He's fortunate to be growing an online business during a digital revolution, but for the General Manager of a leading classified ads platform in Cameroon things could be easier.
Kerawa.com was started about a decade ago by Mr. Nino Njopkou and formally incorporated as Wariba Classifieds SAS in 2015 following the injection of a $250k investment as classified platform with the simple aim of matching sellers with buyers.
After merging with the larger Afrimalin Group this year, the site attracts more than a million visitors a month and covers over 15 countries in Africa. Customers cover almost the whole economic spectrum of the country
But Amara says traffic to the website could increase "massively" when the new draft strategy for e-commerce proposed by the Commonwealth and the Cameroon government is implemented.
The Commonwealth is helping the country to put in place effective legal, policy and regulatory frameworks for e-commerce that would help to diversify the economy, create employment, reduce poverty and integrate Cameroon into the multilateral trading system.
"The potential for e-commerce to expand in Cameroon is enormous," says Amara.
"E-commerce and, by extension, the digitalisation of economic transaction, would open real trade opportunities between the 10 regions of our country and also enable Cameroonian SME’s expand their trade across the CEMAC region.”
Some major challenges, which Amara hopes the new strategy will enable the government to tackle, include Cameroon's "poor" digital signature, internet walls, and the lack of a payment "backbone" and sufficient broadband availability. Another obstacle to gaining greater market share is how consumers access the internet.
"Internet devices are structurally of poor quality and tailored for foreign products consumption, namely Facebook and WhatsApp. This leaves very little room for Cameroonian products," he adds.
According to Commonwealth Trade Adviser Opeyemi Abebe, the strategy will make proposals for establishing a delivery network system to reduce the cost of the last mile delivery in the rural areas.
“While mobile money payments have been adopted to enhance digital payment for goods and services, there is still the need for e an acceptable level of secure online payment methods for e-commerce to flourish,” she says.
Amara welcomed the Commonwealth's support for the private sector in this process.