Isiolo County traders to benefit from a newly launched e-commerce platform

A street in Isiolo town . Isiol8 County has launched a new ecommerce platform for its traders. Photo/ Courtesy

More than 400 traders in Isiolo County are set to access new customers, thanks to a groundbreaking e-commerce platform made possible through the EU Funded Project – “Building Drought Resilience in Isiolo County through Sustainable Livelihoods (DRIC).  

Esiolo.com – the e-commerce platform will help expand the trader’s market reach beyond walk-in clientele, hence increasing purchases of locally produced products from Isiolo County. On the Marketplace, the traders will have tailor-made e-commerce shops, where buyers can search and shop from a wide range of products from Isiolo County.

The platform is being rolled out by E4Impact Foundation, one of the consortium partners implementing the project whose goal is contribute towards increased resilience to droughts and other negative impact of climate change for vulnerable groups and improve the nutrition status of children under 5 years in Isiolo County.

 “We are very happy to launch the Isiolo Digital Platform; indeed, this is a great achievement for our entrepreneurs in Isiolo. Not only will they expand their market access locally, but this platform will introduce to the world the very best of Isiolo. To the EU, thank you for your support to the people of Kenya. To our local entrepreneurs, I urge you now to focus on improving your products to be competitive in order to attract and retain new customers” CS Ministry of Devolution, Prof Margaret Kobia.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya, Mrs. Henriette Geiger, noted that digital marketing is the frontier that will bring about the economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

“We acknowledge that digital marketing is one of the major enablers of economic recovery, especially after the effects of Covid -19 Pandemic. The EU recognizes the importance of ensuring ease of trade. Through this programme, traders in Isiolo County can conduct their businesses online and get access to customers to whom they can sell their products in a seamless manner. We are proud to support these businesses as this means great opportunities, especially for youth and women, ultimately improving their livelihoods,” said Mrs.  Geiger.

Lt. Col (Rtd) Hared Hassan Adan, the CEO of the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said that the e-commerce platform will help Isiolo residents tackle the existing trade challenges.

 “We are grateful to the European Union for the support accorded to this county and are excited about the light that this e-commerce platform is going to bring to our county. The traders here face numerous challenges including competition from established entrepreneurs, products going bad, and lack of access to financing, and we are positive that this platform will help in addressing these challenges,” said Adan.  

The governor of Isiolo County, Dr. Mohammed Kuti lauded the new platform, adding that online trading is the new phenomenon that traders must exploit.

 “The Covid-19 pandemic has catalyzed changes in how people purchase and consume goods and services. E-commerce has proven to be essential for its convenience and ability to serve a larger customer base,” said Dr Kuti.

“Therefore, this platform will ensure a streamlined online order placement, secured payments, and efficient delivery process where a network of riders and delivery partners have been identified to deliver orders affordably within 24-48 hours within Isiolo County and countrywide complete with buyer protection policy. The platform presents an opportunity for youth employment through access to markets for the youth groups to showcase and sell their products.”

Emphasizing on the importance of the platform to the county, Dr. Davis Ikiror, The Country Director VSF-Suisse, Lead Agency DRIC Consortium, observed: “This platform will improve accessibility to products from Isiolo County as well as raise its profile. Improved trade through the platform will enhance the living standards of the residents and help the county grow and create sustainability, and for this we are very grateful to the European Union.”

Isiolo County is one of the 29 counties In Kenya which are in the ASAL region.  The county’s main  economic activities include pastoralism, subsistence agriculture, small-scale trade and limited harvesting of gum Arabica resin. The county residents also earn income  from entertaining tourists who visit seasonally to watch the  big five game. 

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