Mike Dola, founder of cokodeal.com, an e-commerce platform for made-in-Nigeria products that connects local manufacturers, producers and suppliers to global markets, has called for a conscious drive to strengthen the SMEs in Nigeria as a way to boost its economic growth, stating that SMEs are at the core of the development of any country.
Dola said he believes Ecommerce provides a huge opportunity for Nigerian SMEs to explore and expand into bigger and larger territories.
“We have created an ecommerce marketplace platform where Entrepreneurs in Nigeria can be indigenous and produce their own, because we have what is in demand in other places in the world,” he said.
According to him, reports have it that Africa makes up less than two percent of the global E-commerce space, and as a country with 89 percent Internet penetration, Nigeria has the capacity to make a 19 per cent increase.
“Throughout 2016, Nigeria exported goods worth N8.53 trillion as against goods worth N8.82 trillion the country imported, resulting to a 6.47 percent trade deficit.
“Also, crude oil export value of N6.99 trillion dominated exports from Nigeria throughout 2016 as against N1.53 trillion recorded for non-crude oil export and N344.37 billion for non-oil exports according to reports from NBS,” he said.
Nigeria is a huge export partner with countries like Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, India, China, especially with non-oil products. For example, in 2015, Nigeria sesame seeds export to the Netherlands was reported to be about 6000 tonnes and worth € 8.7million.
Dola believes that if most of the trade transactions follow the brick and mortar format- by leveraging e-commerce- these figures could have been more, processes could have been automated, thereby fast-tracking sourcing and business transactions.
“These days one can complete such transactions in the matter of days from the researching for prospective buyers and transacting with these buyers; through the help of internet and ecommerce. We see that happen often on Cokodeal,” he said.
According to him, “We are engaging with authorities and other stakeholders to leverage Cokodeal’s platform and commodities trade experience to help SMEs prepare for maximising the opportunities that E-commerce represent for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”
According to Raymond Agholor, director of communication, Cokodeal.com, who was also present, said the company identifies with local producers, farmers, suppliers of Africa products, thereby promoting intra-Africa trade and connecting African businesses to global markets; though there’s still a lot to be done.
“SMEs in Nigeria have endured and thrived even in unfavorable conditions over the years; their resilience to stay on and keep surviving especially during the crumble of oil price and foreign exchange begging to be rescued has received praise from the international business world,” he said.