Migrant remittances, i.e. money that emigrants send to their country of origin from their host country, represent considerable amounts: USD 26bn for West Africa in 2014, i.e. 3.2% of regional GDP (source: AfDB). For the past ten years, the annual volume of these remittances has even exceeded the volume of the Official Development Assistance that the fifteen West African countries benefit from. These funds are mainly intended to support the consumption expenditure of their families who have stayed in the country, but the diaspora has no way of controlling their use.
Afrimarket was set up in 2013 to provide the African diaspora living in France with a substitute for remittances: an online shopping and home delivery platform for local products (food, household appliances, high-tech, health, building materials) for their families in West Africa. This cash-to-goods service replaces money (and with better rates) and allows vouchers to be transferred which can only be spent in the network of Afrimarket’s local partners-traders, i.e. 250 outlets in the capitals and rural areas of five countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Cameroon and Senegal.
Proparco has supported the development of this French start-up by investing EUR 1m in its capital during the third fundraising (EUR 9m), alongside existing shareholders (French Family Office, Orange France and Orange Côte d’Ivoire) and two new entrants (Financière Fonds Privés and Global Innovation Fund). These funds will be earmarked for the development of a digital marketing force, as well as for the professionalization of the logistics network.
The development of Afrimarket will create local employment, particularly skilled jobs for women, improve access to essential products for residents in urban areas, and create wealth for local partners-traders.