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Skrill, Microsoft 4Afrika plans African e-commerce portal

Skrill, Microsoft 4Afrika plans African e-commerce portal
Microsoft 4Afrika and Skrill have announced their marketing alliance to launch a new e-commerce portal that will be integrated with mobile network operators (MNOs) operating across the continent.
The planned portal will enable subscriber to use their mobile wallets to buy from global internet brands, access free educational content and use Microsoft software, they announced.
Nilesh Pandya, SVP of emerging markets at Skrill says “Africa is urbanising faster than any other continent, with cities enjoying strong levels of wireless and data coverage. It has the world’s most youthful populations and we know that it is the younger generations that are often first to embrace technology. Disposable incomes are rapidly increasing, making discretionary spend on e-commerce an immediate reality. These conditions deliver the perfect storm for a massive surge in consumer demand for digital payments.
However, a high percentage of Africans remain unbanked and so have no means of paying for global online brands. Even banked Africans often find that global online merchants are reluctant to serve these markets for credit and debit card transactions due to perceived fraud risks.”
Users can buy products and services from Skrill’s global network of merchants, using mobile wallets. By logging into the portal, consumers are also given access to special product offers and discounts on goods and services exclusively available through this purchase route and their mobile provider. E-commerce transactions do not incur any additional cost for the consumer and specific fees charged to merchants, relating to this market have been determined by Skrill to reflect the opportunity for growth, tempered with the challenges inherent in a new market, according to Skrill.
Under the partnership, Microsoft will be providing free access to One Drive, as well as Outlook email addresses so that users can register accounts with the relevant merchants. Microsoft OneDrive will enable consumers to download and store up to 15G free of charge. Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative is providing free access to educational content, from basic numeracy games to courses on app development through its virtual academy. Entrepreneurs in Africa will now have the tools required to build online businesses that Skrill will enable them to monetise.
The portal will be fully live by December 2014.
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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929