Kobo360, a Nigerian logistics start-up is set to launch its operations in East Africa with Kenya acting as its launching pad.
Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360 co-founder said the company would open an office in East Africa’s biggest economy later this year with a view to exploit the opportunities along the Northern Corridor which is anchored at the port of Mombasa.
The firm also is eyeing Ghana after starting operations in Togo last year.
Mr. Oyedele II says the expansion is informed by steady growth in the key trading and transport hubs port of 12 per cent in Togo, 10 per cent in Kenya and 7.9 per cent in Ghana.
“Kenya is the hub of East Africa, it is the most innovative market in technology and if we win here, we have won across the region. From here we will expand to Uganda and Tanzania,” said Mr Oyedele II.
The platform which connects truckers and firms with freight needs now boasts over 4,000 users including Dangote, Unilever and LaFarge.
In Kenya, the company plans to equip drivers with tools for running trips smoothly. In Nigeria it boasts of having reduced logistics costs by 40 per cent.
“We estimate that Africa needs ten times more the number of trucks to meet short term commercial transport needs since rail continues to underperform,” Mr Oyedele II added.
The expansion was announced as experts pointed out that logistics red tape could be the undoing of the Continental Free Trade Area, CFTA, which was launched last year. They said it takes more than 700 hours and some $2,500 per day to process documentation in some African countries.
“It is more costly to move goods from Kigali to Mombasa than it is between Mombasa and China. It is 50 per cent more expensive to trade in Africa than in South East Asia,” said Carlos Lopes, a trade expert. He said negotiations on rules of origin and intellectual property would be key in realizing the dream of CFTA.