the past.

We have seen constant threat of life in some states by the armed bandits and constant fear by interested business investors with interest in the region. Also, concern of weak human development with 13.2 million out of school children in Nigeria with majority in the north. Poverty has become a constant disease with no immediate permanent cure in sight

A rich agricultural region with its own unique comparative advantage, e.g. soya beans cultivated in Kastina state, ginger in Kaduna, Bambara nut widely cultivated in Jigawa state and Sesame seeds predominantly dominated in Nasarawa state. Each state is capable of being the hub of particular agro product trading it internationally.

In a recent courtesy visit to the Kaduna dry inland port by Mr Fisayo Ajibona an international trade manager at cokodeal Limited; a foodstuff and agro commodities export platform. He emphasized more, on the gain of the dry port commissioned by the president Mohammadu Buhari on 10th march 2018, with full operation in 2019.

He emphasized that he witnessed goods loading and freight forwarders operation being carried out, as cargo Containers are being constantly sighted loading on train ready to be move to Apapa port for further shipment of the consignment to their foreign destinations. With presence of custom officers to provide necessary documentation for goods. This has cut down the logistic costs for any potential exporter and interstate traders, advices traders from the region to key into government incentives and infrastructural development for economic growth.

The opportunity that abound in the Kaduna dry inland port will drive the economic growth of the host region, thereby improve massive job creation, if effectively operated, it has potential to help government achieve part of its aim of diversification programme and to encourage northerner to tap into these great initiatives.

Fisayo A. – 08139078455

As featured on Daily Times Newspaper.

This ecommerce helps get US, UK, Europe buyers for foodstuff suppliers in Africa

Cokodeal Limited helps local producers in Nigeria supply stores and warehouses, Nigeria foodstuffs in UK, US, Canada, Brazil, Europe and Russia. a leading exporter of commodities and foodstuffs platform has launched a direct foodstuffs supply to stores in US and foreign countries, majorly Afro stores and warehouses.

Cokodeal Director of Communications Akin Omotere says the company believes the market accessibility is perfectly aligned with company mission to connect intra-Africa trade with global markets, and its vision to improve well-being of Africans through trade.
“Afro centric food supply is an incredibly growing market, due to constant migration of Africans to developed nations which has surging demand for local dishes”.

The vast majority of Nigeria local producers and suppliers of foodstuffs do not have the know-how or even where to begin, stated Akin. “This is not about family or individual item sourcing through families and friend’s network which is the norm; seamless electronic digital marketplace order, supply to diaspora market stores and warehouse is a game changer and will create access for many hard working local suppliers producing international standard quality goods he confirmed.
Cokodeal Director of Communications – Akin Omotere states that

To deliver its diaspora African market, Cokodeal has begun partnership with major retailers and distributors in US and UK for Afro foods channels. These distributors have been supplying for years, with an organised large network. “We could not be more excited about our partnership with”- some of the partners highlighted -”we have been in need of a reliable source for quality goods supply from Africa to service our market”

Cokodeal is having an on-going discussion to partner with Fidelity bank for SMEs, to provide banking and financial support for export market transactions and with flutter-wave Rave payment for international funds retrieval for local suppliers to ease the trade flow.

This is a build up for the huge international market access for local foodstuff producers of well over 100million African diaspora consumers.
Over the past years, Cokodeal has been a frontier for connecting local suppliers in Africa with local and international markets – promoting local content. Bringing in quality global buyer contacts for local sellers of produce in Nigeria and other African countries.

It’s safe to say it has gained good traction so far, looking back from where cokodeal started few years ago. With market access to products like; yam flour, cassava, sesame seeds, ogbono, cocoa bean, dried fish have all been exporter through to foreign buyers.
With a niche as unique as this, it is only a matter of time until cokodeal becomes a house-hold name for export. While ecommerce marketplace in Nigeria has been challenging and a revelation, the solutions it has provided so far haven’t quite struck it exactly where it really hurts for the Nigerian economy, but platforms like cokodeal are definitely on the right track and if they keep it up this way, they can really be a force to reckon with in Africa.

Get your small and medium business trade into export market with help of this company.

Nigerian export start-ups are making efforts at curbing federal government’s dependency on crude oil with much harping on agricultural commodities and minerals, which the country has in abundance. MIKE DOLA, CEO,, which has become one of Nigeria’s local sourcing and export ecommerce marketplace, in this interview with MABEL DIMMA expounds on the Nigeria export market. Dola also tries to unlock the answers to the big question ‘What is Nigeria?’ in terms of its economic focus.


Can you give us an overview of 2017 and innovations you introduced via your platform?


It was a great year as drove export revenues and connected hundreds of SMEs to local and foreign buyers to trade; deepening the market, unlocking values in unexpected places and capturing more of the value. Our highest returns came from the Nigerian foodstuff and commodities export market.


