MallforAfrica and DHL have launched an e-commerce site for African artisans to sell wares to buyers in any of DHL’s delivery countries.
The online delivery giant MarketPlaceAfrica.com will prioritize fashion items including clothing, bags, jewelry, footwear and personal care.
It will also include crafts, such as pictures and carvings.
MallforAfrica is vetting sellers for MarketPlace Africa online and through the Africa Made Product Standards association (AMPS), to verify made-in-Africa status and merchandise quality.
According to the CEO Chris Folayan, the company will be starting off in Nigeria and then to Kenya, Rwanda and the rest of Africa, utilizing DHL’s massive network.
Current listed designer products include handbags from Chinwe Ezenwa and Tash women’s outfits by Tasha Goodwin.
In addition to DHL for shipping, MarketPlace Africa will utilize MallforAfrica’s e-commerce infrastructure.
The startup was founded in 2011 to solve challenges that global consumer goods companies face when entering Africa.
MallforAfrica’s payment and delivery system serves as a digital broker and logistics manager for U.S. retailers that partner with MFA to sell their goods online to African consumers.
The venture has backing from U.K. private equity firm Helios Investment Partners and alliances with companies such as consumer electronics chain Best Buy and department store Macy’s.
MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan said his company does not release financial performance figures, but noted it now ships to 17 countries.
With MarketPlace Africa, Folayan sees an opportunity to open the sales channels both ways.
“Our MallforAfrica platform is really about helping people in Africa buy products from places like the U.S., this is the return ticket for Africa’s products,” he said.