[Interview] Moulaye Taboure, Co-founder, Afrikrea e-Commerce
Moulaye Taboure is the CEO/Co-founder of Afrikrea, an Africa focused e-commerce platform operating out of Côte d’Ivoire. Afrikrea is run by Moulaye and two other co-founders, Abdoul Kadry Diallo and Luc B. Perussault Diallo.
Please tell us about your company?
Afrikrea is an African e-commerce platform to discover, buy and sell “Made Of Africa” goods (fashion, arts and crafts) from all over the world. It is basically an e-commerce marketplace that brings together creators, African or not, from all over the world and allows them to open an online store for free to sell their creations and manage global orders.
Our platform was launched in 2016 and as part of the celebrations of our fifth anniversary, we have launched an Africa-rooted SaaS solution named ANKA.
Would you tell us about ANKA?
ANKA is an all-in-one e-commerce solution which allows users to sell from, and ship products to anywhere in the world, and get paid faster through international or local African payment methods. The platform is powered by Afrikrea.
ANKA is a one-stop shop for exporters looking to ship globally at the best rates, as well as social commerce selling for sellers who have multiple channels and want all their orders consolidated on one platform. It is also for dropshippers looking to create jobs, produce and ship from Africa but manage and get paid from all over the world.
And what's been the market response so far?
The response from our community has been really overwhelming so far. Even though ANKA only officially launched last week, some of the services have been available to users of the Afrikrea.com site. For instance, we allowed an 18 year old Ivorian student to grow his seamstress mother’s business online to 1000+ shipments in 20+ countries all over the world. We save our sellers time, energy and money through ANKA, to make it easier for Africans across the globe to be able to sell, receive payments through VISA and ship products through DHL, without restrictions.
What are the growth plans for your platforms?
The beauty of e-commerce is that it allows you to be omnipresent. This means that for now we only have permanent offices in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, with no immediate need for offices anywhere else. Due to the nature of our business, customers have the quickest access to us through our online channels and communities, anywhere in the world.
Our newest project is the launch of ANKA and we are currently nurturing its growth over the next few months. For this launch, we have partnered with MPesa, Orange and MTN, so customers looking to pay merchants can do so via mobile money, mobile banking, PayPal and a host of international payment cards. Merchants will also be able to transfer the funds from their wallets in any method of their choice, including their dedicated physical VISA card. From there, they can instantly pay or withdraw funds from ATMs as and when they prefer. We will also continue our partnership with DHL for deliveries across the globe, at the best prices.
We will continue to grow global African commerce until it becomes as big as Japanese food or Latin dance! From there, we hope to build real exporting industries and get more and more Africans to start selling globally with ease.
Is it safe to assume that the Covid-19 pandemic did not affect your operations?
Absolutely not. The pandemic was good for business, mostly due to the fact that more people were at home due to the lockdowns and were looking to buy more via online channels. The downside was that logistics across Africa became even more difficult due to border closures and tougher restrictions. But thankfully, our partner DHL was able to continue their operations and so supported our growth as sales kicked back after the lockdowns. All in all, our sales almost tripled in 2020, as sellers rushed to grow online sales!
The good thing was that Africa was not hit as hard as the rest of the world so business was able to continue as usual in Q3 2020, and sales increased drastically compared to Q1 and Q2 2020.
For a year now businesses around the world have been forced to operate remotely and collaborate virtually. Is this a positive trend that should continue?
Our business has always operated a hybrid model of working so it was quite easy for us to adapt to working from home completely during the lockdowns. We always were remote, the rest of the world just happened to meet us on Zoom or elsewhere!
Remote working is definitely a positive trend as it provides more opportunities for working across different markets, and more flexibility in working styles. This however does not take away from the office work environment - you can’t beat sitting together in a room at the same time and brainstorming ideas for major moments.
How can an African seller most easily leverage your platform to market their products?
It is very easy for sellers to list their products on anka.africa - all they have to do is visit the website and get started. They can benefit from our services to ship all their packages at much cheaper rates, get paid for free on all channels and better track their orders anywhere they come from. This is made possible as soon as they subscribe, for just 10€ per month. Additionally, they can benefit from Afrikrea’s community of over 500,000 visits monthly, to buy from their shop.