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DHL Express acquires a stake in Link Commerce, a commitment to growing African e-commerce

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Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa (Source: Deutsche Post DHL)

DHL acquires a stake in their strategic partner company, Link Commerce, in support of growing e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa and other global emerging e-commerce markets; Africa’s online retail market predicted to reach an 11-digit dollar value in 2020.

DHL Express today announced its minority stake acquisition in Link Commerce, the UK-based e-commerce firm that helped the logistics company develop its hugely successful DHL Africa eShop platform.

Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, says that the acquisition demonstrates the company’s commitment to growing e-commerce on the continent. “Acquiring a stake in Link Commerce – the company behind the MallforAfrica.com platform – shows our tremendous support of e-commerce in Africa. It also positions us to realize our ambitions of growing the eShop offering globally, and work on the scalability of the platform when the opportunity arises.”

”DHL’s investment in Link Commerce is a perfect fit. With the DHL investment we are now able to grow faster by leveraging the amazing shipping network DHL has built globally. This will help us expand our white-label turnkey B2B eCommerce platform and provide online shoppers with the ability to shop more and get more at great shipping rates fast.” said Chris Folayan Founder and CEO of Link Commerce and Mall for Africa.

Just over one year on from its initial launch, the DHL Africa eShop continues to see massive growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Heymans notes that the DHL Africa eShop has consistently outperformed expectations since its launch. “The platform was developed in partnership with Link Commerce and initially launched in 11 African countries in April 2019. It was an immediate success, gaining around 5,000 subscribers within the first six weeks. Today, DHL Africa eShop is live in 34 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa with tens of thousands of users across the continent.”

Also Read: Interview With Amadou Diallo, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa

The DHL Africa eShop offers African consumers unprecedented access to international retailers via an easy-to-use platform, with great convenience, speed and reliability. “DHL Africa eShop enables African customers to shop directly from over 200 US- and UK-based online retailers, with purchases delivered directly to their door, by DHL Express.”

Heymans adds, “Online buying behaviours and product mixes have evolved quite significantly since the onset of COVID-19. Some of the most popular items on the platform now include productivity and communications devices to support remote working, home and kitchen appliances, entertainment gadgets and health related products, in addition to the historic orders of fashion and beauty products. Consumer interests have shifted towards goods that are harder to source locally. With brick-and-mortar retailers in many regions operating at reduced capacity, consumers have turned to online shopping to acquire the goods they need. It’s been great to see eShop providing vital online shopping access during this time, with impressive growth coming from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda and Kenya during the various stages of lockdowns, and with South Africa back on board to access e-commerce, we are thrilled for our users to be able to use service offering once more.

Just over one year on from its initial launch, the DHL Africa eShop continues to see massive growth in sub-Saharan Africa

Assurance for delivery has become a top priority for consumers,” says Heymans. “ Basket sizes have also increased, as shoppers seek to get all of what they need immediately, rather than to space out their orders. Online shopping supports the ultimate level of social distancing – connecting consumers to everything they need at a click of a button.

Heymans explains that while the e-commerce market in Sub-Saharan Africa has been largely overlooked by international retailers in the past, it currently offers some of the biggest opportunities for rapid growth in the world.

E-commerce is proving to be one of the most important and fastest-growing market sectors in Africa. A report published by Rapid B2C forecasts that Africa’s online retail market will reach an 11-digit dollar value in 2020, while another report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that this value could potentially reach $75 billion by 2025.

“These growth predictions, coupled with the incredible demand and quick uptake of the DHL Africa eShop offering, confirm that this acquisition is the right move to ensure DHL Express is geared for continued growth,” adds Heymans.

As part of the acquisition, Heymans has been made a board member of London-based Link Commerce Ltd. “We have no doubt that deepening our partnership with Link Commerce in this way will take both companies, as well as e-commerce on the continent and new markets across the globe, to new heights. I am honoured to take on this new role as part of DHL’s growth strategy.”

