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Tuesday, 17 October 2023 15:48

Amazon to launch South African e-commerce marketplace in 2024.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Amazon has announced that it will launch, the company's online marketplace, in 2024, making it only the second African country after Egypt where the U.S. e-commerce giant has set up a locally-dedicated website.

"We look forward to launching in South Africa, providing local sellers, brand owners and entrepreneurs – small and large –  the opportunity to grow their business with Amazon, and delivering great value and a convenient shopping experience for customers across South Africa," said Amazon GM for sub-Saharan Africa Robert Koen in a statement.

"The launch of in 2024 will provide independent sellers throughout the country an opportunity to rapidly launch, grow and scale their businesses while leveraging the innovative capabilities provided by Amazon," the company added.

Indeed, attracting third-party sellers appears to be key to Amazon's strategy in South Africa. It said more than 60% of sales in Amazon's store are from independent sellers, "providing a vast selection of products, competitive prices and great convenience for consumers".

Amazon has long had a significant presence in South Africa through its Amazon Web Services subsidiary. The company has development and support centres in Cape Town, where it has also established data centre infrastructure to serve the South African and broader African markets with cloud computing services.

The launch of an e-commerce marketplace operation in South Africa has been a long time coming, with speculation first emerging in 2022 about the company's plans to launch marketplaces in both South Africa and Nigeria.

Amazon will also find itself beholden to competition requirements and constraints recently imposed by the Competition Commission though its market inquiry, which the commission explicitly stated would apply to any new entrants to the South African online marketplace space, including Amazon.