Amazon is continuing with its plans to launch marketplace and Amazon Prime services in South Africa this year despite cost-cutting at the company.
Last year, reports surfaced that Amazon was planning to launch a marketplace in South Africa in February 2023.
Codenamed “Project Fela”, the project includes its own marketplace in the country and plans to launch its “Fulfillment by Amazon” service for third-party sellers.
Amazon’s Prime membership programme will also reportedly be available to South Africans shortly after launch.
A launch in Nigeria would have reportedly followed shortly after South Africa in April 2023 under the same project codename.
However, doubt over the local Amazon.com launch emerged after it started to cut costs amidst weakening economic conditions.
Last week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced that the company is laying off more than 18,000 employees as part of its annual planning process.
“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” Jassy said.
“These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”
With Amazon bracing for a downturn, many stakeholders questioned whether Project Fela would continue as initially envisaged.
The good news for South Africans is that Amazon.com is continuing with its plans to launch a marketplace in the country.
A source close to the project said Amazon has paused its Nigerian rollout but is continuing with its South African plans.
Amazon has not officially commented on its South African plans, but there has been a lot of activity around the project.
The eCommerce giant has secured warehouse space in South Africa and is working with local courier companies and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers.
The Amazon.co.za domain even appeared in the country drop-down lost on the Amazon.com website
Amazon is also hiring people to launch its marketplace in the country. Last year it advertised numerous positions, including managerial positions relating to its “ZA marketplace”.