The online marketplace eBay has expanded its partnership with MallforAfrica, a service that makes it easier for shoppers in certain African countries to buy goods from retailers in countries such as the U.S. and U.K., from Amazon and Nordstrom to Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.
As reported by TechCrunch, the new arrangement will see goods flow in the other direction: merchants in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Burundi are making their wares available through eBay's U.S. website starting this week.
This follows last year's launch of an "eBay powered by MallforAfrica" site that opened up a sales route into those countries for U.S. merchants, many of whom are wary about mailing items to African countries, due to a perceived risk of fraud. This evolved into the eBayforAfrica.com website in May this year.
Sylvie de Wever, eBay's general manager for Latin America and U.S. exports, told TechCrunch that more African countries would be added to the program, though she did not provide a timescale.
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"This is very much about expanding the reach of African sellers, enabling their platforms, and allowing them to earn and compete globally," she said. Early participants include Nigerian retailer Qeturah and Eclectic Chique, a fashion brand also based in Nigeria. (MallforAfrica's founders are from the West African nation, too.)
MallforAfrica has growth funding from U.K. venture capital firm Helios Investment Partners.