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News: Rwanda’s Growing Ecommerce Industry

Ecommerce is booming and online customers are increasing in Rwanda. This is making shopping much easier for citizens of this African country.

Rwandans can now purchase groceries and products from local online shopping platforms including companies like GroceWheels, Yubeyi Online, Pikko Store and Get It Rwanda. These companies operate a little differently than brands like Amazon and Alibaba.

In an article by The New Times, Christophe Nkurunziza of Yubeyi said rather than owning warehouses, these companies partner with suppliers who have adequate stock to ensure product availability. They also don’t accept card payments because of high withdraw charges. Instead they rely on mobile money users.

Get It Rwanda uses an SMS-to-order model, which allows customers to order goods via SMS, Facebook and WhatsApp. Get It Rwanda, works in the food service industry mainly with hotels and restaurants, partners with 25 farms and often moves over 15,000 items per week.

Internet penetration rates are a major factor to the expanding ecommerce market. There are approximately five million Rwandans who have access to the internet, a number that has been growing rapidly over the last five years. A McKinsey report expects 50% of the African continent to have access to the internet by 2025. They also estimate that online shopping could account for 10% of retail sales, a $75 billion value.

However, there are some growing pains associated with getting consumers to change their mindset on how they make purchases and working with suppliers to understand the logistics and technology associated with ecommerce.

Infrastructure is a major barrier for Rwanda. Unlike other global markets, the country lacks a supportive infrastructure needed to develop better systems that work for Rwandans. One of the biggest developments needed in this area is creating a trusted system that enables online payment processing.

To read more, please see: Inside Rwanda’s fast growing e-commerce industry.