Stock - Dubuy by DP World
Dubai is spreading's reach into Africa. The B2B portal has just added Kenya to its network. Image Credit: DP World

Dubai: The Dubai-owned ecommerce portal has expanded its reach into a third market in Africa – the all-too-vital Kenya. Hitting its targets in that market will set up for adding other markets on the Continent, including the equally important Egypt and South Africa,, which is owned by the ports and terminals operator DP World, represents a major initiative by Dubai to create high-visibility ventures in Africa. The B2B portal has already gone live in Rwanda and has racked up 550,000 visits since.

Adding Kenya will ratchet it up further. “Yes, Kenya has the bigger population and has all the ingredients to be influence the spread of ecommerce,” said Mahmood Al Bastaki, Chief Operating Officer at DP World. “It has all the makings of a newly industrialising middle-income country.

“Kenya has the IT savviness, web penetration is at 40 per cent and social media at about 20 per cent. Given these numbers, ecommerce should hit $1 billion to $2 billion by 2024.”

Stock Mahmood Al Bastaki
Mahmood Al Bastaki of DP World: "We are focusing on East Africa at the moment for the pilot phase. But we will a full rollout in 17 more markets in the next 5-6 months…” Image Credit: Supplied

More merchandise

Since launched its services four months ago, it has expanded the range of products available from “17,000 to 200,000” and in “16 known categories”. “Most important, we are getting people visiting the site – and having more businesses selling their stuff on the platform, whether they are businesses from China, India or Turkey,” said Al Bastaki.

Africa consumers know and trust the brand that is coming from Dubai. That’s what we are building on – Brand Dubai

- Mahmood Al Bastaki of DP World

Another 17 in the pipeline

Over the next five to six months, the portal will add coverage to another 17 markets, including Egypt. That would be the big breakthrough it will need to have near full Africa-wide coverage. And in the medium-term, the whole of the Continent will form part of the network.

Dubai and DP World are using their growing presence through operating ports, free zones and supply chains into and out of Africa to make the project work. “We will keep adding more products, more payment methods,” the official added. “There will be Uganda, Congo and Tanzania apart from Egypt, and all of which will be breakthrough markets. And finally, we get into South Africa.

“Our growth is steady and we are growing wisely. Try to do it too fast and there is always a chance of jeopardy, of making mistakes. Africa consumers know and trust the brand that is coming from Dubai. That’s what we are building on – Brand Dubai.”

Cracking Egypt
A lot hinges on how quickly can ease into Egypt, which already has an extensive ecommerce market.

According to Al Bastaki, “Egypt can play another role for the portal – by getting its businesses to sell into wider Africa through the portal. Initiatives such as COMESA will help with the goods flow within African markets, and that’s why Egypt can play a significant role.”