African ECommerce Marketplace Boosting Intra African Trade

Launched in 2014, the UK – Nigerian ecommerce site, Cokodeal.com , continues to grow as a marketplace for the exchange of locally produced African goods. Serving over 400 merchants and 80,000 monthly visitors to the site, cokodeal.com has already expanded into a bold, creative and visionary enterprise since its genesis. CEO of Cokodeal.com, Michael Dola, said at a press conference when the site was first launched that “ [Cokodeal.com] was a dream born not out of a quest for personal prosperity; it is a product of an ardent desire for an Africa that will not be at the mercy of foreign aids, but a continent that will be the convergent point of global trade.”

According to Dola, “Cokodeal.com is Africa’s largest local content ecommerce site, with a presence in Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and Zambia.” Dola recognized the problem of many African markets being consumer based, and he understood the potential of the African continent’s natural and human resources. He endeavoured to find a way to help tap into that potential and help African nations transition “from the third world to first world.”

The African continent is the second largest in the world, and one that is rich with natural resources. According to the African Natural Resources Center (ANRC) , Africa contains 30% of the world’s known reserves of minerals and the largest cobalt, diamonds, platinum, and uranium reserves in the world. Africa also has a booming population that is expected to hit one billion in 2016 .

But even with all of the vast resources across the continent, over half of trade in Africa is in the informal sector, according to the Chatham House UK in 2015. To help break into that sector and draw the trade out of the informal sector, Cokodeal.com’s vision and mission is to “improve wellbeing of Africans’ through trade and to connect Intra – Africa trade to the global market.” To do that, the site offers a platform for farmers, artisans, and manufacturers to be able to sell their products at wholesale. All goods that are being sold must be made in Africa, but the types of products are vast, including food, textiles, leather, minerals, and crafts. The traders on Cokodeal.com help support the business with their monthly subscriptions and paying for adverts on the site. In return, Cokodeal provides an online platform that easily manages the trade of capital.

Cokodeal.com also helps find new buyers in new markets for the merchants selling on the site, and in turn continues to work toward its mission to be an important factor in the growth of intraAfrican trade. There is little overhead tied to Cokodeal as the products do not need to be managed or delivered by the site. Dola says , “Our revenue structure of monthly subscription and advertisements both from our clients and external organisation will leave us with an above average return that will yield 120% yearly increase after the first year.” A leaner business model helps Cokodeal.com be able to focus its return on being able to expand the site and markets for its traders.

Cokodeal.com is a very miniature version of Asia’s Alibaba.com , the global leader in the online, business to business, consumer to consumer, and consumer to business marketplace. To put it in perspective, Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma in 1999, in SanFrancisco, California, as a gateway for Chinese manufacturers to reach Western and Asian buyers. In September of 2014, Alibaba floated an Initial Public Offering (IPO) which raised $25 billion. Its market capitalization at the time was $231 billion. It has since dropped to $212 billion. Cokodeal’s platform is quite similar, and the business model of Alibaba it mimics is a proven model, which bodes well for Dola and his enterprise.

As the site continues to grow, Dola said in an interview with Nairametrics that “with [their] improved search optimized site more businesses have begun to get more calls from as far zones as Europe, Cameroon and other parts of Africa to place large orders for their goods like ginger, cocoa, and shoes.” Currently Cokodeal.com has specialized homepages for six countries: Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. It also allows the use of 14 different currencies to make it easier for international business between buyers and sellers.

When asked where he sees Cokodeal.com in the future, Dola said that in one year, Cokodeal.com should be able to “deploy a robust working system to bridge African trade.” In five years, they hope to “have the ability to give interest free loans to [their] trusted businesses on the platform for long-term investment, with ease of capital accessibility.” And in ten years, Dola said, “We see Cokodeal to coordinate export trade of at least 58 percent of African trade.”

