E-commerce company Appletree Digital Commerce has launched its ‘Taking One Million African Traders Online’ (TOMATO) solution in an effort to address the lack of opportunities available for African youth.
Appletree provides end-to-end global commerce business-building tools to merchants in order to allow them to accept payments and enable commerce capabilities. Its TOMATO solution will enable this to happen on a much wider scale by funding part of the process.
According to The African Development Bank, Africa is home to 1.2 billion people who live among 36 of the world’s 40 youngest countries. Of this figure; 420 million are aged between 15 and 35 years old.
Figures show that the continent’s youth population is projected to double in size to over 850 million by 2050, with between 10 and 12 million young people expected to enter the workforce every year.
However, only three million formal jobs are created annually – showing the need to teach young Africans to think entrepreneurially and take firm and deliberate steps to support small businesses.
While existing business models are unable to sustain the projected growth in Africa’s young population, a vast number of opportunities can be found through the targetted application of the internet.
According to The World Bank, growth follows the internet; and studies reveal that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth is 2.7 to 3.9 per cent higher after the introduction of broadband.
Where it doesn’t create whole new businesses, broadband connectivity can lower costs and increase returns. In developing nations, a 10-percentage point increase in broadband reach translates to a 1.35 per cent increase in GDP.
In response to this; Appletree has created a global network of cherry-picked technology partners to create a digital ecosystem with which they aim to take at least one million African traders online, estimating that it costs, on average, $5,000 for an SME to set up an e-commerce solution that could actually deliver results.
Realistically, this is a price that most African small traders can’t afford. So in an effort to offset the price, the e-commerce company hopes to raise $5billion over the course of the next 10 years to then be able to offer $5,000 in grants for e-commerce solutions to one million African traders.
Nigel Daura, the company’s managing director, said: “We came across some alarming statistics which inspired us to think differently about how we could provide practical solutions to help young Africans to realise their entrepreneurial potential.
As a first step, the company worked with Zimbabwean individuals and businesses to compile ‘Africa’s Best Jobs Crowdfund Prize Draw’ to raise $263million while simultaneously creating new business opportunities for 38 lucky winners.