September 8 , 2019
By KALAEB GIRMA( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
A Dutch company technology company developed an application that enables buyers to order, pay and receive a shipment.
Belcash Technology Solutions Plc launched the e-commerce platform, HelloMarket shipments, with an estimated investment of one million dollars.
The application, which was designed with the major aim of allowing local suppliers and manufacturers to promote and sell their products, will provide leather products, crafts, traditional clothing, souvenirs, homemade seasonings and other similar items manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises.
The e-commerce platform, integrated with Hellocash, a mobile and agent banking app for the purpose of making electronic payments, has a delivery system in place through Belcash agents around the country.
The application has two versions to work with both online and offline users. The first version is downloadable by online users, while the second version is developed for offline users embedded in tablets provided by Belcash and distributed through its agents.
Accordingly, customers can make payments and place orders with one of the Belcash agents and wait for the delivery of their items.
The delivery, which depends on the location where the order is placed, can take up to three days, and customers get a notification message when their items are delivered.
“For the implementation of the system, Hellocash is working with various partners with a capacity of providing the required logistics,” said Mahdi Abdelnur, HelloMarket director.
Small and medium enterprises will place their products in a warehouse, owned by Belcash, where the quality and quantity of the products are checked before making it available on the platform.
Belcash successfully piloted the app for three months and officially launched it in July 2019. It has supplied 200 tablets to its agents. Thus far, 50 small and medium enterprises have signed up and placed their products on the HelloMarket platform.
“The small and medium enterprises are required to take an introductory training on the HelloMarket app provided by BelCash,” said Mahdi.
In the next three years, the company plans to have 5,000 small and medium enterprises join the HelloMarket platform. In addition, it also aims to integrate Hellomarket to multiple electronic payment providers, so that customers have multiple options to make payment.
The project is partly funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) through the Livelihood Improvement for Women & Youth (LI-WAY) programme.
The five-year programme, with a 20 million dollar fund, aims to improve sustainable poverty reduction and social stability in Addis Abeba and create 200,000 jobs.
"The major challenge with small and medium enterprises is lack of market access, and through the partnership with Belcash, we aim to solve this problem," said Tewodros Yeshiwork, chief of party at SNV of LI-WAY.
Mulu Agro-Processing plc, a company engaged in selling homemade seasonings, is one of the 50 enterprises that joined the system. Using the app, the company was able to sell 24 of its products so far.
“Putting our products online, besides increasing visibility and accessibility, has also helped us to raise our quality and standard,” said Muluembet Gebeyehu, general manager of the company.
Belcash, established in Ethiopia in 2011, is a Dutch company that has designed the automated solutions for HelloCash.
HelloCash was formed in 2015 by a consortium of Lion, Wegagen and Oromia Cooperative banks and the Somali Microfinance Institution.
HelloCash has a total of 7,000 agents across the country with 1,400 offices operating in the capital. The agents conduct 45,000 to 50,000 transactions daily with a total value of 60 million Br.
Experts in the field believe that the sole dedication of the app to sell the products of small and medium enterprises makes it unique.
Such ideas are noble and can yield greater results if the app is integrated with international e-commerce platforms, said Nega Adugna, general manager of Translink Solutions and an expert in the field of information technology for more than a decade.
Nega said that Belcash, having an already designed payment system and agents around the country, helped it set up the system despite the many challenges in the sector such as the lack of a legal framework for e-commerce.
PUBLISHED ON Sep 08,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1011]
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