Innovate, Collaborate, and Thrive: A New Approach to Supporting Africa’s SMMEs
JamiiTrade, a collaborative initiative of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, AnalyticsX and the Shared Value Africa Initiative, aims to accelerate African cross-border trade, connecting entrepreneurs and expanding supply chains.
As developers, our views and network are always limited to the people within the tech industry, within specific regions on the continent—but AnalyiticsX’s collaboration with SVAI (delivered through Analytics Advertising) will activate that unity and open a much bigger market on the continent.
I had been part of the SVAI network for a couple of years, featuring on various thought leadership platforms like the African Entrepreneurship Forum and the 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit, but our partnership progressed to new levels when the interest to develop JamiiTrade sparked in Kigali during the 2022 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit. This came about when SVAI CEO Tiekie Barnard and I realised that we shared similar sentiments about the continent and the infinite possibilities that lay within its people.
As of the start of 2023, AnalyticsX has joined forces with SVAI to develop a platform that will help accelerate the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement on the continent—particularly the ability of African SMMEs to understand and participate in cross-border trade on the continent. We then started working on the journey to collaborate with the team to develop the platform.
In case you haven’t heard yet: this platform is JamiiTrade!
JamiiTrade will help entrepreneurs understand how to trade across borders. Furthermore—and even more exciting for us—is its ability to connect and activate collaboration between entrepreneurs and expand the supply chain within the continent. With JamiiTrade’s effective implementation, the possibilities are endless.
Some of the biggest challenges on the continent have been logistics and connectivity. We believe that JamiiTrade will help solve those challenges in the sense that it will become the norm to trade across borders, create more jobs, and grow the logistics industry, and through digital access to information via an app, demonstrate the power of technology in enabling transformation and growth by connecting Africa.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs?
Due to their size, capacity, and resources, SMMEs tend to focus on their home countries alone, but they still hope to become extremely successful out of nowhere. One country is too small to compete with other companies on other continents, especially at the scale that matches the ambitions of many entrepreneurs. The African diaspora can activate new purchasing patterns and increase annual sales, and many jobs will be created.
Entrepreneurs have the responsibility to grow the economy through their businesses and create employment, but they are often-times limited by their income and also their geographic location. Expansion into new markets entails not only the creation of new jobs and the scaling of businesses and profits, but also the impact.
As entrepreneurs, we need to be very intentional about adding value to our people in Africa as well as in the diaspora.
Africa currently has the largest community of entrepreneurs in the world, and this will grow significantly by 2050. They can succeed even more with a vehicle that allows them to scale. JamiiTrade becomes that channel to connect, agree, and deliver your goods to trading partners across borders. Opening up the continent will allow us to depend on ourselves and start to value the resources we have, over the years, lost to Western economies.
We are yet to fully understand our worth, and through platforms like JamiiTrade, when we realise the value of our resources, we can play to our respective competitive advantages and our full potential.
Looking at a platform like Alibaba, we might not be where they are now, but we can start like they did in 1996, and do things our own way. It is very much possible to create a platform that will activate powerful trade on the continent.
This partnership between AnalyticsX and SVAI does not only activate JamiiTrade but also inspires entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and that all things are possible—and they have the support to reach their goals. It is possible to create sustainable companies that solve real problems for our continent.
And to entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses and trade across borders, I hope you all find your passion and join JamiiTrade to be part of the continental economy. To be kept up to date, sign up on JamiiTrade, and be among the first to know when we launch this platform!
Talifhani Banks is the founder and chair of AnalyticsX, a group of companies that includes Analytics Advertising. He is also a member of the Africa Council of 8 – SVAI’s ambassadors driving awareness of Shared Value among fellow entrepreneurs and young African leaders.