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Senegalese start-up revolutionises fish sales

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The Aywajieune e-commerce platform founded by Malick Birane puts fishers in direct contact with individuals and restaurants

© Matteo Maillard

Smart-tech and innovation

A first-of-its kind e-commerce platform is connecting fishermen with customers in Senegal, and offering a same-day delivery service for online orders.

An online Senegalese trading platform specialised in the distribution of fresh fish and seafood is providing private individuals and restaurants with fresh and frozen products from quality suppliers. Customers simply log in to the website where they can access 50 varieties of fish and seafood (30 in 2017) and have them delivered to their door at the click of a button. Aywajieune, meaning ‘I sell fish’, is the start-up that is sourcing and supplying the produce.

“We realised that some sellers had stocks but were having trouble reaching their customers, and, at the same time, consumers didn’t know where to find them,” explains Malick Birane, the start-up's young managing director. Launched 3 years ago, Aywajieune has since opened a new chapter in its growth. “Our technical team is working hard to release a smartphone application in the coming weeks and to develop new B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) functions for the platform,” says Birame. Available on iOS and Android, the app will further diversify the marketing channels for fish products – the goal of the burgeoning company.

In addition to the mobile phase which will help expand its customer base – Senegal has a mobile penetration rate higher than 100% – Aywajieune is planning to implement a pilot development phase in 2020 in the neighbouring countries of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. “For the moment, we are focusing on developing sales and limiting unsold stock," says Birane.

Aywajieune has grown since its beginnings in 2016. From 60 fish merchants, it now works with more than 150 suppliers to serve 1,500 customers, three times as many as when it started. “Our fishermen were all based in Dakar, now we also have landings in Mbour and Ziguinchor," clarifies Birane. "And we are no longer only serving the capital, but the entire region within 48 hours."

This growth was made possible by Aywajieune winning the regional CTA AgriHack competition in 2017 and subsequently receiving support from Ernst & Young for a year, which carried out an assessment of the business and proposed a development plan. “This enabled us to review our business model and raise CFA 25 million (€38,000) from the Délégation à l'entreprenariat rapide des jeunes [Rapid Entrepreneurship Delegation fund], created by the Senegalese government," continues Birane. Aywajieune is now innovating with the Senegalese food technology institute, Institut de Technologie Alimentaire, to develop a range of processed products (fish roe, minced fish, pastes and croquettes), to further transform the fish market.  

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