Urban logistics benefit small businesses in Guinea during COVID-19

14 April 2020
ITC News

Home delivery services with improved hygiene measures are working well for a start-up in Guinea.

“I will be forced to close some of the sales points and cut wages in order to keep my workers. Increasing costs for raw materials and the need to maintain my business prices have left me with no choice,” says Barry.

He operates several retail stores and employs four full-time and 20 seasonal workers. Launched three years ago, his start-up Aoudi Food produces and markets organic honey-based products.

Business was booming for 32-year-old Mamoudou Sery Barry with satisfied customers in Morocco, France and Senegal. But when a state of emergency was declared on 27 March in Guinea, he felt overwhelmed. The measure, put in place to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, pointed to turbulence ahead for micro, small and medium businesses in the country.

With commercial flights grounded, his products have not been able to take off for their destinations and orders have been cancelled.

Closing down is not an option for Aoudi Food. Barry is switching to new ways of reaching out to his local customers. Support from INTEGRA-ITC in upgrading his existing website so that he can sell his products on-line has put the business back on track. Market advisors are also helping him improve Aoudi Food’s presence on social media to engage and share information with buyers who will now be able to pay using a mobile money transfers system.

Aoudi Food is now ready to provide home delivery services. Staying safe by adopting and promoting good hygiene practices, kits with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be available in isothermic bags on delivery motor bikes. Barry is happy to have found a responsible way of doing good business in the unusual circumstances.

Urban logistics has emerged as the solution for many small businesses in the current situation. It not only helps stay safe by preventing people from visiting markets, but also keeps the business generating revenue .

Funded by the Emergency Trust Fund, INTEGRA-ITC remains true to its commitment of increasing the capacity of the private sector in order to create sustainable economic opportunities allowing growth of businesses and entrepreneurship.