E-Commerce · Ecommerce (food)

Is E-Commerce a sustainable business in Africa?

Victor Ruto Farmer and E- commerce enthusiast

May 9th, 2017

Africa has seen an uptake in technology and also an increase in internet service providers. Online marketing and commerce is also rising. Many people surely have mobile phones but access to internet is still a challenge.

I have been thinking of venturing to the space of E - commerce through Website and App.

Do you therefore think that E-Commerce is sustainable?

Akin Oyediran Innovative entrepreneurial business leader

May 10th, 2017

E-Commerce is driving in Africa. Companies like Jumia, Konga, Alibaba and others are doing very good numbers. The adoption of technology into businesses is very common.

Mobi Commerce Magento eCommerce development company

May 10th, 2017

E-Commerce is booming in everywhere in the world and Africa is not separate from that. A few days back, I’ve read an interesting article regarding eCommerce and South Africa. With the reference of that eCommerce is not only playing a vital role within the country, but it plans for cross border selling as well.

Suraj B Founder - Hardinn Corein | Product Designer

May 9th, 2017

Hi Victor. Good to know that you are stepping into this revolutionary yet still unexplored field. Even when we see great innovations from ecommerce giants like Amazon to startups in this sector, there is a great deal of opportunity and room for new improvements here.

Since you mentioned that internet availability is still a challenge. Let me assume that ecommerce industry will be in its infant stage in your region. I would recommend you to do an extensive research that involves a market survey. That way, you will get to know if people are sitting fingers crossed to see the dawn of a cool ecommerce platform. Going by company valuation, if managed in a good way, ecommerce is definitely a great field to venture in to.

So yes, this is a great time to start an ecommerce venture. You have the advantage of being the one of the early innovators of the region in this field.

Let me also give you a word of caution. There was an ecommerce venture in India. It started right when the internet boom in India started. It was going quite well. However, today it is not prevalent as the company did not evolve with time. Flipkart, Amazon (ecommerce giants in India) etc.. made use of time and technology and came up with a smart product with a long term business model.

So an ecommerce venture is all about increasing company evaluation over the years while making profit is definitely the motto. The 'app' and 'website' is definitely the current trend. However, I would strongly recommend you to constantly study the market around the world and make sure you have the latest technology with you, so that in case of the arrival of a new competitor, you will still stay at the top.

So yes, all the very best for your dreams!!!

Disclosure: I am also an aspiring entrepreneur. This scenario is just my personal view of the situation. I am really open to suggestions from the stalwarts of business who will definitely know more.

Cheers!!! :)

Pratik Upadhyay I help startups to convert their idea to a self sustainable product.

May 9th, 2017

Not only in Africa, Ecommerce has potential across the globe. African market has untapped market but infrastructure as a challenge. But if you think proportionally, netherlands has 93% retail happening online and they started before 8-10 years.

From Sustainability point of view, it is best to identify a niche and grow within a niche. In your case i think it will be farming products. When you focus on niche, all the operational efforts remains in alignment and growth can be exponential. And most importantly, any big player coming up next can not dilute your brand as they are going to be focusing on ALL major categories.

I can share example of couple of reference ecommerce business in Farming segment from netherlands with whom we are working. Let me know if you need any specific inputs.

Akaa Terzungwe president/ceo @ cosega business concepts ltd,interested in water management and other businesses

Last updated on May 9th, 2017

Capacity building for MSME's would be a step in the right direction in ensuring Africa produces global scale startups

Mayur Kumshi Focussed, visionary, always willing to help people. Lead people .

May 11th, 2017


Michael Hagan Cofounder & CEO at Innovation Business Consult

May 9th, 2017


Mark Temperley ex-X Commerce finance, ex-management consultant

May 9th, 2017

Yes! Africa has embraced technology in a way the West hasn't. Look at mobile phone banking. As the internet becomes more reliable, more affordable and more widespread eCommerce will spread. It won't be the same as how it is in Europe because the conditions (transport etc) are different. But it is there to stay