“ At Link Commerce our strategy is to help businesses grow and provide shoppers globally with access to US and UK online retailers like never before. DHL’s investment in the company gives us that edge we need to expand rapidly globally and access to products like never before,” said Chris Folayan, Founder and CEO of Link Commerce Ltd.  

With operations across 51 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, servicing customers, efficient delivery is an important factor for DHL Express. “Our strategic investments in innovative technology and connectivity across the region, are all aimed at promoting global trade and ensuring that businesses and individuals across the continent can leverage global opportunities,” Heymans concludes.

Source: Deutsche Post DHL 

Press Release

Legacy Global Summit 2020: Positioning Africa for profitable partnerships

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The premiere edition of the Legacy Global Summit organised by Legacy Premier Foundation held on the 5th and 6th of November 2020. The virtual event hosted business leaders, investors, educators and distinguished men and women from different sectors and works of life as they shared practical insights on several topics.

The conference, through panel discussions and plenary sessions, focused on nurturing and strengthening long term business relationships between US and Africa, opening up channels of sustainable business opportunities, supporting growing African businesses, fostering mutual business interests, and building a formidable ecosystem of trade and investment, that will enhance ease of doing business between the United States and Africa.

Day 1, Thursday 5th Nov. 2020

The event kicked off with the opening remark by Dr. Remi Duyile, Founder of the Legacy Premier Foundation and the convener of the conference. She stated the importance of intergenerational collaboration and partnership and how the future of Africa must be preserved. She spoke about her faith in the future of Africa and highlighted the possibilities of greater outcomes as regards to trade and investment in Africa.

Dr. Remi Duyile 

Special remarks to the six continent participants was followed by John C. Wobensmith, Secretary of State of Maryland , USA

The opening remark was followed with a brief orientation of the virtual teleconferencing platform by Dr Wendy Brisley Executive Director of M3Linked , and a SUPER networking session by Dr. Richard Kaye from CEO space International.

Brian Castleberry, the Regional Manager – Middle East, Africa & India Office of International Investment and Trade moderated the first panel session titled “Doing Business In The UAE” which had business personalities from Dubai – Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales Ajman Free Trade Zone UAE and Arshi Zaveri, CEO TrustwithTrade Group as panelists.

L-R: Skeiha Abdulla AlNuaimi, Arshi Zaveri and Brian Castleberry 

They highlighted the possibilities of doing business in the UAE and also mentioned that there are no barriers to foreign investments from diverse sectors. Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi pointed out that the creation of the free trade zone has become one of the biggest drivers for business growth in the UAE. In response to the question of gender inclusion in the business community of the UAE, Arshi Zaveri stated that the leadership of the UAE has ensured that women-owned businesses are supported and women are welcomed even in executive positions.

The second panel session ‘Access to capital’ was moderated by Jeannine Scott, the Founder and Principal of America to Africa Consulting, LLC (A2A). The panelists were: Alan Beard, Roshanda Johnson – Business Development Specialist US International Development Finance Corporation Brian Castleberry, Nicole Woods – Business Development Expert Export-Import Bank of the United States and Femi Akinrebiyo – Global Manager, Upstream manufacturing Agribusiness and services IFC

L-R: jeannine Scott, Alan Beard, Nicole Woods, Femi Akinrebiyo and Rashanda Johnson

The discussion was centered around the issues faced by SMEs as regards getting capital for their business or projects.The essence of capacity building for business owners was also discussed in order for businesses to measure up to the requirements of financing institutions.

One of the panelists, Alan Beard, from Interlinks spoke about how important it is for business owners to have high quality financial statements before seeking capital.

Femi Akinrebiyo, global manager IFC enjoined entrepreneurs to know where to go in order to get capital or funds. He mentioned that every financial Institution has specifics, as regards what kind of idea or project they invest in.

