Startups & Ideas

Wasoko and MaxAB merge, Transforming African E-commerce and Retail

As the year 2023 was coming to an end, Wasoko, a leading name in African e-commerce, alongside MaxAB, another giant in the sector, made a historic announcement. The two companies have agreed to a merger, marking a pivotal moment in the continent’s e-commerce history. This merger, hailed as the largest of its kind in Africa, is set to accelerate the transformation of the informal retail sector across the continent, bringing about a major shift in how digital retail operates in Africa.

Wasoko and MaxAB, both regional leaders in their respective areas, have signed preliminary terms to merge into a single entity. This move combines their strengths to establish the most influential digital retail platform in Africa. The merger is not just a business decision; it’s a strategic move to enhance the growth and development of both companies. With this union, they aim to reshape the informal retail sector, which forms the backbone of African economies.

The combined entity will boast a remarkable reach, with over 450,000 merchants and serving more than 65 million consumers. This extensive network spans across eight African countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both companies have shown impressive growth throughout 2023. Wasoko reported a 30% increase in monthly revenue and a significant expansion in its merchant network. MaxAB also saw substantial growth, with a 25% increase in its monthly active merchant network and a staggering 50% rise in fintech transaction volumes.

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This merger is more than a business expansion; it’s a convergence of two companies’ visions and capabilities. The CEOs of both companies, Belal El-Megharbel of MaxAB and Daniel Yu of Wasoko, have expressed their excitement and confidence in this new venture. They emphasize the potential to unlock Africa’s informal retail sector’s capabilities, leveraging technology in e-commerce, fintech, and logistics. Their shared goal is to address the challenges facing Africa’s $850 billion informal retail sector.

Daniel Yu, reflecting on the journey of Wasoko, highlighted the significance of this merger in realizing his vision of a pan-African company. His aspirations, which began over a decade ago during his time in Egypt, are coming to fruition with this merger. Belal El-Megharbel also echoed these sentiments, underscoring the hard work and innovation that have led to this monumental step.

The merger is subject to internal approvals and customary closing conditions, but once completed, both CEOs will continue as executive leaders in the combined company. This merger also comes with additional investment, providing a substantial financial foundation for the new entity to pursue profitability and explore new opportunities.


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