The leading pan-African banking group, Ecobank, has launched an eCommerce solution aimed at providing a platform for MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) across Africa to access the online market, display their goods and services and receive payments in an efficient manner.
The launch of Ecobank’s eCommerce solution is in line with the pan-African bank’s broad focus on financial technology (Fintech) as a way of engendering financial inclusion and improving operational efficiency. It also follows months of engagement with MSME customers since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, where one of the biggest challenges they raised was inability to access markets and sell their products.
Ecobank’s eCommerce solution is already available in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia and is scheduled to be rolled out across the Group’s footprint. It will enable MSME customers to set up their online stores for free on its platform www.ecobank.com/ecommerce, which is backed by leading eCommerce and online payment providers such as DPO, Flutterwave and iPay. Merchants will be able to choose from any of these service providers and conveniently setup their online store. Additionally, they will provide an inventory of their goods and services in an inventory portal alongside the respective prices. Consumers will be able to select goods from the inventory list and make payments either via internationally accepted bank cards like Visa or MasterCard, EcobankPay QR code, mobile money among others before delivery.
Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO said: “One of the challenges that SMEs across Africa face especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic is limited access to markets. We are determined to do everything that we can to help Africa’s businesses get back on track in the midst of the Covid-19 setbacks. Embracing eCommerce solutions such as the one we are launching today offers numerous online opportunities for our MSME customers to access a wider pool of customers and market their products and services.”
“Ecobank’s eCommerce solution provides both the buyer and the seller with absolute convenience. With continued increase in use of smartphones, tablets and laptops on the continent to access the internet, wider markets are opening up for Africans across the continent and indeed the world, providing convenience and choice while also reducing the cost of purchasing goods and improving returns for SMEs. This will help maximise the realisation of trade and investment opportunities across Africa, as it seeks to reap the advantages of the impending commencement of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement,” he added.
There are over 400 million internet users in Africa, the second largest internet-user population globally, so there is huge potential for MSMEs to display their goods and services and acquire new customers through eCommerce and online payment platforms.
Other Complementary initiatives for SMEs from the Ecobank Group include:
- The Ellevate programme for women owned and women focused businesses providing tools to help them succeed. Some of these are business and leadership training and networking opportunities. These business owners will also benefit from financial solutions such as savings and investments solutions, receivables financing and asset finance among others.
- The AUDA-NEPAD partnership with the Ecobank Group to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which aims to provide structured and timely training, strategic advisory, networking, digital solutions for scaling business, mentorship and funding to over 100,000 businesses across Africa by 2021.