KENYAN startup Taz Technologies, the firm behind digitised mail service technology application MPost, has announced plans to speed up its expansion into the Sub-Saharan region to tap into opportunities presented by the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Speaking during a Trade Forward podcast organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, Twahir Mohamed, the CEO of Taz Technologies said the company is keen to venture into Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, and Burundi in their first expansion phase.
“We have already closed an agreement with Uganda, and we are currently in talks with the South African Post Office, with potential of having an agreement by the end of the year. We are also in the final stages of our deliberations with Rwanda and Burundi,” said Mohamed.
South African small businesses will be part of the entities in the sub-Saharan region that benefit from the MPost Tap-A- Delivery innovation leveraging on opportunities from the AfCFTA.
“Small businesses can leverage MPost as pick up and drop off agents. They can further earn income when customers use their space through storage fees,” said Mohamed.
MPost is a patented technology enabling any mobile phone user to transform his or her phone into a unique mobile postal box at an affordable annual fee of $3. Through a configuration of exclusive partnerships with the national postal services of countries around the world, users can register themselves with Mpost to send and receive mail and parcels.
MPost expansion plan will be phased with the first phase rolling out into ten more countries over the next two years. Currently, MPost is seeking approximately $25 million broken into an initial public offering, venture capital phase and a follow-on mezzanine private equity phase.
According to Mohamed, Taz Technologies aims to scale and replicate its achievement in Kenya to other countries in Africa through leveraging on support through programmes such as ITC’s One Trade Africa. The programme seeks to address non-tariff measures, simplify cross-border trade transactions, and improve the business ecosystem at both, national and regional levels with a focus on the AfCFTA.
In Kenya where Taz Technologies first rolled out the MPost technology, the service provides a convenient, reliable, and affordable way to send and receive packages, it also provides last mile connectivity, through post offices worldwide.
Our goal for businesses like Taz Technologies is to equip them with skills and knowledge on the AfCFTA to effectively expand their business across the continent. ITC’s One Trade Africa initiative contributes to boost e-commerce opportunities and create a ripple effect for small business owners seeking to digitise their business operations by using technologies such as those offered by MPost. African consumers will also benefit with easier access to more products and have the assurance they will receive their products in good time and through a safe delivery process,” said Aissatou Diallo, AfCFTA Senior Coordinator at ITC.
Taz Technologies partnered with the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) to provide virtual postal addresses. This gives MPost customers the ability to collect their parcels or letters at over 600 postal offices countrywide. In addition to the mail services, MPost also enables users to pay for goods and services as well as send and receive money via e-banking services.
Besides partnership with MPost, the PCK has a strategic partnership with Taz Technologies for the delivery of postal items, mail and parcels originating from the Post Office delivered to the customer’s doorstep.
Dan Kagwe, the PCK CEO and Postmaster General said the new frontier for the postal services sector is e-commerce and logistics, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic era where customers are keen to trade with minimal physical contact. With Tap-A-Delivery; the services will include physical delivery of mail to your doorstep, or mail pickup for delivery.
The PCK is integrated into the TAZ delivery system, dubbed “Tap-A-Delivery” which is a real time e-commerce courier service app that collaborates with Uber and other logistics and taxi companies for last mile delivery across the country.
“To shore up our fortunes in a digitalized economy where mail volumes have plummeted, we are now leveraging the advent of digital globalization through modern technologies and strategic partnerships,” said Kagwe.
“The Tap-A-Delivery innovation incorporates Posta and logistics companies such as Uber for efficient collection and deliver of mail and parcels,” said Mohamed. MPost also comes in handy to those who wish to buy and ship items from overseas merchants like Amazon and AliExpress, among others.
Under the new partnership, PCK clients can schedule their deliveries for a later date, as well as plan for recurring deliveries. In addition, Tap-A-Delivery will incorporate a “Scan and Get Delivery” feature aimed at getting traction from convenience stores and supermarkets across the country.-HARARE