Businesses in Yemen have experienced devastating challenges due to the protracted conflict in the region. As a consequence, the national economy is struggling. As the informal micro and SME sector contribute immensely to the economy, a centralized platform for small entrepreneurs to access wider markets at home and abroad as well as logistical and payment connectivity can provide the required stability in the economy and boost the sector.
Towards a Solution
Yemeni Dükkan is an aggregated e-commerce platform which has been implemented with the support of ekShop and its related services, and UNDP Yemen. The initiative aims to support micro, small, and medium-sized entrepreneurs in overcoming the challenges of accessing local markets, improving their livelihoods and income and strengthening resilience to shocks and crises. It also aims to develop e-commerce awareness in the country, focusing on rural and urban areas and selling rural/urban small and medium entrepreneurs’ products in e-commerce and alternative selling channels. The platform has the capacity to host thousands of products and make them available to citizens at their doorsteps by creating micro merchant-level entrepreneurs and village-level home delivery of the products. The platform also provides opportunities for banks and microfinancing institutions to create transaction profiles and provide wider access to institutional and non-institutional finance.
The Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme, with the assistance from UNDP Yemen, implemented the e-commerce platform and its related services, together with API connectivity for Yemen and the global market, through the following activities:
- E-commerce module replication and API connectivity for Yemen and the global market
- ekShop delivery platform replication for Yemen and the global market
- Hosting, subscription, and API integration with Amazon, Alibaba, Qoovee, and eBay
The rural aggregated e-commerce platform, ekShop, was built to bridge the gap between urban and rural populations and enable them in accessing e-commerce and other digital services. ekShop has aggregated the largest e-commerce platforms through API connectivity into a single system. a2i and its ekShop initiative have extensive experience in replicating the e-commerce module in two countries, Turkey and South Sudan. The modules were replicated with hyper-local features and have shown considerable success.
In addition to connecting the local and transnational markets, the opportunity that a2i presented could bring huge potential for Yemeni businesses and the private sector to rebuild the local economy and value chains.