A Nigeria-based e-commerce platform has set shop in Kenya seeking to connect East Africa traders to their counterparts in West Africa.
Ancestral House Eastern Africa online trading platform is set to help small and medium enterprises in Africa obtain services such as business matchmaking, market research, logistics, consumer trends and behaviours while promoting intra-Africa trade.
“The biggest challenge most SMEs in the continent face, is that they cannot easily export goods within the continent, but they can easily export and import goods from other continents despite the intra-Africa trade potential being over $1 billion annually,” said Ose Imoukhuede Chairman, Ancestral House Eastern Africa.
Ancestral has been enabled by the efforts of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), House of Serengeti Limited (Nigeria) and strategic stakeholders representing the East African and West African business communities.
It will also be hoping to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), connecting producers and consumers of goods and services across Africa.
Since the commencement of the trade agreement in January 2021, AfCFTA which covers a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member States of the African Union, however has not been fully implemented across the continent.
The platform will also provide market information to producers, manufacturers, and distributors; train exporters and importers on standardization, quality preferences, consumer trends in various markets and work with partners along African corridors in perfecting an efficient payment and logistics infrastructure.
“There are a number of challenges facing the SMEs sector in the continent ranging from lack of market information, inexperienced exporters/importers, poor logistics infrastructure, inefficient cross-border payment systems/infrastructure, cultural differences, gaps, trust deficit and varied Competitive landscape. We want to be the one-stop solution for all these problems and enable them scale up their businesses,” Ose added.
SMEs account for around 80 percent of the region’s businesses and mostly usually struggle to penetrate more advanced overseas markets.
However, with AFCFTA, the SMEs are expected to be well positioned to tap into regional export destinations and use regional markets as stepping stones for expanding into overseas markets at a later point.
The pact also offers employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, but policymakers and development organizations must take steps to ensure the agreement reaches its full potential.
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