Nicole Woods, a business development expert spoke about the role relationships and partnerships play in giving entrepreneurs access to real opportunities. She advised business owners to have a good plan and strategy  before meeting with any investor or financial institution.

Rashanda Johnson from DFC stated the willingness of the dfc towards entrepreneurs to scale their business or project.

Jeannine Scott concluded by saying that the ability to be flexible and to move quickly is very important for business success.

The third panel, titled ‘Doing Business in Africa’ was moderated by the Chief Commercial Officer of Mixta Africa, Rolake Akinugbe-Filani. The panelists included: Dipo Adesina, Dr. Olawanle Akinboboye, Esther Dassanou, Hon. Idris Mohammad, and Gregory Simpkins.

The discussion centered on the importance of good government policies and how it affects the flow of business transactions. Each speaker shared their thoughts on the question asked – ‘Is Africa still a choice destination for doing business?’ 

Esther Dassanou highlighted the fact that Africa has the largest percentage of women entrepreneurs and business owners and she believes Africa is still a choice destination for doing business with opportunities, waiting to be explored.

Dipo Adesina, a serial entrepreneur envisaged the population strength of Africa (which is 1.2 billion people) as a pointer that Africa is still a choice destination for business. He also mentioned that entrepreneurs must continue to look at which continent is constantly growing in population so as to understand where to invest.

Dr. Akinboboye, a business leader in the tourism industry took a step by step approach to highlight the fact that Africa has a 30.2 million square kilometer area with a population of 1.2 billion people.He made his point clear that with all Africa has, Africa is still a choice destination for doing business.

Gregory Simpkins also shared insights on the goal of AGOA to increase Intra-Africa trade, and connect business people together. He mentioned that one of the benefits was the creation of scale.

In between the panelists were standalone global impact thought leaders and influencers such as Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao , Max Sutherland and Delegate Darryl Barnes who spoke and moved people to action.

The “Public-private-partnership: A Fundamental Key To Developmental Growth” panel session engaged participants and co-speakers on the wide range of discussions, from international public-private partnerships to foreign investments in the African continent. Moderated by Shavon Smith, Principal, the SJS Law Firm, the session was an eye-opener to foreign partnerships and global business opportunities available for African business owners, as well as possible limitations. The panelist drove their points home by highlighting a few key factors influencing the Public-private-partnership ecosystem globally, amongst which are local and international policies, leadership, market accessibility, local talent and public perception.

L-R Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quap, Max Sutherland, Darryl Barnes and Dr. Wendy Brisley

Special remarks were also made by the State Attorney for Prince George’s County, Aisha N. Braveboy, the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Congressman Anthony Brown and Honorable Darryl Barnes, the Representative of the 25th Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Friday, 6th November 2020

The second day of the event kicked off with a presentation on ‘Sustainable Ecosystem for African businesses’ by Guest Speaker Otunba Bimbola Ashiru, former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry and Director of O’DUA Investment Company Limited

Otunba Bimbola Ashiru 

He highlighted the potentials of the African market and laid emphasis on the fact that Africa is recognized as the next business hub waiting to be harnessed. “A bright light shines on the African tech ecosystem” said Otunba Bimbola.

Dr Menna Demmesie

The event continued with a Guest session anchored by as Dr Menna Demessie who spoke on the topic “Leveraging Policy and Policymakers for International Trade Relations”. Dr Menna extensively impressed the need for business owners, particularly the locals to get accustomed to the policies and laws – local, state, federal and international – that would help facilitate ease of doing business.

Hon. Aisha Braveboy

Honorable Aisha Braveboy, earlier in the event, gave a special remark acknowledging the great work done by Dr Remi Duyile, the convener of the program. She expressed in joy in the vision of the Summit, wholeheartedly, and appreciated the Speakers and participants who availed themselves on that day. Honorable Aisha also anchored the graduation ceremony of the HERISE Global Internship program. 