For innovation, yes, users can now directly find and message other businesses for deals on the platform; working with Flutter-wave to integrate Rave, a pan-African payment gateway to help Nigerians receive funds internationally. We also launched the Online Trade Fair, which allows users a few days to display goods in order to get massive exposure for leads and sales


Has Cokodeal moved beyond being on online platform to becoming a full-fledged business enterprise considering some of the services you render?


Yes, Cokodeal is fully an operational business from Abuja, with sales force in Lagos, Kano and Abia states.


In your opinion, what can the government do to encourage individual exporters of produce?


According to a quote I gave in a speech last year, Nigerian government and its allies enjoy crude oil revenue while people create the goods and commodities. If the attention paid to crude oil, can be paid to the enterprises founded by the populace, there will be a surge in wealth of the land and its people.


Also, government needs to believe in its people and expose the opportunity endowed in both its people and land to foreigners through adverts, FDIs and consistent promotions to gain the confidence and trust of foreigners.


A lot of Nigerians need trade education on; how to package goods, begin as an exporter, how to export, where to export, get buyers, ship goods and documentations required. What government can do is to create affordable quality training for individuals and businesses as most quality training available by industry experts are not afforded for most people.


Why is product packaging a key element in export?


It gives a perceived value that helps command good pricing, ensuring top level hygiene, testing and enlisting its nutrients, ingredients, storage instruction and application as may be needed. The entire process helps buyer to trust in the product and understand that the producer has put in more that commands value.


What has reception of the export business been like, and how has it evolved?


The growth of non-oil export driven by Executive Director/ CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, has risen by 50 percent year-on-year in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017 compared to previous year and is attributed to the diversification efforts of the federal government, according to NBS. It was reported that cashew nuts alone earned Nigeria N13.5bn- primarily exported to Kazakhstan, Vietnam and India- with other commodities such as; sesame seeds, frozen shrimps and prawn, soya bean and ginger, contributing significantly to the surplus trade balance. Hence, raw materials, agriculture, solid minerals and manufactured goods are witnessing year-on-year growth.


Nigerian business leader Aliko Dangote, told investors, “Agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world.” There are markets out there in need of our long list of resources that we need to break into and trade. According to a recent report by CNN, Nigeria is the largest exporter of cassava with an average volume of 50m tonnes yearly. But for Nigeria businesses to explore further into exportation, they have to worry about getting international buyers, documentation and logistics.


This is what Cokodeal is solving with its marketplace platform which facilitates trade between verified local exporters and trusted international buyers, generating volume of forex for the nation. The reception is huge; Nigeria does underestimate its export market potential, and it is big enough to sustain our economy. We receive hundreds of calls daily from different exporters and small traders to get their goods beyond the shores of Nigeria. Meanwhile, accessibility and trust has been the most important issues.


How does Cokodeal export contract work?


Buyers from different part of the globe send Cokodeal export contract deals or offers and then Cokodeal goes through its verified member database, and in turn send information to qualified businesses. The supplier signs the agreement and Cokodeal oversee a successful transaction on both ends, with an escrow service to remit funds on fulfilling order promised.


Do you have an average or exact volume of export for Cokodeal in 2017?


Averagely above N1billion.


The drive for made-in-Nigeria products reduced during the last quarter of 2017, what do you think was responsible for that?


Crude oil and its derivatives which serve as the economic strength of our nation have slid us into dependency, causing us to lose sight of our economic competencies. The “made in Nigeria” initiative fired up because our finance base was literally crunched at that time, but as soon as the oil price bounced back, the government relaxed. However, the initiative woke up a few Nigerians and today they are locally producing, but if the government is not fully ready, some of us are ready to lead the paradigm shift and kill crude oil dependency. We will leverage on our core competency and comparative advantage which are agro products, commodities and the strengthening of enterprising Nigerians to mitigate future economic global shock.


Emerging countries are already creating other products that will not hinder crude oil production, but render it useless, thereby causing a total collapse for sole dependent economies on oil. It is clear we have to change the sail or wait for our ship to hit the iceberg.


What is your take on the recently commissioned Kaduna dry inland port and the subsequent ones planned?


Linkage and opportunity; government is trying and making progress, it will unlock trade channels and distribution from the north, because the northern part of Nigeria serves as a huge source of food and commodities.


Many years back China internally developed, the outcome was a runway in global supplies. Dubai and the UAE communities understood many years back the existential value of oil; and developed huge infrastructure investments, cargo airports, open water channels, ports, and other amenities. Take note the Chinese government could not play alone in the structural build of trade in its country, private companies like has created an international market for its local suppliers as this has driven an increase in GDP.


Nigeria government is working and not alone; there are needs for organised private sectors to corroborate to build a robust trade network and technology infrastructure to see the nation rise from not only Africa’s largest economy to Africa’s gateway to trade.


Were there any collaborations and partnerships that Cokodeal was involved in last year and any plans to continue such?


