It’s not news that there millions of African manufacturers and traders, but only a few have been able to come to the fore. Due to this, many Africans have gotten used to purchasing products and services from the west. Not because same are not available in the African market but because the products/services are not given the necessary publicity.
This challenge is what Cokodeal is addressing.
Cokodeal is marketplace where buyers and sellers primarily trade products manufactured in Africa. With a focus on niche markets like agriculture (food), textile (clothing) and hide and skin (leather and bags), the goal is to boost intra-state trade, intra-African trade and ultimately connect trade corridors on the African continent to the rest of the world using technology.
Referred to as the Alibaba of Africa, Cokodeals sells only goods produced in Africa to customers around the world. According to Mike Dola, CEO of Cokodeal, “the company is a product of an ardent desire for an Africa that will be the convergent point of global trade and not a continent that is at the mercy of foreign aid”.
In the words of the COO, Olufemi Aguda, “This is our own little way of promoting made-in-Nigeria goods and intra and inter-Africa trade. It is our way of increasing the ease of doing business, improving the lives through trade, and supporting the diversification and non-oil revenue increment drive of government.”
The platform is designed to allow individuals, businesses and corporate bodies to create and personally manage online stores. They can easily upload images, texts, and videos of their goods and services which can also be edited at will, the same way you edit your Facebook profile.
There is also a compare item feature on goods searched for, and with this system, customers can compare goods across different sellers and go with the one they feel offers the best deal.
Cokodeal, which began in 2012, used Nigeria as an entry point into Africa, and currently has major trading areas in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, and Kenya. The platform is built such that it picks the geolocation of the visitor, be it merchant or buyer, and list the prices of the product in the denominating currency of that particular location.
In a recent interview with Vanguard Nigeria, Mike Dola revealed that many manufacturers on the platform have experienced sales coming from Europe, United States, and many other African countries.
Cokodeal seems like the real deal, as there abound many African manufacturers who’ll love an opportunity to make their products go global. But many of them are still unaware that a platform to help them achieve that has been existing since 2012. There’s a potential for growth, but to make this happen, Cokodeal definitely needs to do a little more marketing.