Executive Briefings

E-commerce Enables African Consumers to Buy Products Often Unavailable Otherwise

Chris and Tope Folayan, two brothers who grew up in Nigeria and attended college in the United States, founded MallforAfrica in 2013. Tope earned an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. After graduating, he returned to Lagos, while Chris remained in the United States. Their company makes it easier for Nigerians to place online orders for American and British products that are difficult to find in Nigerian stores and that online retailers don't offer directly to most African consumers because of troublesome customs duties and paperwork, shipping costs and the fear of fraud.

E-commerce Enables African Consumers to Buy Products Often Unavailable Otherwise

MallforAfrica is part of a growing tech industry in Nigeria that is attracting foreign investors, including venture capital firms like Silicon Valley's EchoVC Partners and the British private equity and venture capital firm Helios Investment Partners, which invested in MallforAfrica in 2013.

“Tech entrepreneurship in Lagos is emerging and blowing up rapidly,” says Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, academic director for the owner-manager program at Lagos Business School. E-commerce is “one of the most promising sectors,” she says. Nigeria’s two largest e-commerce players are the venture-backed firms Jumia and Konga.com.

As Nigeria’s middle and upper classes have grown, so has the appetite for foreign goods. But few stores sell them, and when they do, the selections are often paltry, Chris Folayan says. “When you go into a store, you might only find three colors of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts in three sizes.”

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MallforAfrica is part of a growing tech industry in Nigeria that is attracting foreign investors, including venture capital firms like Silicon Valley's EchoVC Partners and the British private equity and venture capital firm Helios Investment Partners, which invested in MallforAfrica in 2013.

“Tech entrepreneurship in Lagos is emerging and blowing up rapidly,” says Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, academic director for the owner-manager program at Lagos Business School. E-commerce is “one of the most promising sectors,” she says. Nigeria’s two largest e-commerce players are the venture-backed firms Jumia and Konga.com.

As Nigeria’s middle and upper classes have grown, so has the appetite for foreign goods. But few stores sell them, and when they do, the selections are often paltry, Chris Folayan says. “When you go into a store, you might only find three colors of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts in three sizes.”

Read Full Article

E-commerce Enables African Consumers to Buy Products Often Unavailable Otherwise