Over the course of the past few years, Cokodeal had fostered partnerships with trade associations in Nigeria, some international chambers of commerce; forging partnerships with Nigerian banks and other trade agencies. Cokodeal is also looking forward to partnerships with Fidelity Bank, NEXIM, BOI, FMITI and NYSC- to create hundreds of jobs in partnership with NYSC for the citizens through a programme it is pioneering; Nigeria Youth Trade Ambassadors (NYTA)- and provide support for businesses under the umbrella body of the above institutions.


What things are in the front burner for Cokodeal this 2018?


We are looking at scale, partnership and marketing. Over the previous years we have been able to test our ideas, understand the people and business need by speaking with over a thousand operating business managers, what their challenges are, and solutions they are ready to pay for. This has helped guide us in building a more marketable product, fit to provide solutions to millions of people faced with same challenges. We are also taking it further to leverage the multi-platform to new partners in different localised regions to scale up the business for more impact.


Forging on-going partnerships, we are presently working with new trade channels to drive huge volume of exports for Nigerian producers and Africa at large, leveraging on networks to reach more markets, and support government with its diversification goals. Partnering with government agencies as highlighted above to provide its members effective trade knowledge to stop cutting corners and help government receive its dues from trade.


Marketing has been a big one for us, as many do encourage Cokodeal to do more marketing. In the past years, what we have done is mainly organic traffic and that brings only customers that are very interested in what we do directly to us through online search. For example, when you search for “foodstuff export in Nigeria, how to get foreign buyers” we happen to be number 1 on Google, these type of keywords have earned us quality customers.


We also engaged in direct relations with different Nigeria trade groups to reach members under their umbrella bodies directly. However, now we will be taking it up further by having more digitally displayed ads and engaging in more traditional advert methods for a wider reach, for Cokodeal to become a brand leader in its market niche of bulk local produce sourcing and export.


Casting our minds back to the initial question asked, what does Nigeria stand for?

The answer is straight forward, Nigeria is a mineral and agriculture commodities trader, so we can say Nigeria is a commodity economy. Let’s make our nation work for its people.

Cokodeal connecting Africa’s enterprises to $15 trillion international trade market.

By 2018, the African e-commerce market is projected to soar to US$ 50 billion from just US$ 8 billion in 2013 according to reports. To some these figures show gradually the growth of ecommerce in Africa. However there are those who feel Africa should be benefitting more. The huge some of ecommerce transactions and enterprises springing up in the past years have been focusing on serving local markets in Africa.


Perhaps it’s time to start thinking markets outside Africa. Put side by side Africa’s ecommerce projection for 2018 with estimation of over US$15 trillion for annual business-to-business transactions and well over US$1.2 trillion for annual business-to-consumer trade in the world according to UNCTAD, and you see the huge opportunities Africa is yet to tap into.


While a large number of developed countries keep benefitting from international trade, Africa is still lagging; According to eMarketeer (July 2014) the total international B2C trade from the entire Africa and Middle East region represented only about 2.2% of the world’s total in 2013.



How can Africa start picking up on international trade?

The invent of internet has made the world a global unit. With just a few clicks from wherever you are, one can access any country’s market. Gone are the days you have to travel thousands of miles to do business transactions. It has evolved the way we do business in the new age we’re in.

E-commerce perhaps is one of the very useful application areas of the internet. An ecommerce platform is specifically built for Business transactions to be carried out largely through the internet, they form a gateway through which buyers and sellers can connect and do business. A few example of such platforms in the world are Amazon, Ebay, and Alibaba.

Alibaba as a typical example, paved way for small manufacturers in China into global market. In 2013, they had 231 million active users, each of whom made an average 49 purchases a year, for more than 11 billion orders annually.

Ecommerce brings the unique opportunity to open access to international markets for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa; for example a small farmer somewhere in Kano, Nigeria is not limited to only buyers in Nigeria alone; he can have buyers anywhere in the world.

It’s been 2013 ecommerce came to Africa, and very few initiatives are towards promoting Africa to the global market. On their own, efforts by Africa’s enterprises to access markets outside their shores have been the usual brick ’n’ mortar way. Over the years its been almost impossible for African enterprises to trade through platforms like Alibaba, amazon and Ebay as they have access restrictions.

As ecommerce continues to record some success in Africa, the application of ecommerce into cross-border trade is still very much untouched.

Of course the difficulties are there, but efforts should start showing- something like what this particular startup is doing in Africa-Connecting Africa trade, promoting locally made products in Africa and connecting Africa businesses to global markets.

A step like this can be very scary considering several factors impeding Africa ecommerce from growing but Cokodeal has dug in; the past four years, they’ve gained experience, growing network and making their business work. Helping local businesses in Africa connect with buyers within Africa, Europe, Asia, and USA through its online marketplace, broker service and digital marketing expertise.

The profits are huge and the early players stand the chance to reap huge, Africa has enough to offer a large market and these are the kind of developments we want to be seeing in ecommerce in Africa.

Platforms like cokodeal might not be there yet, but we get the idea; and with bit of support, just like China, Africa can be the next international trade hub through them.