Wikipedia: Masoko is a Swahili word denoting “markets”. It is the plural of “soko” which is derived from Arabic “سوق” (souq) meaning market.
Masoko, the Swahili word for market, is also the name of a new e-commerce marketplace that would soon go live in Kenya. Brought to you by….Safaricom
There are plans for the marketplace to be “a little bit more than an African equivalent of Amazon.com’s Marketplace”. Rita Okuthe, Director of Enterprise Business at Safaricom
The platform, which will go live within 8 months, is currently being tested in-house and would focus on formal retail and informal online trading in Kenya. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore
Masoko will eventually grow to enable African business people to trade across borders, allowing someone in Kenya to buy Ethiopian leather goods on the site, or to export their produce to Nigeria.
In time when Kenya’s e-commerce giant Jumia is shutting down to shut down its marketplace no better time for the telecommunication giant to propel in to the e-commerce market. Although Safaricom have not reveal the platform’s URL, masoko.com and masoko.co.ke currently have ‘Coming Soon’ messages on their homepages. The Whois.com revealed that both domain names were registered by Safaricom. Rather buy the domain m-soko
Unlike most platforms in the Kenyan market the masoko platform will not be holding inventory as anyone can sell after carefully merchants screening before access to the platform. Safaricom is looking to work with farmers and manufacturers pursuing direct market access and better supply chain efficiency.
At a vantage point Safaricom’s MASOKO might take the competition in analyzing the M-Pesa data, Smartphone usage not ignoring that M-Pesa is a the favorite on olx, pigiame, jumia and kilimall. Notably the e-commerce platform will boost Safaricom M-Pesa payments platform (Lipa na M-Pesa).
The website will offer a selection of products ranging from electronics, makeup, and food and provide a space for merchants to trade goods on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.