The Co-founder of Mall for Africa, Tope Folayan, has given further insight into why the company extended its frontiers to East Africa. He explained during a chat with journalists in Lagos that the e-commerce company sees Kenya as the biggest e-commerce opportunity in East Africa, as showed by numbers and data released in March this year.
According to him, 500 Startups recently partnered Ingressive and African Technology Foundation to organise the â€˜Geeks on a Planeâ€™ tour, designed to showcase the numerous investment opportunities within the Nigerian and African economic stratosphere.
â€œThey needed a market leader with considerable onions in the African tech ecosphere and the mettle of a veteran player, with the results to show. MallforAfrica.com – the premier e-commerce platform that facilitates satisfaction for its customers with its app – was chosen for the task.â€™â€™
He stated that this was largely based on the companyâ€™s impressive performance, pointing out that when the e-commerce platform started about six years ago, the major aim was to help family and friends who shopped from the U.S. to move their items back home.
â€˜â€™Fast forward to 2017 and Mall for Africa not only commands international encomiums from business aficionados and economic gladiators, it is now expanding the frontiers of its business horizon to the Eastern part of Africa as part of broader plans to move into 20 African countries in the next two years.
â€˜â€™With Mall for Africa, the African customer pays locally for any orders or items he wants to purchase through the Mall For Africa on line store. The store gives direct access to over 180 leading UK and US retailers. Best of all he gets to pick up the orders in his local vicinity,â€™â€™ he stated.
So far, more than half of the worldâ€™s global population growth predicted between now and 2050 will be on the continent with a rise from 1.1billion people to 2.4 billion. Kenya currently has 48 million people and saw a 33% increase in purchase-based queries in 2015. In addition to this, the nationâ€™s smartphone penetration is also a very impressive one coming third with 15% after South Africa (34%) and Nigeria (30%). A Partech 2016 report also noted that of the top three destinations for start-up funding in Africa, Kenya features alongside Nigeria and South Africa.
This means that Kenyaâ€™s dynamic demographic longs for platforms to reach the worldâ€™s best retailers so as to buy the best products for the best available price.
Country Manager of Mall for Africa in Kenya, Naomi Konditi-Kivuvani stated that â€œitâ€™s actually mind-boggling how our rates are growing in all parts of this countryâ€, an apparent reference to Kenyansâ€™ admiration of the company.
She also said that with the growing demand for genuine international products, with a preference to accepted payment platforms, the launch of MallforAfrica.com will make it easier for Kenyans to purchase goods from a store of their choice and have it delivered to their doorstep within 15 days.
The Mall for Africa was said to have more than 8.5 billion items for sale at more than 200 US and UK stores such as Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, Topshop UK, Barneys, Bloomingdaleâ€™s and J. Crew. It also has sister websites â€“ Grocery Direct and Fashion Direct â€“ to cater to the unique tastes of Africans.