National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) has entered into a partnership with a local e-commerce firm Alinafe Online (AOL) in a quest to enhance sales among its members.
Confirming the development Nasme National Chairperson, William Mwale, said the partnership was aimed at enhancing trading within Malawi following a decline in business amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.
He indicated that most of its members are happy with the initiative as they are able to sell products online though it is not as vibrant as physical markets.
“It’s a new concept and with time people will get used to buying things online and we are happy that we are there to help our members in these hard times however the business online is not as fast as it is when people interact physically,” Mwale said.
Alinafe Online Managing Director, Mosses Chirambo, said the technology allows users to conduct transactions online including shopping and selling products and accessing of essential services.
He adds that products bought online on Alinafe.com (website and android app) are delivered directly to the buyer’s doorstep by his company.
“Despite that AOL had been operating for a year, the company has seen a rise for the demand for its services within this crisis moment such that it registered an increase of 72 percent on traffic and 34 percent in profits in the first quarter. There has been a steady increase in the demand in the month of April and May.
“This arrangement, AOL has been purchasing products at wholesale price from SMEs involved in manufacturing of products and have stocks, thereby cushioning them from the negative impacts of COVID-19,” Chirambo said.
Malawi has been adopting e-commerce and digital technology gradually through online platforms.
However, such efforts have been frustrated by low internet penetration in the country currently at 14 percent of the population and high internet costs among others.