The first panel for the day came up shortly after Dr Menna’s session. Tagged “Going Global: Understanding International Trade and Development,” the session featured Global thought leaders from various works of life namely; Tisa Clark, President, J.D. Clark Professional Services, L.L.C. (JD Clark); Don Williams, President and CEO of Princeton Healthcare International; Dr Kamaladevi Baskaran, Head of Industry Relations & Faculty, Department of Management & Commerce, Amity University, Dubai;  Denise Cortês-Keyser, Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker, Finance and Investments Adviser Founder, DCK GLOBAL. Dr Kavita Kapur, an Assistant Professor at the College of Business, Bowie State University moderated the session.

The panel discussions was deeply engaging, as conversations centered on cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships, exploring global talent exchange, international trade processes and attracting the right investments/investors.

Mrs Toyin Sanni

Mrs Toyin Sanni, CEO, Emerging Africa Capital spoke on the “Women Empowerment through Trade and Investment” She approached the topic keenly from her experience as a Financial Markets Expert and Gender Leader. Mrs Toyin, during her session, highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for women, as they are responsible to many grass root business establishments on the African continent. She went further to propose key solutions that could help promote gender empowerment and parity across the continent. Education, easy access to funding, and promotion of gender equality were some of the key solutions she mentioned, with the promotion of gender equality on the very top of that list. 

Afterwards, Denise Cortês-Keyser gave an expose on The African Union’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) uncovering key details on the scope of the agreement. She touched on historical data, the vision of the trade agreement which is to allow free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent; and the current number of countries who have both signed and approved ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement – which currently stands at 30 countries, as at the time of her session.  Denise stated 2 major issues posing as bulwarks to the AFCFTA. Issues such as unified trade policies and markets, cultural gaps, and manufacturing pose a great challenge to the implementation of the agreement. She further suggested seven namely: trade finance, trade facilitation, and trade policy, trade related infrastructure, trade information, productive capacities, and a factor market integration.

Denise Cortês-Keyser 

Victory Oluwasegun, CIO of Jamborow and COO/Co-founder of SpringPort Technologies moderated the next panel session ‘Generational Bridge-Building for Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs’ with panel members: Josephine Agbeko, Dayo Israel and Lara Abiona. 

They addressed critical issues that stand as barriers between different generations. They highlighted the fact that all generations have something to offer and more would be achieved if each generation can leverage their strengths, and collaborate instead of compete.

In response to a question on the challenges of intergenerational gap, Josephine Agbeko described the younger generation as a set of people who will always ask “why” and sometimes such characteristics might be in contrast with the perception and attitude of the older generation and vice versa. She affirmed the importance of collaboration between generations. Lara Abiona also affirmed that the younger generation are willing to provide answers for their future. Victory Oluwasegun chimed in with the phrase ‘In the long run it’s not what we do that matters but why’.

Top (L-R): Victory Oluwasegun, Victory Oluwasegun, CIO of Jamborow and COO/Co-founder of SpringPort Technologies; Josephine Agbeko, Climate justice and Sustainable Business Development Professional ; Lara Abiona, Director of Partnerships and Advancement, Baobab Consulting; Dayo Israel, Permanent Board Member at Lagos State Universal Basic Education

The ‘Diplomatic Round table session’ followed immediately, anchored by Dr.  Lawrence Mcneil the Dean of Bowie University. The panel members were Lawrence Manzi, Amb. Pradeep K Kapur, and Kayode Alabi.

Amb. Kapur, while speaking on trade and investment stated the impact Africans in Diaspora can have on Africa if they decide to build and invest in Africa. He acknowledged the achievements of Africans in Diaspora in different sectors and suggested that it’s important that Africans in Diaspora begin to create a legacy in Africa as their heritage.

Also Mr. Lawrence Manzi highlighted 3 pillars responsible for the growth of Rwanda – Unity as a people, Accountability and thinking big. 

