Trade in Africa is worth billions of dollars. But due to the challenges of doing cross-border business, the continent is yet to take maximum advantage of this to trade among themselves. Some of these challenges include lack of reliable electricity, access to capital or credit, taxation, and corruption among others.
Sadly, even the trade among different regional bodies established to promote regional integration is low. Some of these bodies include Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Ironically, business among African nations and China (Sino-Africa) keeps booming. According to the China-Africa Industrial Forum (CAIF): “China’s trade with African states has grown about ten times in the last decade, with the total value likely to hit $300 billion dollars.”
It seems China is doing what African nations are meant to be doing among themselves.
WaystoCap, which was launched in 2015, is about to change this phenomenon as it wants to expand the frontier of doing business in Africa.
It is looking at rethinking the whole model and disrupt the traditional importers who have access to finance, and also enhance trading operations in Africa so that buyers can find the most competitive products and obtain financing, while suppliers can access new markets and trade in a secure environment. In addition, it intends to manage shipments and ensure payments security across the continent.
The CEO of WaystoCap Niama El Bassunie, said: “Our main plan is to get into English-speaking West African countries and look into East Africa after we raise funding. The market is really huge — estimated at around $750 billion. So far, the company has sold $3.5 million in merchandise, with sales “much stronger” over the past few months.”
Speaking on the challenges the business is facing, El Bassunie said: “The biggest hurdle is a lack of knowledge.” Adding that: “Cross-border trading is estimated to be a source of income for over 40 percent of the continent’s population yet it has barely evolved”, she concluded.
WaystoCap started with food business in 10 countries and over the past few years, its categories increased 10 segments, from household appliances and textile and clothing to machine and industrial tools. The startup is based in Casablanca, Morrocco in North Africa.