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Globalizing Shop Africa

Posted by Dziffa Akua Ametam on

Happy New Year!

I’m kinda glad 2016 is over, I’m not really sure what happened in that year but 2017 is definitely long overdue and I’m happy to have entered it with you.

I have not written in a while so this piece is definitely refreshing but nerve-wracking.  

I’ll attempt to write about Shopping!

The holidays just ended and we all shopped the life out of our bank accounts. The blog post is titled Shop Africa, the context is shopping in the dot-com generation. That's as far as I’ve gotten. I do not know what I’ll be writing next. Hopefully, I’ll surprise us both. In a good way of course.  

Pre-DotCom Mode of Shopping

I was born in the early 90s, in those days trading across continents was a very daunting task. Just to paint a picture: if I wanted a lipstick from somewhere outside Ghana, I had to call someone I knew in whatever country I was purchasing from and wait for her to find a shop that sold exactly what I wanted.

Afterward, we would agree to the quantity I needed and then I would have to figure out some way to get the payment to her. Once I’ve completed all these processes, I would have to rely on her to update me on the status of my order and make do with whatever she provides me.

Fun right?

Alright, I promise this is not a cynical piece about shopping. I didn’t even go through this (well, I did, but not in this sense and we’ll get to that later). Remember, I’m a 90s baby so I was in diapers during the good old days where across borders was a total pain.

Shopping in the DotCom Age

As a privileged member of the dot com generation, I can accomplish anything I put my mind to through technology. Being a serial shopper, this means I get to buy whatever in Gods earth I want from my little corner in Accra. All I have to do is find the product online, place an order, pay from my card, and have my goodies within weeks. Of all the innovations of our generation, shopping with ease across the continent has been the most revolutionary and I’m not just saying that as a shopper but as someone fascinated by ways we can use technology to grow economies.  

Unfortunately, the pleasures of shopping across continent rewinds back to the 90s whenever one attempts to shop from Africa. With the exception of NGOs in rural Africa leveraging poverty porn to sell, it is very hard to find high-quality African goods and buy for the sake of buying a good product.

African products invisibility in the global stage is not unique, the continent's role in the dot-com generation has been a user. As users, we benefit from all the technological innovations but we neither contribute to their creation nor profit from them. To drive the point home, it is very easy to sell to Africa but hella difficult to buy from her. This means she misses a great opportunity to sell to the millions of people seeking her products and they miss out on having all her badass authentic goodies.

Shop Africa  

As part of my New Year's resolution, I am learning to make my point without writing long passages so I’ll attempt to wrap up now. Manufacturing has got to be one of the most intriguing sectors on the continent. No other sector tops manufacturing’s vibrant, diverse, and innovative nature. It’s the one sector you will find men with 40 years of experience training college graduates on crafts. It’s the one place you will find a 30-year-old engineer working with shea butter women on not just sending raw shea to the world but producing lotions and soaps locally or college students branding and marketing products they grew up seeing their parents wearing.

The old craftsman, the young engineer, the marketer, and blogger, are all working on one unified goal: globalizing made-in-Africa and there seems to be one easy answer. Put them all online and make them easily accessible then show the world all the possibilities on the continent so they witness the made-in-Africa’s beauty firsthand. This is what we have dedicated ourselves to and we hope that in this new year, as you browse the internet searching things to buy, you will see Africa as the place to get all your handmade authentic goods buy whatever you want from Shopping from anywhere in the dot-com age is a no-brainer, accessing the best of Africa should be equally easy.

Until we meet again.


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