A French grocery company is extending its online shopping network to Africa through local partnerships, adding to a slew of retailers launching online platforms on the continent, starting with the Ivory Coast.
The partnership will make use of “the expertise of the leaders of e-commerce in France and the skills of the logistics leader in Africa,” the company said, according to Bloomberg, without disclosing financial details.
The French Casino Guichard-Perrachon (CO:EN), known as Groupe Casino, has finalized a joint venture with Bollore (BOL:EN) to launch their first online shopping site based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, this summer.
The capital city is one of the 10 fastest-growing on the continent, with a burgeoning middle class fueling high demand, according to the African Development Bank.
Last year, competitor Carrefour entered into a similar partnership with another African distributor to open shops in eight African countries by next year, also starting in Ivory Coast. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) owns the Africa-based Massmart Holdings Ltd., which has also boosted its online offerings around the continent.
E-commerce is a young but fast-growing industry in Africa.
“Most of the people have phones, but there are only three malls for 20 million inhabitants,” said Jeremy Hodara, the co-founder of Nigeria-based online shopping site Jumia, to Reuters.
“It’s a unique time. People are hungry for consumption. It is the right time to leapfrog over 'offline,’” he said.