Among the many “e-logistics” companies trying to shake up the transportation of products is Kenya’s Lori Programs, which makes use of a cloud-based platform to attach corporations eager to shift cargo with the truck drivers who can transfer it.

“We handle a community of tens of hundreds of vans,” says Jean-Claude Homawoo, co-founder of Lori Programs, which works throughout 10 international locations in Africa. His prospects embrace Nestlé (NSRGY), Dangote and Honeywell (HON).

“If one [truck] breaks down, that is not a difficulty as a result of we will ship one other,” he tells CNN Enterprise. “Or if the cargo shouldn’t be prepared, we will ship that transporter to a different website. So long as we preserve vans shifting and so they’re not operating empty miles, which is dear, we consider that the costs will proceed to come back down.”

Poor infrastructure and logistics can add between 40% and 60% to the price of items in Africa, in keeping with a report this month by the Worldwide Finance Company (IFC) and Google.

“Even inside native markets, inefficient distribution networks can lead domestically grown contemporary produce to price considerably extra in Africa than in developed markets, regardless that the price of labor is considerably much less,” says William Sonneborn, senior director of the IFC, a part of the World Financial institution group.

With higher logistics, Africa could possibly be an even bigger exporter of contemporary fruit, says Sonneborn. A cumbersome provide chain means fruit grown on the continent usually spoils earlier than reaching its vacation spot, or it could possibly’t compete on worth.

“As you repair the entire system, which incorporates e-logistics and a few investments in ports and different key infrastructure belongings, you’re creating the chance for exports,” he says.

Affect on the digital financial system

Homawoo says Lori Programs has raised “north of $25 million” in funding. Sendy, one other Kenyan e-logistics firm, raised $20 million in an funding spherical backed by Toyota (TM) in January, and final yr, Nigeria’s Kobo360 raised $20 million from Goldman Sachs (FADXX) and different buyers.

However Sonneborn says that for e-logistics to actually make an affect, extra monetary backing is required, in addition to extra digital expertise on the continent.

The IFC report cites e-logistics startups as key in rising Africa’s web financial system, which could possibly be price $180 billion by 2025, accounting for greater than 5% of the continent’s gross home product.

Homawoo believes that the sector might assist remodel African economies. “If we will make logistics extra environment friendly, the alternatives are limitless,” he says.