 

In an interview with CNBC Africa , Dola said that “Growth is a gradual thing and progress is a slow process.” While there is still much progress to be made for the African continent to become the powerhouse it can be, entrepreneurial endeavours like Cokodeal.com encourage local production and intraAfrican trade and are proof that positive change is happening for African nations to become global trading partners through Africans and their locally produced goods.

As featured on Unleash Africa. Courtesy Africa Trade Group. www.unleashafricatrade.com and www.africatradegroup.net

Editor: Gayle Cottrill

Online marketplace to promote locally manufactured goods to emerging new markets

Economy experts have pointed manufacturing as central to a sustainable economy in Africa, According to World Bank Economist Hinh Dinh: “It is the responsibility of African governments to bring foreign direct investment (FDI) to manufacturing to create jobs. The history of economic development is such that any country would need to start producing basic household goods. Over time they moved to higher value goods. No country in the world has developed without producing light manufacturing. And no country can skip it.”

The African Government diversifying its economy has been timely in a period like this. Growth in manufacturing has been rapid at a pace of almost 18% p.a accounting for 9% of GDP during 2013 compared 2.5% as thought prior to rebasing. In spite of improvements, the obvious difficulties facing manufacturing in Africa still looms around poor patronage has been a big issue with locally made products in Africa, During 2013, Africa imported US$240bn worth of manufactured goods compared to almost US$66bn worth of manufactured exports. the continent imported US$18.7trn worth of merchandise goods during 2013 compared to just US$6trn at the turn of the century.

What this tells us is the high patronage of imported goods as compared to locally produced ones. Of course people might argue poor quality as the reason for this preference, but that’s a misconception, which should be reduced in order to boost manufacturing in Africa. The need to get patronage for goods produced locally birthed the cokodeal.com an online marketplace for manufacturers and exporters in Africa. To connect locally produced goods to emerging markets and get more customers, thereby promoting Africa’s local content. Trade would play a big part for the transformation for the African manufacturing sect.

According to the CEO of cokodeal.com, Mr Mike Dola expressed success stories of gaining new markets for local manufacturers, hereby increasing demand for businesses on cokodeal.com platform, which serves as the hub for local manufacturers in Africa to display their products thereby meeting more customers within and outside Africa. With free trade zone and government policy in support of trade in African region, there is a need for seamless intra-Africa trade that cokodeal.com aims to bridge. Africa is rich in raw materials and resources necessary for manufacturing, also blessed with tremendous human resources who are ready to work. When these manufacturers produce, they need to make sales, they need patronage, and with platforms like cokodeal.com, local manufacturers have the right tool to connect to new markets.

Cokodeal online marketplace is built such that it promotes Africa’s local content globally. It has a multiplatform where one can promote locally produced goods across several countries within the platform. Manufacturers can easily create and manage their online store and it is very cost effective and easy to promote products across several cokodeal country platforms.

Whatever ever phase Africa is today is as a result of Africa realising it has to look within to maintain improvement and stability in its economy. Manufacturing should be key to this transformation, however, when these manufacturers are empowered, what happens to getting customers for their products, what happens to easy sourcing of these produce by business people and customers? These days people can be in the comfort of their rooms and place order online to be delivered to their doorstep, business practice is evolving, so should the approach of manufacturers in Africa.

By embracing technology, manufacturers can connect to new markets, which make it easier for businesses in different African countries to connect and trade. The business man can place orders, discuss shipment agreement and have products shipped to their country even without leaving his country. The world today is operating automated business process, and we have to be a part of it, to improve our trade activities and ultimately make sourcing local raw materials for manufacturing and export easy.

Looking to the future: Interesting predictions on what Africa should expect in e-commerce in 2016

It seems just like yesterday, when e-commerce stormed Africa, and ever since, it has grown increasingly every year despite the huddles. As we wind up things for the year 2015, predictions for the coming year 2016 are already flying out.

