One foot in Europe, another in Africa. Created in 2013 by Jérémy Stoss and François Sevaistre and operational since early 2014, Afrimarket is the first e-commerce platform on the continent aimed at two sorts of clients: the African diaspora and local clients.
Leaders League. As a new entrant in the money transfer sector to Africa, Afrimarket offer, in contrast to your competitors, a model that is not cash-to-cash but rather cash-to-goods to the diaspora: explain to us what this consists of.
Rania Belkahia. Giants like MoneyGram and Western Union still represent 75% of the market although they charge high commission fees to transfer money to the African continent, fixed at around 12%. With a traditional money transfer system that is not innovative enough, we have positioned ourselves as a substitute in this market.
We first offered an e-commerce platform in West Africa exclusively targeting the diaspora. Instead of sending money, we offer them the ability to directly buy goods for their family and friends in Africa. Why? Studies have shown that senders seek to control the funds that are sent, these are mostly geared at meeting the needs of their relatives. Our hope is to facilitate the daily lives of our users by guaranteeing them that the beneficiary in Africa receives the products chosen by the buyer in Europe, on top of offering a low-cost service with a lower rate of commission compared to those offered by competitors (around 5%).
We have equally offered our service to local clients, to those asking for this type of service. Indeed, the rise of an African middle-class creates a real market opportunity for e-commerce actors. It is now possible for clients in Africa to have delivered to themselves any of the 10 000 products offered on our platform, in less than 5 days.
Leaders League. Orange has recently invested in Afrimarket.
R.B. In early 2015, we concluded our second fundraising drive yielding 2.5 million euros with participation from Orange, notably. There are strong synergies between our two companies in both geographic areas that we cover: Europe and Africa. Before that we carried out our first fundraiser in 2013 with the help of many business angels such as Xavier Niel and Jacques-Antoine Granjon, in order to test the validity of this model.
Leaders League. What criteria do you use when selecting Afrimarket’s partners and what guarantees do you offer consumers?
R.B. Heavy regulatory constraints have been put in place so that eligible partners can find a good solution. We have also implemented strict qualitative criteria so as to integrate only quality partners and guaranteed products in our network. By doing so we guarantee the quality of the products our clients receive.