Dubuy, an e-commerce platform by UAE global logistics provider DP World, has entered Kenya with plans to launch the business-to-business (B2B) site in more countries across the continent in the coming months. This marks Dubuy's third market in East Africa, coming months after setting up in Rwanda and unveiling plans to enter Ethiopia.
The wholesale e-commerce platform, owned by the government of Dubai, launched earlier this year to help businesses buy and sell goods. Purchased goods are fulfilled through the supply chain of DP World and its logistics partners.
The e-commerce site is set to leverage DP World’s ports (currently eight, with three more under development) and logistics network in Africa to enter new markets in the continent. DP World’s hubs in Africa are spread across Rwanda, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Djibouti and Somaliland, meaning that they will likely inform its regional expansion plans. Dubuy plans to cover all of Africa by 2025.
“With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now in effect, the eyes of the world will be on the continent,” Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade World and DP World, said.
“African businesses are increasingly using digital channels and technologies to engage with suppliers and distributors to create agile supply chains, and digital platforms like Dubuy.com will be key to this shift. Our technology allows homegrown businesses to transform into international enterprises by providing access to new markets in Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world,” he said.
The site has 4,000 active merchants and so far has received 500,000 visits from sellers and buyers in Africa, they said. Automotive supplies and kitchen appliances are most in demand. Owing to working closely with governments, traders using Dubuy are said to benefit from heavily discounted shipping tariffs, and in Kenya, the platform has an arrangement with the National Bank of Kenya for trade finance.
Online marketplaces have increasingly become important avenues of growth for small and medium businesses in Africa, yet the continent accounts for a small share of global e-commerce due to a number of factors, including internet connection and cost of data.
Currently, only about 25% of Africa’s 1.2 billion population are e-commerce users, but this is set to grow steadily as the cost of internet dips and connectivity deepens. About 28% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is connected to mobile internet, but this is expected to grow to about 40% by 2025, according to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report.
Kenya is ranked among the top 100 fastest growing e-commerce economies in the world, according to the 2020 UNCTAD B2C Commerce Index. About 72.9% of the population uses mobile money account, while 26.1% are active e-shoppers and pay bills online, making the country ripe for e-commerce.
Across Africa, Jumia is currently the biggest e-commerce platform, leading hundreds of other B2C sites, including Chinese-owned Kilimall, Nigeria’s Marketplace Africa and South Africa’s bidorbuy.