This week starts with Business and Tech week for AfroBloggers Digital Storytelling Festival. I was wondering what I would write about but what came up is what I am going through right now. It has been 35( thirty five) days, let me repeat that thirty five days and counting since I posted a package to Zimbabwe. You know that posting of where you go to the post office and lick a couple of stamps and put it on an envelope. EEehh…that one.We went old-school!!
You see it started as a question. The African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) – the world’s largest free-trade area – started trading on 1 January 2021, creating a market of 1.2 billion people and the eighth economic bloc in the world with a $3-trillion combined GDP, that is expected to more than double by 2050.This was a momentous occasion for Africa. It was simply awesome. I mean as a businesswoman, I was thinking of ways on how to get my products and services around the continent. Over a billion people in Africa was the population I was looking at. I was not even being greedy..Just 1% of this population and I would be good. But now the question was how do I get my products around? Like if I wanted to send a product to Nigeria or Egypt or Zimbabwe, how would I go about it and how long would it take? Since I had already planned on sending a package, this would be an experiment as well.
Why, I’ve just this instant found out that we might have gone around the world in only seventy-eight days.Jules Verne- Around the world in eighty days
I quickly went to the post office to ask about their services to Zimbabwe. I was going to send a package to a friend and see how it goes. I was promptly informed that Zimbabwe was in Zone 4 and thus paid a hefty price of 4000UGX, about a dollar and a half per 100gms. Ofcourse I asked how much it cost to send to the United Kingdom. United Kingdom is in Zone 1 and costs much much much less. I was in shock. I was like why?
Why does is it cheaper to send a package all the way to another continent and more to African countries? No clear answer was given, apart from something to do with airlines and number of packages. I was later informed that the package to Zimbabwe would take a minimum of three weeks. I asked for a maximum and was told if they do not receive it in two months, I should get back to them. Hahaha!!! Banange Business!! Anyway to the U.K takes a maximum of two weeks. Yes, you read right. It takes a shorter time to go to another continent than within the continent. So it is 35 days and counting. I still have 25 days before I can go and get more information.
I was also asked if I wanted a tracking number. Having worked at FedEx, I was like yes of course, this is fantastic. They told me that would cost $1.50. UUUhhhh?? Yes, you pay for a tracking number. Anyway, I paid because I wanted to know where it was at any given time. I was also promptly informed that there would only be four entries-
- Entry in system in Uganda
- Departure from Uganda
- Entry into Zimbabwe
- Delivery to Client
Beggars cant be choosers so as of now, I know it has left Uganda. That is that but that is better than nothing, right?Anyway, African Union, I am just wondering how you plan to sort out the delivery systems within the African free trade area. Because if it is like so, I do not know…I really do not know……..
It is Day 11 on the Afrobloggers Digital Storytelling Festival. It is all about Business and Tech this week
Do share with us. How has it been for you delivering a package within Africa? Have you tried it out?