By Chinenye Anuforo, Lagos

QNET’s Regional General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Biram Fall, revealed that understanding the potential of direct selling can help address economic and financial challenges, especially for younger generations.

He said this submission at a recent forum to discuss the empowerment of African youth.

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Fall’s remarks are based on the latest direct selling report, published by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA).

The report shows that global direct sales grew 2.3% year-on-year, from $175.3 billion in 2019 to $179.3 billion in 2020.

He pointed out that this jump in direct selling was recorded despite estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicating a decline in the global economy of 4.4% in 2020 – a period when most world economies were in the struggling with rising unemployment.

Based on the positive developments in the sector and the predicted growth of e-commerce, Fall urged young people to embrace direct selling as another source of sustainable economic and financial empowerment. The direct selling model takes advantage of selling products directly to customers without resorting to third parties, and it relies on word of mouth promotion from existing users.

“Direct selling is unique compared to traditional sales because it relies mainly on endorsements, which requires sincere and serious hard work. It removes intermediaries involved in the distribution chain of the product, such as distribution centers or wholesalers If you are a distributor (i.e. sales representative) working with a direct selling company, the manufacturer gives the products directly to you to sell to the consumer.This builds trust and relationships with people, offering a high level of service and personal attention,” Fall said.

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Many companies and businesses around the world use the template to promote unique products and services in categories such as wellness and nutrition, personal and beauty care, and home care products, among others.

Young people have the potential to become micro-entrepreneurs and develop sales businesses by becoming official promoters of distribution companies.

While highlighting the huge potential of direct selling, Biram said: Africa currently has the largest youth population in the world. This number continues to grow and has resulted in a highly competitive job search environment and limited job opportunities. It is projected that 200 million young people will be added to Africa’s labor force over the coming decades, highlighting the need to create more job opportunities and diversify innovative sources of income for them. The internet and its growth has a positive implication for e-commerce and direct selling and its potential to address Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate.

Agusto &Co, a credit agency, says employment in Nigeria stands at 35% in 2021, and direct selling is contributing to the much-needed diversification of the labor market, offering a bright future for economic growth for young people.