at the end of April, as the Corona restrictions are covered life in Uganda, were Shamim Sserunjogi and her brother Moses, of necessity, to digital entrepreneurs. “He had a motorcycle, I had a Plan. So we started,” says the 32-Year-old to the DW. Sserunjogi filleted and sold before Tilapia and Nile perch from the nearby lake Victoria, but because of the output limitations of the clients stayed away. So she put on Profiles in Facebook, WhatsApp and other online services through which you sold your goods now. Her brother on the motorcycle through the urban traffic of Kampala on the day of about eight deliveries, says Sserunjogi – you get so many requests that they had to put off some customers the next day.

The picture in many African countries is the same: During the pandemic, limit the radius of movement of people, the online trading of travel. This is true for small entrepreneurs such as Shamim Sserunjogi in the same way as for medium-sized and large: The Ivorian Online fashion label Afrikrea writes on DW request, the orders have doubled since February and 53 percent higher sales taken care of; each of the third order contained a hand-sewn protective masks.

And also the Nigerian online retailer Jumia, which has struggled since its US IPO a year ago, with strong price losses recorded his best result since a long time. In the second half of March, as in many places in Africa Corona on the topic has been quadrupled, the orders for durable goods. The Trend will continue approximately the same, says Jumia speaker Abdesslam Benzitouni. In the first quarter of 2020, 6.4 million orders were received at Jumia.

Boom by Corona

For the development Alastair Tempest makes from the industry Association Ecommerce Forum Africa two reasons: “first, many could not make it because of the lock downs as usual your errands in the shops. And secondly, it was a lot of talk about whether or not the Virus is not transmitted via objects such as cash – because the cash-free payment in the electronic Commerce, a simple counter-measure.” Countries such as Rwanda and Kenya had even campaigned actively for it.

Corona have already accelerated current developments in solid, believes Professor of Economics, Honest Prosper Ngowi, the Tanzanian Mzumbe University: “in My view Africa, particularly the urban centers located in the middle of the digital Revolution. COVID-19 has the further accelerated,” says Ngowi in an interview with DW.

transactions between dealers and end-users, the so-called “Business-to-Customer”(B2C) sector, were mainly urban middle – and upper-class reserve estimates Ngowi. However, there is also great movement in the B2B sector, that is, between entrepreneurs, says industry representative Alastair Tempest – for example, digital service providers, the small farmers directly with the market sellers and so expensive means people deal with it.

Not an easy market

which helps the online trading also: The network coverage with mobile Internet getting better and better. “The digital divide between city and country is filled up, in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, especially in the wind,” says Economist Honest Prosper Ngowi. But outside of the metropolises, logisticians are the Online literally stones in the way: The roads, the ordered Goods delivered would have to be are often extended barely. “We need good roads, and retailers such as Jumia need a certain number of customers, so it pays to take a drive in the country,” says Ngowi. to deliver

“To a remote place in a reasonable period of time, is one of the biggest challenges,” says Jumia group spokesman Abdesslam Benzitouni. His company use in rural regions do not own suppliers, but cooperating with partners, for example, postal companies or petrol station chains. “We work with third parties that know the area well. And we have collection points throughout the country.”

A special challenge for providers is to gain the trust of your customers. The Nigerian Analyst Adamu Babibkoi says: “If you are to pay with your debit or credit card, some people are quite reserved. Many know that’s not good.” It happens again and again that customers aufsäßen scammers and lose your money, says Babibkoi of the DW.

flash in the pan or sustainable growth?

it is unclear whether the online trading can benefit in Africa from the Coronavirus in a sustainable way. “I think when the pandemic is over, it will flatten the growth curve,” says Alastair Tempest from the industry Association Ecommerce Forum Africa. “But that does not necessarily mean a decrease, but only slower growth.” In Lockdown, many people are forced to Online have tried-orders, and their initial fear is overcome. “Trust issues disappear just because people don’t realize that the online trading is full of scammers, thieves and crooks. It works, and brings you the things you want – and you cannot send back if they fit or you’re busted.”

Also Jumia speaker Benzitouni believes: “When you deal with something, you’ll see the benefits.” For his company it still go first, to stabilize and to be profitable. In the meantime Jumia in 14 countries, was active, now there are only eleven, in which the group wants to find its feet.

In Uganda, has launched Jumia with the United Nations development programme UNDP is a pilot program , especially for small food retailers to connect online. The UNDP has given some of the market vendors in Kampala smartphone, so that you can offer on the platform of your Goods. Basically, you do what has been done the fish-dealer Shamim Sserunjogi in the same city alone.

employees: Frank Yiga

author: David Ehl,

*The post “Corona pushes Africa online trading” published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle