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Sokowatch bets business-to-business e-commerce can beat Jumia’s retail in West Africa

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Wednesday, 30 June 2021 18:01

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East African e-commerce company Sokowatch plans to expand to West Africa to extend its business-to-businesss (B2B) model for informal retailers, CEO Daniel Yu tells The Africa Report.

The company is planning to enter Côte d’Ivoire by the end of the year and Senegal in 2022, says Yu, who is based in Rwanda. Sokowatch already has staff on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire and has created a subsidiary there, Yu says.

It currently serves 24,000 shops operating in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, where it has electric tuk tuks in its delivery fleet.

Yu argues that Africa’s informal retail market is much larger than that which can be addressed by e-commerce retailer Jumia, which has been billed as the ‘Amazon of Africa’. He questions whether Amazon is an appropriate model. For Jumia to close a sale, he says, a long list of conditions must be met.