Akorede Shakir: Why E-commerce Must Not Miss In ‘Made In Nigeria’ Campaign

As the promotional ovation of ‘Made in Nigeria’ seizes the moment, no other time will be more appropriate to remind ourselves the essentiality of electronic commerce in inclusive economic growth.

In the contemporary Nigeria, the renewed calls for the patronage of locally manufactured products have rightly defined it as the best way to save Nigeria from the clutches of downright recession. Indeed, steps by the government and private institutions signal –with greater optimism– that something better is about to unravel.

The role of e-commerce

It is imperative to note, foremost, that e-commerce is more “business issue rather than simply technology.” However, that the platform plays the dual function –combining between tech and business– gives it the utmost relevance in the commercial world such that it facilitates easiest connectivity between business and potential consumers via the Internet.

Nigeria is not only the largest African economy; it is also, as expected, the leader in ecommerce. In 2015, it was ranked third in online retail market, worldwide, with an estimated sum of $610 million spent via online shopping. For 2016, meanwhile, a report by Paypal noted an $819 million target. Same year, Kinnevik and Konga aggregated 45,000 active daily customers, running up to more than 1 million customers per month. In the future years, Nigeria’s e-commerce industry will reach a valuation of $10bn with some 300,000 online orders expected each day, according to Oxford Business Group. If these figures were to mean anything, ecommerce is clearly taking over the Nigerian commercial industry. In fact, the time is beckoning for it to become the greatest driver of the entire economy.

In spite of the foregoing, unfortunately, there is enormous fret about how this commercial gains fail to translate into maximum economic success of Nigeria such as the China, India, and American examples, among others. In a short reflection, it is incumbent on us to grieve that the top selling products often patronized by Nigerian shoppers are foreign goods, giving the situation to favour others at Nigeria’s expense.

Meanwhile, there is a decline in the ecommerce industry as a result of present recession –which has necessitated drops in online shopping (check here). As it is, entirely, the meeting point between ecommerce and ‘Made in Nigeria’ is widely open for leveraging. The time is NOW, if the government is any bit serious about driving the economy with the force of local production.

Bridging the gap between producers and consumers is the primary, but not the only, purpose of ecommerce. It is a way to go in revitalizing local contents. It boosts production and drive more sales. Likewise, it helps to create jobs in the value chain, production, agents, and logistics. While on the part of consumers, ecommerce has higher influence on purchase decision. It gives customers the freedom of decision in view of varieties of choice. It interests customers who, at certain circumstances, have no time for window-shopping.

From this, ‘Made in Nigeria’ will not only wield traction on the Internet, it will equally draw wider patronage. Moreover, the innovative and enterprising Nigerians who are already optimistic that the new trend will birth a turnover have the platform to market their products directly to customers with no intermediaries in a reduced transaction costs for both producers and consumers.

Through such for-all merits, ‘Made in Nigeria’ will no longer be confined to the local level. It is going, I believe, to the global market.


Note: there are huge concerns about the novelty of ‘Made in Nigeria’. Arguing nonetheless that things have tremendously improved, and must be encouraged for further advancement, factors like expansive marketing, smoothness, timeliness, quality of service, and customers’ satisfaction are important ecommerce features that must be incorporated into the new quest to drive the local industry.

In other to maximise potentials, e-commerce firms and investors must embrace ‘Made in Nigeria’ through strong partnership with local companies that produce all sorts of imported goods that can be found in the Nigeria: ‘toothpicks’, food and groceries, clothing and footwear, textiles, furniture, household appliances, general merchandise, iron and steel, and what have you.

Akorede Shakir is a Masters candidate at the Department of International Relations, Cyprus International University. Email: akorive001@gmail.com Twitter: @akorive001