A significant attraction of Africa is its massive inhabitants of 1.2 billion, which hints at a large addressable market. However what occurs when your audience is the governments of 54 nations?
In our state of affairs, that was the case. We began Domineum Blockchain Solutions with the intention to assist African governments resolve issues with transport and protecting data.
We knew it’d be exhausting work, however didn’t anticipate that getting our first buyer can be essentially the most troublesome half.
It’s typical when coming into Africa to wish to give attention to the massive and widespread markets like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. However what we’ve discovered to date is that there’s a excessive likelihood that these nations may not be your first entry level.
Our first product was a cargo service that tracks cargo origin and motion and determines the contents of products being imported or exported in any nation. We constructed this to resolve the issue of misplaced income as a result of shipments being handed by casual backdoor channels.
With our give attention to sub-Saharan Africa, we approached 4 nations in 2019: our residence nation of Nigeria, plus Kenya, Gambia and Guinea-Conakry.
We began this dialog and didn’t get a considerable response from the 4 nations’ governments. They weren’t open to attempting out our resolution — it was new and so they weren’t accustomed to blockchain expertise. Distraught, we determined so as to add a smaller nation to our record: Sierra Leone.
The Freetown seaport, situated within the nation’s capital, is the primary gateway for commerce out and in of Sierra Leone, with 80% of commerce passing by this port. The port has a protracted historical past as a buying and selling hub and advantages from the nation’s strategically vital location halfway between Europe and the Americas.
However Freetown isn’t one of many prime ports in Africa and even sub-Saharan Africa; a fraction of a percentage point of the world’s commerce cargo flows by its ports. The small African nation, with about 0.1% of the world’s inhabitants, exports diamonds, cocoa and occasional and imports meals, equipment and chemical compounds.
Notably, it confronted huge challenges in transport these merchandise in and in a foreign country. A Sierra Leonean provide chain supervisor described this case, “We used to face huge challenges in the course of the export course of. There can be lengthy delays on the port. Our vehicles would arrive earlier than midnight and could possibly be caught in queue for hours, even days. The documentation course of was so difficult.”
In keeping with the World Financial institution, Sierra Leone’s “commerce challenges could be attributed to a number of components: lack of entry to commerce info; excessive ranges of bodily inspections; a number of charges, licenses, permits and certificates; handbook processes; and the shortage of coordination amongst companies.” Domineum got down to resolve this.
Our preliminary conversations with the Sierra Leone authorities went effectively. Fortuitously, Sierra had developed a five-year plan (2018-2023), supported by the World Financial institution Group, to scale back the time and prices wanted to maneuver items throughout its borders. The purpose is to scale back commerce prices by 10%. After three months of dialogue, our cargo monitoring system was carried out.
In late 2019, we began this partnership, and to date we’ve been capable of seize $2 million in income that may have been misplaced. The enterprise mannequin is easy: We get a 40% fee out of additional income we’re capable of seize for the Sierra Leone authorities through our cargo monitoring system.
It’s typical when coming into Africa to wish to give attention to the massive and widespread markets like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. However what we’ve discovered to date is that there’s a excessive likelihood that these nations may not be your first entry level. A business-to-government mannequin is a troublesome one. There’s loads of politicking that goes into working with the federal government.
What we’ve seen work is to method different nations and acquire a foothold, then use that as validation that the idea works. With the success of Sierra Leone, we’re hoping to return to different nations and get a greater reception.
The success of Sierra Leone acquired us rethinking the providers we had been providing. The preliminary dialog began with a cargo monitoring service, however then we puzzled if we should always provide a distinct service to nations that stated no at first.
We recognized that land registration was a typical downside in Africa. Greater than 90% of rural land in Africa is undocumented and subsequently susceptible to land-grabbing. This hampers the expansion of agriculture and different sectors as a result of land is misplaced to different events or taken forcefully by the federal government throughout instances of battle.
We returned to those nations, providing different providers like land possession registration through blockchain. We acquired a constructive response from a state authorities in Nigeria to hold out a pilot program. We’re optimistic that when this pilot section is over, we’ll be capable to seal the subsequent enterprise deal.
What’s it like working with African governments? It’s a smaller addressable market. If you happen to’re trying to pitch a services or products to governments in Africa, it’d be useful to take into account that your first buyer may be from a smaller nation.
To grab different alternatives, we’ll preserve trying to broaden to different African nations with this mindset.