Mr. Kayode talked about the efforts made by the Kwara State Government in Nigeria as regards trade and investment in different sectors 

Top (L-R): Dr Lawrence Mcneil, Dean of School of business, Bowie State University; Ambassador Pradeep K Kapur, Ambassador of India to Chile and Cambodia; Lawrence Manzi, First Counselor in charge of Political Affairs at the Embassy of Rwanda; His Excellency Kayode Alabi, Deputy Governor, Kwara State, Nigeria

The last panel session was titled ‘Entertainment: Tool for Nation Building’. The session was moderated by Kemi Ajumobi with Rozina Negusei and Audi Maikori as panelists

During the session the successes and achievements of the entertainment industry in Africa and the global impact was highlighted.

Audu Maikori talked about how African content enjoys more streaming and downloads from international audiences.

Rozina Negusei also mentioned that African entertainment is now the best next thing after playing soccer drawing the attention of music lovers worldwide.

Top (L-R): Kemi Ajumobi, Associate Editor, Businessday Media Ltd.; Audu Maikori Founder, Chocolate City Group: Rozina Negusei, President and CEO Entreeg records Record label executive
Awardees

The two-day event ended with an Award session, launch of the ‘Legacy Colossus Coaching for women and also the ‘Legacy Global Network’ – a platform to connect global entrepreneurs and business leaders that will serve as an engine of growth for emerging leaders.

Dr. Remi Duyile, the Convener giving the closing remarks

The summit will ultimately impact business interactions between nations, creating a bridge for investors and entrepreneurs to meet and create innovative value. The 2021 edition is scheduled to hold in the UAE.

www.legacyglobalsummit.org

www.legacypremier.org

Info@legacypremier.org

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Eksab Raises $500,000 Investment for its Daily Fantasy Sports Platform

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Eksab co-founder and CEO, Aly
Mahmoud (Source: Eksab)

Cairo, Egypt: Eksab, the leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform in the Middle East and
Africa, announced an investment of USD $500,000 from 4DX Ventures as well as other
strategic investors within the international sports and entertainment ecosystem.

“Daily Fantasy Sports and monetized competitions are a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US,” said Co-Founder and CEO Aly Mahmoud. “Our goal is to become the premier sports entertainment company in the MEA region by offering exciting Fantasy Sports competitions as well as highly engaging local sports content.”

With over 1 billion football fans across the Middle East and Africa, Eksab’s goal is to make every match more exciting. Users sign up to the platform at www.yallaeksab.com, join both
free and paid competitions, make predictions on live international football games, collect
points based on the accuracy of their predictions and then get rewarded with prizes or cash. “We’re bringing the FanDuel and DraftKings model to the world’s largest football market,” continued Aly Mahmoud.

With the investment from 4DX Ventures, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year. Peter Orth, Partner at 4DX shared – “We see the region as one of the most exciting and underserved markets for a sports entertainment platform. We’ve been really impressed with Aly’s vision for a next generation and technology driven platform that is also highly tailored to local fans and their preferences. We’re excited to be on this journey with Aly and the rest of the Eksab team.”

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an unmatched daily source of entertainment, engagement
and content for the region’s football fans” highlighted Aly Mahmoud.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a football fan in the Middle East and Africa. Over the next year, we plan to work with a select group of partners to make the experience even more immersive. We’re excited to have 4DX with us on this journey.”, added Aly
Mahmoud.

