Startup pitches that claim to deliver a variety of services to Africans in various areas are becoming popular. And, in attempting to entice investors, it’s important to remember that Africa is a $3 trillion market with a lot of fragmentation. More than 1.2 billion people live on the continent with lower-than-average disposable income, the majority of whom live in landlocked countries. It’s one of the few reasons why intra-continental trade has been tough for so long. However, in 2019, politicians from across Africa signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which establishes a framework for Africa to become a single market for trade and services. This will make intra-trade less painful side note: the agreement is yet to make any significant impact.
Adetola Onayemi was part of the team that negotiated the deal, which went into force in January 2021. His expertise from this activity, together with his recent work as a technical consultant to Nigeria’s vice president’s office, inspired him to create Norebase, a trade tech business that has secured $1 million in a pre-seed round. In an interview with, CEO Onayemi, a lawyer by trade, said the concept for Norebase sprang from discussions with customers and colleagues in the software industry about how they could benefit from the AfCFTA.
“I had done all this work in policy, ease of doing business, free trade agreements, and I was counseling some folks in tech who would say, ‘listen, I just got fresh funding to enter new countries, and I have no idea how I’m meant to manage it,'” the CEO told over the phone. According to Onayemi, the expansion of Africa’s digital economy is based on improvements in six areas: education, payments, logistics, transportation, identification, and commerce.
In an industry that garnered $5 billion in venture capital financing last year, trade has the least amount of startup activity. Tola says this is because appropriate solutions require certain skill sets and a grasp of intracontinental intricacies. And it was only natural for him to accept the challenge, given his broad expertise and experience. “It’s critical to provide a framework where individuals can operate and develop their solutions across several markets at the same time,” said Onayemi, who also co-founded Future Africa, an Africa-focused venture capital firm. “Our solution is for consumers entering into their first market in their local market or for a firm looking to grow their business in their fourth market.”
Traditional solutions entail a time-consuming process of interacting with numerous legal companies and accounting firms, as well as trademark registries, and engaging a staff to oversee these operations. Meanwhile, clients and businesses engaged to execute incorporation in another nation share a level of trust and accountability.
“In this type of setting, people can make mistakes, and Norebase has shared learnings throughout time to help people avoid these blunders.” We combine that information and create a single platform that assures you don’t have to worry about trust,” the CEO continued. “It takes days from the time you tell us to set up to the time you tell us to set up. We know the rules, so you don’t have to waste time talking to attorneys or obtaining documentation – we take care of everything.”
In September 2021, Onayemi and Tope Obanla founded Norebase. It enables entrepreneurs and enterprises to launch and expand across many African nations at once or on a regular basis. Companies that utilize Norebase’s technology may incorporate in any African nation in “a few minutes” and grow to new locations in a week, according to the company. Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mauritius, and Burkina Faso are among these nations. Norebase also upsells other services as long as they comply with regulatory and compliance criteria.
They include establishing bank accounts, creating virtual mailing addresses, and registering trademarks and intellectual property. Onayemi stated on the conference that Norebase doesn’t have a set cost and instead charges clients based on the services they require, without commenting on the company’s pricing range.