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Ecommerce Caravan Heads to eBay Oasis

eBay is setting its sights on African and Middle Eastern countries in its bid for growth, and is hosting an “e-Commerce Carvan” at its headquarters in Zurich this week.

eBay has entered into an agreement with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to help small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by global digital commerce.

eBay will give the companies Anchor Stores on its marketplace and will give them advice to help them reach a global market and better position their offerings in selected target markets. The companies will also have access to eBay’s network of fulfillment centers, making logistics more cost-effective.

Kick-starting the partnership, ITC and eBay, in collaboration with DHL, have organized the ecommerce caravan that toured Switzerland and has now arrived at eBay’s headquarters in Zurich. Entrepreneurs from six countries are showcasing products that sold online:

“Visitors to the e-Commerce Caravan will have the opportunity to listen and interact with entrepreneurs from Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Syria. They will be invited to discover how international trade can boost business leading to higher incomes and stronger economies, and how this helps provide stability and build peace.

“In addition, more than 1,000 products will be on display and on sale, and it will be possible for visitors to the e-Commerce Caravan to visit some of the artisans’ workshops via virtual reality headsets.”

eBay had bet big on BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China in recent years, with mixed results (CEO Devin Wenig recently called Russia a disaster), and now eBay is going after developing countries. It recently partnered with a site called MallforAfrica.com to help Africans purchase goods from US sellers, starting with shoppers in Nigeria and Kenya.

eBay Vice President for Greater Europe Eben Sermon and ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez announced the new collaboration with ITC at the annual meeting of ITC’s Joint Advisory Group held in Geneva on July 4th. And you can find more information about the sellers on the EcomCaravan.org website (French language).

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.