Amazon finally puts down e-commerce roots in Africa

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Amazon’s highly awaited entry into Africa has come to fruition, with the tech giant announcing the launch of its e-commerce marketplace in South Africa on Tuesday.

The e-commerce giant revealed in a statement that its localized platform,, will provide customers with access to a wide array of local and international brands spanning 20 product categories. Additionally, it promises same-day and next-day delivery, facilitated by over 3,000 pickup points, along with free delivery for the first order and subsequent orders exceeding R500 (~$27).

The news comes two years after Amazon first revealed its intention to enter the continent with localized marketplaces in Nigeria and South Africa. The expansion faced several delays with Amazon pushing back the initial launch dates for both countries. While the Nigerian launch, slated for February 2023, was put on hold, the South African debut, fixed for April 2023, was postponed to October and later this year.

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Last October, Amazon began onboarding independent sellers in South Africa and made hires in merchant development, software development, and operations, indicating its impending arrival.

“We are excited to launch, along with thousands of independent sellers in South Africa. We provide customers with great value, broad selection—including international and local products—and a convenient delivery experience,” said Robert Koen, managing director of Sub-Saharan Africa, Amazon, in a statement. “Building a strong relationship with South African brands and businesses—small or large—is incredibly important to us. We want to be the place where they can reach millions of customers.”

Amazon’s entry into the South African market introduces competition into an R55 billion (~$3 billion) industry largely dominated by Naspers-owned Takealot, which commands nearly half of all online sales in the southern African country. Walmart-owned Massmart is also gearing up for its own e-commerce push. The timing of Amazon’s launch also coincides with a surge in online shopping in South Africa following the pandemic, which has spurred increased investments from retailers in the e-commerce sector.

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