A few years ago, I lived in Nigeria for 13 months and one observation that stood out during my stay was the yearning for foreign brands by the average Nigerian and their willingness to purchase these products. I could still recollect the amount of times I was approached to assist with exporting goods from household British retailers such as Mark & Spencer and Argos.
My experience supports the narrative from economists that there is growing middle class in Africa. This along with internet penetration on continent having increased by 6839% over the last 15 years, have played a role in a thriving ecommerce sector. Local online retailers such as Jumia (Africa’s Amazon equivalent) have been trying to satisfy the growing consumer spending in Africa which is expected to hit $1.4 trillion by 2020. However, whilst they have been hugely successful in fulfilling consumer demand this still equates to a relatively small segment, there is still a massive gap that needs to be filled over the coming decade hence the thinking behind Ogongo! A platform that can connect UK sellers with genuine African buyers.
Ogongo story so far
The question now was; how to bolster the relationship between UK sellers and African buyers? Only 2.8% of UK exports were shipped to Africa in 2016. I pinpointed the main reasons down to UK sellers not as forthcoming to dealing with African buyers. This due to a lack of knowledge of the terrain with regards to custom regulations, duty taxes etc which can lead to eventual complications with logistics. There is also a highly publicised worldwide reputation of scamming associated with the continent. These issues add unnecessary hassle leading to many discouraged by the prospect of trading in Africa. To increase the likelihood of UK enterprises venturing into Africa, Ogongo has therefore:
- Established a list of freight forwarders that cover a vast array of services who specialise in delivery strategies to Africa through the “Ogongo Finder”
- Provided tips to keep you safe from fraud online and tailored personal advice in helping to identify genuine buyers on the platform
Along with other resources available on the Ogongo website, I hope that UK businesses of all types can expand their brands into the many emerging markets that exist in Africa.