We take a look at George Kalebaila, senior research manager at IDC (International Data Corporation) Sub-Saharan Africa’s chat with ITWeb Africa on the challenge of predicting the future and offered further insight into some of the key trends to look out for next year:

 Improved security

Security remains very key to the growth of ecommerce. People’s willingness to buy online is as a result of the trust level they have with the system. According to report some 63% of south Africa non online shoppers highlights online security as the main reason they don’t shop online. The safer ecommerce is the more people are willing to embrace it.

The (IDC) 2016 predictions, sees security moving to the cloud especially with mobile penetration on the increase in Africa. They highlighted that Africa would see a more integrated approach to security through cloud with mobile playing a huge role.

“In 2016 we will see biometrics, access security and IT security becoming integrated with mobile security. Security is now moving to the cloud especially with mobile because of the externalization of business processes because of mobile devices. Security and threat management will see a more integrated approach as the latest technology will evolve from the cloud and will be replicated across enterprise systems as it were.”

As online spending surges in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya (which are the more major countries driving ecommerce in Africa), now is the time much more than ever to beef up security. Improved security would further encourage a business man to run an online store because he knows his customers trust the system enough to do business.

 Smart cities would spore more participation in ecommerce

A connected city where everything is linked in a network through cloud. Predictions suggest more smart cities in Africa for 2016. The huge gap of development between the African rural and urban areas presents huge opportunities for business. A local farmer in a small rural village can make more sales due to more demands directed to her from a dropshipper who sells on cokodeal.com marketplace, and because almost every one of these rural settlers have a mobile phone or has someone who does, the farmer can communicate with people in the city on constant basis. We are likely to see a surge increase in drop-shipping who would bridge the gap of participation of the local manufacturers/producers with the ever competitive and changing world of business in the smart cities.

“Almost every mature citizen in South Africa for example has got a mobile phone and that creates a big opportunity for municipalities and metros to use that platform to engage their citizens and move into the 3rd platform, to use mobility and cloud services.”

However possible these predictions, one thing is certain- e-commerce is fast catching up in Africa and projecting into the future, it is safe to say 2016 holds huge opportunities in e-commerce ready to be tapped.

What are your thoughts on these predictions?

Welcome to Cokodeal blog!!!

Cokodeal blog is finally live!!!

It has been an intense but fulfilling journey getting cokodeal marketplace up and running. In essence it is a part of our belief and love for Africa. It all took longer than we thought it would take, as it is a platform designed from scratch codes since its inception in June 2013.

The company is a product of an ardent desire for an Africa that will be the convergent point of global trade and not a continent that is at the mercy of foreign aid. We think that there is urgent need to consciously expose African produced goods so as to change the world’s perception of Africa being a predominantly consumer market.

Cokodeal Limited, a UK – African multinational company is determined to help Africa take advantage of its large market through cokodeal.com: like alibaba.com in Asia. Cokodeal.com is Africa’s largest locally produced commodity export e-commerce site, with presence in Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia. The company provides an online marketplace where individuals and businesses can buy, import and export goods and services solely produced in Africa.

Cokodeal.com will help African manufacturers, farmers, textile industry, solid mineral miners/traders, SMEs and service provider to easily connect with prospective business partners outside Africa. It will also go a long way to promote intra Africa trade.

We want to thank friends, family and partners who supported cokodeal through their assistance with ideas, concepts, design, network, social sharing and just overall support. And of course thanks to the first customers in 2014 who had so much patience and understanding with the small bugs and hiccups of a new website, as we were working on it and continue to improve it.

To visitors, a big hearty “welcome”” and we hope you find what you want and need in our marketplace, we aim to offer you excellent services and ensure security protection to keep you happy at all times.

Cokodeal.com will contribute in no small measure to the promotion of the African local content which is imperative to the transition of the continent from the third world to first world.

Looking forward to this journey and new adventures in the future.

Cheers.

Signed

Mike Dola

(Cokodeal.com CEO)