In a move aimed at facilitating the sale of African-made goods to markets across the globe, DHL has teamed with MallforAfrica to roll out an online marketplace that will sell a variety of products — from fashion apparel and accessories to home furnishings and beauty items.
The site, Marketplace Africa, is meant to overcome some of the barriers that have kept products from Africa from being sold in the U.S. and other countries. “Until today, African craftspeople have been isolated from global customers due to distance, fear of not receiving overseas payments, and complex shipping requirements,” DHL said. “Customers who wished to purchase products directly from African artisans faced obstacles regarding accessibility of items, authenticity and validation of the product, uncertainty of delivery, high delivery costs and payment security.”
Terms of the partnership were not disclosed. The rollout of the online marketplace comes as retailers and brands around the world are deploying various technologies and platforms to allow for easier and more efficient cross-border transactions. Additionally, consumers — especially Millennial shoppers — are increasingly seeking out artisanal and handcrafted products directly from the makers.
“Marketplace Africa was created to help artisans sell on a global stage and simplify the ability to buy directly from African craftspeople and small enterprises,” DHL said, adding that the site uses MallforAfrica’s e-commerce platform and payment system. MarketplaceAfrica.com allows global consumers to buy “directly from African businesses of all sizes and have the products shipped to their home with confidence,” the company noted.
In the fashion apparel segment, the site showcases men’s, women’s and children’s wear. The landing page for apparel has a featured merchant section, which profiles stories of the sellers. Brands touted on the site include Edosyss, Afrikoncept, Joosy, Le Look and Tash, among others.
DHL said it is managing all aspects of the logistics, and noted that “e-commerce delivery solutions are designed with small businesses in mind and provide the speed of delivery that customers expect.”
Hennie Heymans, chief executive officer of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, described DHL’s role as a “facilitator of global trade, and if we can improve connectivity and accessibility to global markets for local business, this will go a long way in helping small businesses grow. We’ve been in Africa since 1978, so have seen firsthand the huge opportunities that cross-border trade offers to local businesses.”
Sellers on the site are certified, and DHL said the Africa Made Product Standards is used “to ensure that the highest-quality products are being sold on the Marketplace Africa platform. It provides consumers with the assurance that products meet an international standard in quality.”
Chris Folayan, ceo of MallforAfrica, said his company and DHL “saw the need to promote African-made products to the world” as the site “will open the door for African designers and craftspeople and enable customers in the U.S. and the world the ability to purchase authentic African-made products directly from the source.”