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What does 2017 hold for eCommerce in Africa? Insights and tips from industry leaders

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Now in its 3rd year running, eCommerce MoneyAfrica 2017, powered by Kinetic, is taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town on the 22-23 February 2017. Event speakers: Manuel Koser, Founding Partner, Silvertree Capital and Chris Folayan, CEO Mall For Africa share insights and tips for fellow eCommerce vendors. A sneak preview of what awaits at Africa’s largest eCommerce conference.

Meeting the demands of the unbanked, consumers in East and West Africa are quickly adopting several FinTech products and services. East Africa’s mobile money transfers are currently at over US$45bn and some analysts predict the Nigerian mobile money market to soon exceed the US$10bn mark in remittances.

Conversely, when it comes to online purchasing, South Africa leads the pack. According to Statista, “eCommerce revenue amounts to US$2,333m in 2016. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 15% resulting in a market volume of US$4,697m in 2021.” 

The country has proven a worthwhile market for many global brands including Worldwide Accommodations Leader, Airbnb. 

"As we close out a very successful 2016, with incredible growth for Airbnb in South Africa we are already looking forward to the next year. And we have a couple of really great things in the pipeline,” says Velma Corcoran, General Director, Airbnb South Africa.

Where do you see the key areas of investment potential in the eCommerce space in Africa in 2017?

Manuel Koser, “Niche E-commerce, vertical classifieds disruptors, B2B lending and factoring, digital services and mobile.” 

Chris Folayan, “The key area of growth is centred around two main themes: global readiness and expansion. These 2 related yet very dissimilar factors are mandatory to perfect one’s business and succeed in 2017. The outcome of how this is handled and executed is what will determine success for most online companies in 2017 and beyond.”

What do you foresee as potential challenges to investing in the local market or in other territories on the continent?

Manuel Koser, “Macro economic headwinds, the brain drain and talent shortage and an in-experienced ecosystem due to the small size of the market.”

Chris Folayan “With global expansion being a main goal of ours we face what most companies face when dealing with global expansion growth. Advertising, culture, language, local market trends and product market acceptance. Gaining comprehensive insight into all these aspects is vital in expanding across territories, regions, and countries.”

How do you see the eCommerce/FinTech space playing out in 2017 and beyond?

Manuel Koser, “It’s tough to raise money as the funding supply chain is broken and the four big investors in African tech have lost some interest. Value correction will keep happening and businesses need to focus on profitability and unit economics over just growth. It is now that the resilient and best companies will be founded.”

"eCommerce MoneyAfrica acts as a business facilitator between eCommerce vendors, retailers, banks, payment specialists and Fintech innovators. The show presents an opportunity for thought leaders and innovators in the eCommerce space to network and share ideas on this ever-evolving industry,” concludes Terry Southam, Joint MD, Kinetic.

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