By: Ipinmi Akinkugbe
Think about Balogun Market in Nigeria, Makola Open Air Market in Ghana, and Karatina Open Air Market in Kenya, what do they all have in common? They are all home to thousands of merchants who run kiosks, or traditional brick & mortar businesses daily, carrying out huge cash transactions worth $800 billion in turnover yearly.
You do not need to be an expert to know that running this type of business is time – consuming and prone to errors, especially if transactions are carried out manually. With the abovementioned businesses making up more than 56 million of the businesses on the African continent, it is astonishing that most of them operate offline with little to no exposure to the formalized, digital economy.
The current state of the informal economy
In Africa alone, there are several companies creating technology to empower the informal economy, building products that aid bookkeeping, order fulfilment, and inventory management, solutions that allow for increased efficiency and scalability of merchant businesses.
The challenge now, is getting merchants and small business owners to sign up. Most of them are concerned about lack of access to finance, low demand, and no broadband not the digitisation of their businesses. The thought of technology is accompanied by ideas of subscription fees and met scepticism to the true benefit of digital tools.
How Sabi empowers the informal market
Nonetheless, these concerns are valid and have been addressed with the development of Sabi, a commercial infrastructure for the distribution of goods & services. The platform enables and empowers the most underserved merchants in the world, simplifying the retail supply chain by allowing agents, merchants, aggregators, distributors, and manufacturers expand their capabilities and grow their businesses using Sabi’s technology rails.
These rails provide access to a wide variety of supplies through the online marketplace, logistics, business tools such as inventory management & customer management, data insights and financial services.