Kwely Inc. has launched an e-marketplace which will provide African producers and manufacturers with a global window to sell their products at scale.
International buyers can now source high-quality, unique, and locally-made products from across the continent. Starting with Made-in-Senegal products ranging from food, well-being, hair and skin care, the platform offers products which have been produced, tested and packaged following international standards such as the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) packaging requirements.
Kwely seeks to redefine the positioning and image of made-in-Africa products, increase their competitiveness on international markets and make global buyers and consumers discover the extensive range of natural and healthy ingredients that Africa has to offer. It also unlocks access to global markets and provides packaging solutions to create a level playing field for small producers venturing into international trade.
The platform has been built with cutting-edge proprietary technology and offers unique features that mirror the way businesses and suppliers transact with each other. From lead times, minimum order quantities, purchase orders and quote requests, the platform makes it easier and faster for buyers to place orders and receive their goods wherever they are.
A key feature also includes a full product configurator giving the buyer the opportunity to customize their order all the way to the packaging through a private label option. The first version of the platform is available in English and will soon integrate multi-language support as well as built-in shipping estimation calculation and integrated user-facing payment options.
“Today, we celebrate the launch of Kwely, your destination to the best that Africa has to offer. For a long time, Made-in-Africa products have not been given the value they deserve. The talented producers are usually hidden behind larger brands, hindering their ability to build a direct customer base and their own brand identity. Through Kwely, we are introducing to the world high-quality products sourced from small and medium-sized companies and we are unveiling rich and rare ingredients as well as the traditional workmanship of our continent. SMEs constitute the backbone of our economies. By connecting them to international buyers, we are fostering inclusive economic growth but also impacting entire communities,” said Birame Sock, Founder & CEO of Kwely Inc.
Every year, Kwely’s team of experts organize the TEKKI Challenge, an annual competition inviting local suppliers to present their products. The team follows a rigorous selection process to identify promising entrepreneurs which are primarily women working on innovative products that undergo several months of rebranding before being featured on the platform and on global partners’ networks. The free rebranding phase aims to upgrade their products by providing to local producers with the tools, knowledge, coaching and financial support to improve the quality and image of their offerings. It includes a full marketing and distribution strategy, an analysis of the packaging to meet international standards and the delivery of certifications that are compliant with global market requirements. During the first round of the TEKKI Challenge in 2021, 10 companies from the food and cosmetics industry were selected. The second phase recently concluded with 15 new brands which will soon be revealed.
Kwely has the ambition to expand the TEKKI Challenge to at least three other African countries by the end of 2023 to provide a more diverse range of products. Kwely started distributing the products from the first cohort to a number of local supermarkets, hotels and pharmacies in July 2022. The company is experiencing rapid growth and is getting ready to venture into other markets such as Europe, the U.S., Asia and other African countries.