“Africa has a Nile but still no Amazon” is a mildly corny pun that is sort of a choice expression for stating a well-known fact that has no ties to monstrous water bodies.
Rather, that expression encapsulates the relationship (or perhaps the lack of it) that exists between the world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon, and the African continent.
Simply put, Amazon currently serves people in 120+ countries, among which are 17 African nations. But somehow, Amazon has e-commerce operations in every continent, except Africa.
That is, Africa is the only continent where Amazon has refrained from setting up actual e-commerce machinery all these years. The why? That’s a subject that is often skirted around with vague statements. Nevertheless, the entire dynamic may be about to change.
A typical big splash
Amazon’s presence in Africa goes as far back as 2005 when it launched one of its first international outposts in Cape Town. At the time, the company had just begun to build the cloud computing juggernaut that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has grown to become.
So it should come as no surprise that the same City of Cape Town in South Africa is at the centre of a just-ann...