In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate executives and entrepreneurs to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects.
This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.
And, with the call for applicants for the 3rd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan Incubation Program started, we are considering how the upcoming incubation cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country. With that came the idea
of the incubation program having thematic tracks dedicated to the identified challenging areas and gaps.
Fourth Forum : Reformulating E-commerce, Logistics and Supply Chains in Sudan
In our forum forum, Moderated by Ahmed Elkarib our Acting Program Manager, 249startups. We hosted the Head of Digital Marketing and Business Development at SudaPost – بريد السودان Montassir Dahab , Business Consultant at Consultus Experts , Hussam Ali, and the regional Director of حالاً- Halan Sudan Mohamed Kamal Eldin in a Webinar discussing reformulating E-commerce, Logistics and Supply Chains .Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points
Logistics and Supply Chains is one of the eight tracks of the Orange Corners Program. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths.
Reformulating E-commerce, Logistics and Supply Chains
E-commerce : is the activity of electronically buying or selling products on online services or over the Internet.
Commerce is any service or product that transfer from one place to another and one person to another. E-commerce is the commerce that makes the deal through electronic tools. Any field that contains buying and selling can be diverted into online commerce .
The e-commerce market in Sudan covers less than 12%, while the amount of investment in it last year was 4 billion dollars, from food and beverage, medicine, and beauty. | Mr.Hussam
Electronic payments are e-commerce because commerce consists of two parts, the business deal and the payment, so there’s no e-commerce without electronic payments. US sanctions on Sudan, as well as the absence of telecommunication infrastructure, affected the growth of electronic payment.
On the other hand, The government is working towards achieving electronic government, and we are in a good position in the matter of electronic government in comparison with other countries in the region, so we have a good basis, we just lack a national strategy that compiles all these goals together.
- The biggest problem people face is instability in prices, there are people who entered the market with very high-quality work but had to quit because of this problem.
- The biggest challenge facing electronic payments in Sudan is a monopoly, EBS was and is still controlling electronic payments, which caused obstruction for companies to work on electronic payment, they put rules and regulations which can be very challenging especially for startups and small businesses. This resulted in us falling behind in this field and affecting all the startup businesses.
- Some people in Sudan don’t know how to use electronic payment tools such as bank cards or mobile wallet apps.
- there are trust issues in banking services in Sudan, and the main reason for it is how to convince the customers to use electronic payments, there’s lack of awareness. The trust in the banking sector be obtained through banks only, they must reach the customers and offer better services than before to regain their trust.
A supply chain is a network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer. The supply chain is part of any business, it’s everything that is related to the product or service movement from the seller until it reaches the buyer.
We can have an Amazon in Sudan which is SudaPost. They have very large storage houses in almost all the places in Sudan. SudaPost can be a logistics solution for many other companies and businesses.
the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies. So logistics is the process of movement of the product itself.
The logistics market includes the taxi companies in Sudan, this market ran about 40 million dollars last year.
There is the business to business logistics, and business to consumers logistics and they both have unexplored markets and opportunities.
Supply chain and logistics challenges
- One of the challenges that face supply chain is logistics, So we need to set some quality standards for the supply chain in Sudan
- Most of the people who work on the supply chain in Sudan didn’t study supply chain, they curry it out through trial and error methods until they reach their desired result.
- There must be some sort of regulatory body in Sudan to set the regulations of the delivery.
The challenges that face any consumer or end-user is whether or not the product is being delivered? How much time does it take? What is the quality of the delivered product? so we need quality standards for all these details.
- After the quality standards, comes the challenge of abundance. We are still short in the matter of the number of mechanisms working in logistics, and there’s always room for expansion.
One of the other main challenges is how to reach other states, in one of the main consumed products which is groceries, 2 billion dollars are the amount of investment in this field alone, and 45% of it is consumed in states other than Khartoum. The lack of infrastructure for logistics there makes the product double in price.
- Sudan is a country that faces difficulties in movement, because of eligible roads which create logistical challenges or gaps in any business in Sudan. This challenge stands in the face of any business development.
- Digital transformation in the delivery field is small and slow because there’s a big problem in addressing and coding houses and streets and postal codes in Sudan. There are no frequently updated maps for streets in Google maps or any other platform which result in increasing the delivery duration. This is an important service for the development of the supply chain sector.
- In Sudan opportunities in all fields are available especially in services and products that can be delivered or sold online.
- There are big opportunities in logistics, supply chain and delivery, especially delivery, it is one of the industries that will create job opportunities for a big number of people in the coming 10-20 years.
