That Nigeria is in a recession is no longer news. However, while the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are recently just making this formal declaration, small and medium scale businesses have known long before the recent announcement of a negative growth index in the country’s GDP for the last quarter.
For SMEs, it is not the numbers on fancy excel sheets that tell them but their increasing high cost of operations, the weak currency and forex restrictions and inordinately high cost of imported goods, which form the bulk of what we consume in Nigeria. Arguably, local manufacturing businesses are the hardest hit as they have to add to their shopping list of worries, erratic power supply (the worst in decades) and a sharp fall in local demand for their goods due to the fall in purchasing power of the general populace.
That said, it is not all doom and gloom especially for local manufacturers who can potentially benefit immensely from all-time-high dollar exchange rates by pushing their products into export markets to earn export dollars. But how would they do this?
E-commerce provides an opportunity for the local manufacturer to reach the world and be found repeatedly by willing buyers within and outside Africa. While e-commerce platforms abound in Nigeria, cokodeal.com is the platform that focuses SOLELY on creating market access and linkages between local manufacturers in Nigeria and the outside world (to the best of my knowledge).
It promotes the business of its clients by creating web presence for them that can easily be found globally through optimized online search technology, saving them a fortune on advertising on alternative media or other traditional advertisement mediums. A key feature of the cokodeal.com e-commerce is its pricing mechanism which is designed to remove currency exchange barriers to trade. Buyers are able to see seller prices in their different locations in the local currency of whichever location they are searching from.
In addition to the global visibility, cokodeal.com offers support facilities for local producers who oftentimes are not as technology savvy or informed and provides information and advisory to local business proprietors on what to do to bring their products to global standards and make it more attractive in global markets.
The value proposition is admirable in that it looks beyond the present and focuses on a future Nigeria that has come to realize its manufacturing potential, diversifying to non-oil exports. This future view notwithstanding, it offers a practical solution in present times while positioning SMEs for market leadership in the emerging context of increase border trade of non-oil export.
As featured on www.businessdayonline.com