Wasoko and MaxAB, have signed preliminary merger terms to join together as a combined entity to drive the transformation of Africa’s informal retail sector.

This merger of equals will bolster the growth and development of the e-commerce pioneers to establish the most successful digital retail platform on the continent. 

Described as the largest tech merger in Africa, Wasoko, formerly called Sokowatch and MaxAB will have a collective customer base of over 450,000 merchants serving an estimated 65+ million consumers with essential goods in their local communities across eight African countries: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and DR Congo.

Since the start of 2023, both companies have experienced sustained traction with Wasoko’s monthly revenue increasing by 30% and its Sub-Saharan African network of merchants rising by over 20%.

Equally, MaxAB has grown its monthly active merchant network by 25% and its fintech transaction volumes by over 50%. Both companies have also made significant strides towards profitability, which will be accelerated through the combination of elite talent and capabilities across markets. Through the merger, Wasoko and MaxAB expect to collaborate deeply on enabling greater intra-Africa trade between their markets and implementing new technologies on a Pan-African scale.

The force behind Wasoko and MaxAB’s market leadership lies not only in their B2B e-commerce offering but also in their integrated payment solutions, merchant financing and proprietary logistics operations at the heart of both businesses. Through the shared pan-African vision of both startups to address major challenges inhibiting the development of Africa’s $850bn informal retail sector, this collaboration will empower the combined companies to strengthen their infrastructure further while harnessing cross-market synergies.

Speaking on the merger, MaxAB CEO Belal El-Megharbelstated: This merger is the culmination of developing excellent teams, a lot of hard work over the years and a commitment to innovative solutions adding up to our unique offering to retailers. I am proud of what we have achieved as MaxAB, and even more excited for our future together with Wasoko. As a combined company, we can truly unlock the potential of Africa’s informal retail sector across various technology-enabled services in e-commerce, fintech and logistics. As we embark on this new chapter, I am confident that the natural synergies between us will empower our customers and partners across the continent.”

Wasoko CEO Daniel Yu added: “When I launched Wasoko in Kenya in 2016, it was with the promise of becoming a truly pan-African company, and this merger is the boldest step we’ve taken towards realising that goal while reflecting on my personal history developing the initial concept behind Wasoko during my time spent in Egypt over a decade ago. As we embark on our next stage of expansion, our merger with MaxAB underscores our commitment to empowering businesses and connecting consumers across all parts of the African continent with an affordable and diverse range of essential products. We are excited to go further together on our shared vision, bolstered by complementary strengths while building the foundation for a remarkable partnership.”

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