Issued by Eksab

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Wuilt raises $535,000 seed round for it’s Arabic-Supported E-Commerce Platform

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Wuilt Team (Source: Wuilt)

Wuilt, a SaaS Arabic website builder where users can create their own professional websites in 5 minutes, has successfully raised a seed round worth $535,000. The investment round included the participation of a UK-based MENA Technology Fund, DAAL VC, prominent angel investors in the MENA and a follow-on funding from Flat6Labs Cairo. The new capital will be deployed to deepen its capabilities and expand its footprints in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since its launch in 2019, Wuilt has been working to provide new and existing customers and businesses across the MENA region with easy-to-use and affordable options for launching and scaling their digital presence especially in the field of Arabic e-commerce. The company currently serves 30,000+ users in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Co-founded by Ahmed Rostom, Mohamed Hegazy and Mahmoud Metwaly, Wuilt’s website building platform was curated to have all the necessary tools and components of a professional website at one’s fingertips. Enabling even those with little knowledge of website building to easily create and manage their Arabic website.

“We came across many friends and businesses struggle to get a professional website designed to their style and design especially in Arabic. This highly motivated us as a team to bridge this gap by providing a solution and hence Wuilt was created and launched,” said Ahmed Rostom, CEO of Wuilt. Today, Wuilt’s all-in-one Arabic platform offers a range of features to fit businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Wuilt takes the hassle out of web designing and saves you time. In minutes, your business can have a sleek, and professional website.”

With the emergence and continuous spread of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to shift their operations online in order to stay active. Some of them had to either pay huge amounts to web development agencies, or had to collaborate with freelancers who may or may have not been up to the task.

“We are delighted to have leading investors believe in our business model and provide the necessary advice and support to progress our growth potentials. We look forward to working closely with them and successfully achieve our short term and long-term objectives,” said Ahmed.

“We witnessed a spike in the number of users and have seen a continuous increase in the number of users intending to shift their operations online since the onset of Covid-19. Our strategy is to provide the best solutions for all businesses in any sector, particularly, extending our platform to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small businesses,” continued Ahmed.

In addition to launching its e-commerce platform, Wuilt is planning to deploy some of its new funding to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia, which comprises nearly 30% of its customer base.

Wuilt joined Flat6labs’ Cairo accelerator in 2019 where they received huge support and ended the cycle by doubling their customer base. “Flat6labs has been a true partner to Wuilt,” Ahmed added. Wuilt has also been part of the MISK500 Accelerator, an accelerator powered by 500 Startups, in February 2020.

“Flat6Labs has been a true believer in Wuilt since they first pitched their business, and we’ve been lucky to partner with them early-on. The promising traction to date, the huge market opportunity in the MENA region and the amazing team behind Wuilt, were true assurances for us to increase our exposure to Wuilt in their second round. We wish the team all the best and look forward to continuing to support the business till it reaches its true potential”, said Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo.

“We’re really excited to be part of this journey with Ahmed, Mohammed, Mahmoud and the entire team. We believe in the early traction they’ve achieved, but more importantly the functionality and roadmap is what will make Wuilt a success in the coming period,” commented Omar Hassan, Managing Partner at MENA Tech Fund.

“OQAL Saudi Arabia has helped Wuilt a lot by connecting us to qualified and ready-to-invest angel investors,” Ahmed Rostom, CEO of Wuilt Abdulrahman Alqahtani, CEO of DAAL VC, said: “Innovative startups equipped with the right team who are focused on excelling in their journey are part of the qualities we at DAAL look for in our investments. In Wuilt we found it all. Enabling SMEs by providing them with state-of-the-art technology to create their business’ digital frontier is not an easy task. The market that Wuilt is serving is considered to be the future of most of our regional economies. With robust solutions and scalable technology, we believe Wuilt will become a great success story in the near future.”

To cope with today’s fast-paced environment, Wuilt’s automatic platform generates fully functioning professional websites for businesses and individuals almost instantly. Users can choose between different pre-designed section blocks, create a multilingual website with just the click of a button, build a beautiful website that’s free of technical and design errors, select from different style combinations and diverse section designs that are tailored to fit any field, with dozens of customizable color palettes, and multiple font combinations to build a clean polished layout that guarantees a vibrant professional website.

Also Read Closing The Gender Gap: An Interview with Dream Girl Global (DGG) Founder, Precious Oladokun

Issued by Wuilt

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