Technology, e-commerce will help relieve pressure on foreign exchange market’
by Hope Moses-Ashike
December 1, 2016 | 3:43 am| | | Start Conversation
Aramex, a global logistics company, recently launched into Nigerian market to focus on multi-billion e-commerce industry, using a proper technology to bridge the gap between big and small companies. In this interview with Hope Moses-Ashike, Faisal Jarmakani, managing director, Aramex delivery service limited, gives more insight into the impact of the company’s long term investment in the country.
Aramex is a global logistics company located in 100 of countries in the world. We started a JV again in the beginning of the year and we are a global logistics provider in e-commerce solution. We specialise in technology and software that link many other leading companies and we really hope to make impact in Nigeria.
What areas do you want to make impact in Nigeria?
You have thousands of logistics companies in Nigeria. Our vision is not to do typical solution like everybody does. Today e-commerce is growing globally. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. We really want to focus on that aspect of the market. In e-commerce you can see a lot of online like Amazon globally, Jumia, konga, these are companies that are growing immensely, scaling the business and we have been the pioneer in providing solutions for these companies.
Today, for the first time ever in Nigeria, any common Nigerian can go online and shop and 5-7 days you will have an Aramex delivery person knocking on your door with a package. What that does is that it creates demands. But when you start having companies like Amazon which are shipping into Nigeria, it is an open market for Nigeria and for Nigerian companies to ship out. It creates trust. It creates a demand and that is really what we are hoping to target.
Today there are thousands of shipping companies in Nigeria. The problem is that the gap between the big companies and the small companies is huge. It is huge because a lot of the young and new comers do not have proper technology and Aramex has grown to build business partnership and my main objective is to identify numerous logistics companies that can go on the right track, integrate our technologies that will enable them to track their packages life and have access to the global world. Companies will be able to install our technology and pick up shipments anywhere in the world through our global distribution lines. They will be able to bale in Nigeria and it is something which I would like to call exporting service.
Aramex is launching into Nigeria at a time when it is currently facing recession, how are you going to survive?
Yes it is facing challenges, but with challenges come opportunities; opportunities for the new and small companies. We are massive company globally. But in Nigeria, we are a start-up and my vision here is that the Nigerian economy is too big, too strong and too full of youth for it to crash. Yes we have gone into recession, yes the market has declined but we feel that by investing in this time, we can get better value and we have long to time vision here. Nigeria is not a country you come and invest for two years and leave. We have a 10-20 year plan and the market will be covered and when it does, we will be in a position to scale up business. Again, Nigeria has a silicon valley for Africa. It has a lot of young talents coming up, and all these talents really lack direction and we hope to enable and connect everyone in order to achieve a goal.
Employment opportunities in Nigeria?
Right now, we have been in operation for under a year and we have directly employed over 50 people. The model here is to empower Nigerians to get them across into our technology. And we have seen huge improvements on how Nigerians are accepting our technology. Customer service is our number one priority. I see today in Nigeria that there is demand but no customer service. Nigerians want customer service. That is a very big point for us to focus on.
Aramex first entrance into Nigeria was challenged; do you have the approval of the regulators to operate?
Today we have a NIPOST license which is given to us by CEO of NIPOST regulatory department. I am not aware of the details of what happened in the past. That was a business dispute more than a regulatory dispute and of course the regulatory department will protect the Nigerian companies. However, today we are fully compliant. We are registered with Nipost and we are even partnering them on many projects to help scale and improve the service and e-commerce coming into Nigeria. So, those days are over. It is a new dawn in Nigeria; a whole new era.
Impact of foreign exchange on your business
The good thing is all the resources that we need are local and in the e-commerce and logistics division, if we export our services, we will be able to bring in foreign exchange. For example, one of our biggest clients today is Amazon. It has now started to ship directly into Nigeria and there is 90 percent chance it can use Aramex, which shows that even though the economy has issue with foreign exchange, if you think outside the box, you will find a way to export your service, which is what we are doing. Now we have domestic deliveries, Amazon comes in, we bill them, and they pay us. Other e-commerce companies and global companies come in and we are able to offset foreign exchange with their local deliveries, and now we have a great balance. That is why we are encouraging people not to do business the way they used to. The world is changing, and as a matter of fact, technology, ecommerce, has already taken over. I can be in my house checking my phone and mail; very soon people will start ordering their food online. All these will help relieve the pressure on foreign exchange market.
Do the existing companies pose a threat to your business?
I do not see them as a threat. I believe that just as we have a global alliance, we should have one in Nigeria. Demand is huge, even with the big mail companies and the small companies; there is still a lacked service. The infrastructure for our kind of business is not fully developed. As a matter of fact, we are encouraging partnership with a lot of start-up companies to help them and outsource our business through them, cut fund to these businesses to help sustain and take care of demand. So demand is still huge.
Do you see challenge in any of the policies in Nigeria?
When it comes to policies, it is always a challenge, whether in the UK, US or Nigeria. The market is going on and the old policies have been updated. The CEO and post master general of NIPOST has already passed some laws that we try to modernise but as a company, and investor in Nigeria, we have seen an amazing change in transparency; the ease of doing business have improved. I think that the government is going in the right direction and even thougha lot of people are complaining, but when there is a change, there is always a down before the up. But the down is over and the up has started.
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