Making B2B e-commerce work for Africa

13 May 2020
ITC News
Introducing a series of case studies on business-to-business e-commerce opportunities in Africa

Expectations are running high in Africa that e-commerce can accelerate economic growth, offer opportunities to firms small and large, and promote greater integration between markets.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce in Africa was estimated to reach $27 billion in 2020 (Statista / Boston Consulting Group) and generate about 3 million jobs. Today, Africa represents less than 0.5% of global e-commerce (based on UNCTAD estimates).

In global terms, business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is up to five times the size of online consumer retail. There is good reason to believe that suitable B2B platforms could be particularly adapted to Africa.

ITC ecomConnect has worked with Ecommerce Forum Africa to study B2B e-commerce and how it may support the development ambitions of the continent and those of small enterprises. In a set of case studies, available on ITC’s e-commerce online community ecomConnect, we describe the experience of a selection of firms from across Africa.

  • Dropstore, based on the drop-shipping model, is a South African online marketplace, which makes it easy for clients to find products from suppliers.
  • Twiga Foods in Kenya uses an online platform to link food producers with retailers.
  • Wuzzuf, an Egyptian recruitment portal.
  • Jumia’s JForce, a program run by Jumia Kenya that allows individuals to earn commission by assisting customers to place orders on Jumia online shop.
  • Sokowatch, a stock provider for informal traders in four East African markets.
  • Yaoota, a search engine for Egyptian online buyers.
  • Superlatte, a small health drink producer from South Africa.
  • Bruhm, a manufacturer and marketer of electrical goods from Kenya.
  • Miele Mailer, biodegradable packaging for e-commerce businesses.

You can already read an introductory article to the case studies where we analyze the status of B2B e-commerce in Africa and look at opportunities for innovation in this sector.