The delivery part covers a really tiny piece of the logistics, while there’s enormous potential there especially after the cultural change in the lifestyle after COVID19 pandemic, plus the technological development and the many options and opportunities people realized in e-commerce.| Mohamed Kamal
- The lack of international infrastructure here is indeed a challenge but it’s also an opportunity for us to create innovative solutions.
- All the challenges spoken of, if we looked at them from a positive perspective, they’re opportunities. As an example, addresses problem.
- There’s an opportunity for startups to work on supporting e-government and e-payment through applications that convince the users and gain their trust in electronic services.
Sudanese consumer behavior
- Not price sensitive
- Very loyal Customer
- Not costly in the acquisition,
- Voluntarily create marketing.
All these features gives startups an advantage to work and grow.
Effects of COVID19
- One of the positive effects of COVID19 pandemic and social distancing is it boosted the logistics business in general and delivery in specific. This is a very remarkable time for people to shed light on quality standards.
The pandemic created a step-change in the consumer’s behavior in many fields.The most benefited sectors from the COVID19 pandemic are financial inclusion and delivery.
Social media and applications role
Halan as an example depends on social media for advertisement, and the special feature of social media allowed them to directly interact with their customers and receive their reviews, which resulted in consistently modifying their services to meet the customer’s expectations.| Mohamed Kamal
Supply chain management and process
Sudapost as an example. Mail industry has a lot of partners because it depends on transportation to deliver its services, aviation is one of the strategic partners for the mail. So the supply chain in mail starts with you handing your package to the person who works in the counter, who will ask you for your information, the information of the person who will receive this package and so In, and he will record all these information in the system, then all those information will automatically appear in the system of the receiving country with all the details (the airline, flight number, arrival time, receiver information…etc).
Supply chain in the mail is a very big chain that connects many people and places around the globe, and the service it provides is a very delicate one, so it needs to stay updated and keep track of new technologies so it doesn’t fall behind and in order for it to compete. Which creates an endless opportunity for startups and young entrepreneurs to work on supply chain and delivery and last-mile delivery. Partnerships with startups in this field is a very successful concept and learning opportunity for both partners.
Supply chain management
The supply chain has the main 4 functions :
- Movement: there are gaps in movement because of the lack of optimization of mechanisms. Which results in untapped capacities plus movement challenges in terms of infrastructure.
- Storage: we have a huge number of storage houses which need to be optimised, and it can also provide businesses opportunities, not necessarily for businesses that sell anything, just connect businesses together.
- Processing: in Sudan, we have capacity issues in processing, in terms of packaging, for example, we don’t have enough cardboard factories or packaging products factories, we import these things which can be an impediment especially in delicate industries.
- Delivery: delivery has so many fields, we don’t have competition with global companies which is an advantage for any young entrepreneur to come up with new technologies and create applications and strategies to boost the delivery duration and capacity.
We can say that solutions for most of the challenges we mentioned earlier are in the collaboration and partnership between businesses. There’s a good chance that Sudapost can be the regulatory body if people joined hands and worked together.
Ecommerce can be very helpful for the economy especially in this period, it can provide a market especially for small industries such as dried food. E-commerce will save all these businesses a lot of time and cost by providing easy access to customers and markets.
The type of e-commerce that works with conditions in Sudan is marketplace e-commerce, which means someone or some entity establish a marketplace where he can host other businesses and provide them with services (some delivery startup businesses, electronic payments, as well as product/service providers), the businesses can showcase their products and then pay a percentage of their profit to the platform . This business model is ideal in Sudan because it reduces the cost for small businesses and startups which allows them to sustain themselves in the market.| Muntasir Dahab
The marketplace is the ideal way to conduct e-commerce in Sudan, it will result in reducing the prices because it will cancel brokers’ role, which will affect positively to the inflation, as well as result in better and honest competition and higher quality of products and services.
You must look at the opportunity, and the lifetime of the opportunity, it’s important to see the change that will happen in the mindsets of the customers, After the pandemic, a lot of industries fell, such as restaurants, tourism, and flights so people today have to find innovative ways for these industries to keep carrying out and delivering there products and services.
The transformation period after the peace agreement will open a lot of doors and chances if the government will offer real chances for businesses and startups to move the wheel to push the economy. Un categorised businesses such as online stores can be included in the tax umbrella which provides income to the government. Economic prosperity is connected to political growth and prosperity.| Mohamed Kamal
About the panelists
Mohamed Kamal is a software engineer, and work on the supply chain, regional manager of Halan
Husam Ali alumni of the school of math, university of Khartoum, worked on marketing, software, MCGs, aviation, and electronic payments. Established a consultancy agency and e-commerce activities.
Muntasir Dahab head of digital marketing and business development in Sudapost.
This Article had been developed by 249Startups Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum . Written by : Thuraya Saad , Copywriter – 249Startups .