Mr. Tonye Cole, Executive Director, Sahara Group
Frontline entrepreneur, Mr. Tonye Cole has said the eradication of traditional barriers to start-ups through continuing growth of information and communication technology platforms has given impetus to the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria.
He described the development as a “huge step for entrepreneurship” whilst speaking on several issues on a panel that discussed Africa’s investment opportunities in Cape Town South Africa.
Cole who is also Co-founder and Executive Director, Sahara Group said available data point to a robust future for e-commerce in Nigeria. According to online researcher, e-marketer, while e-commerce across the rest of the world is growing at 16.8%, Africa’s e-commerce space is growing at a rate of 25.8% – making it the fastest growing in the world.
“Today, Nigeria is witnessing an impressive growth within the e-commerce space, with pioneers such as Konga and Jumia. This has expanded the market for Visa/MasterCard, whilst providing a real time platform that connects wholesalers and retailers without the hurdle of space and time,” he said.
He explained that entrepreneurs now have an opportunity to latch on to the prospects provided by e-commerce “as we continue to witness the transition from physical to virtual structures and new businesses move to secure a niche through the web for the sales of their goods and services.”
According to Mark Chirnside, CEO payment gateway PayU, a South African online payment service provider, ecommerce is growing at a rate of 30% per annum in South Africa (2013) and a comparative study showing growth patterns from 2013 to 2014 with focus on mobile phone and internet usage, broadband penetration, among others, shows that there has been a 15% increase in users purchase via online channels in Nigeria.
Cole said this development has the capacity to transform the way business is done in Nigeria as online transactions remove several bottlenecks that impinge on traditional ways of shopping.
He noted that the growing influence of e-commerce could also be applied to the power sector to boost growth through platforms that will create standing orders for settling outstanding amounts with respect to utility bills as set by stakeholders at regular intervals, sale of power equipment’s – meters, change over box, self-service e-manual and e-instructions on how to go about maintaining simple operating equipment.