ITC Shares

Urban logistics in Guinea

22 September 2020
Waqas Rafique, Wathira Mbage, International Trade Centre

Home delivery services, improved hygiene measures and online sales make it work for retail start-up

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

The business manager 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 the 32-year-old with satisfied customers in Morocco, France and Senegal. But when Guinea declared the state of emergency on 27 March, he felt overwhelmed. The measures 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 were not able to take off for their destinations and his customers cancelled their orders.

Closing down is not an option for Aoudi Food. Mamoudou is switching to new ways of reaching out to his local customers. His business is back on track thanks to support from the INTEGRA project: with an updated website, the young CEO can now sell his products online. Market advisors are also helping him improve Aoudi Food’s presence on social media to engage and share information with buyers who can pay their bills using a mobile money transfers system.

In addition, Aoudi Food is now ready to provide home delivery services. Staying safe by adopting good hygiene practices, kits with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are ready for use in isothermic bags on delivery motor bikes. Mamoudou 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 European Union Emergency Trust Fund, the International Trade Centre’s INTEGRA project remains true to its commitment to increase the capacity of the private sector to create sustainable economic opportunities for growing businesses and entrepreneurship.