Amazon arrives in Africa

Amazon arrives in Africa

E-commerce giant Amazon has finally arrived in Africa – South Africa to be precise, with the announcement of the launch of, “providing customers in South Africa with a new online shopping experience”, as the company puts it.

As in most countries, users are invited to download the Amazon Shopping App or visit the website on desktop or mobile browsers in order to access a selection of local and international brands across 20 different product categories, with, potentially, same-day or next-day delivery.

There is also an emphasis on the importance of the launch in offering new opportunities for local businesses. Amazon states that it provides independent sellers with on-boarding tools, payment processing solutions, and promotional elements to help them be discovered by clients, as well as reporting and analytics to enhance sales.

Hence the statement by Robert Koen, managing director of sub-Saharan Africa, Amazon: “We are excited to launch, along with thousands of independent sellers in South Africa." The country’s minister of small business development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, adds: "We are counting on Amazon to provide such opportunities to our small enterprises.”

As proof of this, Amazon’s launch announcement highlights the fact that it has partnered with goGOGOgo, a South African non-profit organisation, offering customers the opportunity to package eligible products in handmade gift bags made from recycled material.

Based in Johannesburg, goGOGOgo is dedicated to building the capacity, skills, and knowledge of grandmothers, locally known as GOGOs, who raise millions of children in South Africa.

What this launch means for competing services, like Jumia and recently launched pan-African business-to-business marketplace, is an interesting question. Amazon has a lot of power in the global market but hasn’t got the local reach of some of its African competitors – yet.


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