Facebook has announced the launch of its Marketplace service (described as "a convenient destination where people can discover, buy and sell items from others in their local communities") to 37 countries and territories in sub-Saharan Africa.
It was already available in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Now the list has expanded to include Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe.
Commenting on the launch, Facebook Director of Public Policy Africa Kojo Boakye referred to its relevance in the light of recent events, saying, “As the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to impact people and businesses, the expansion of Marketplace will provide more people with a convenient destination where they can discover new products, shop for things they want, or find buyers for the things they want to sell.”
To discover things on Facebook Marketplace, people can look for the Marketplace icon in the Facebook app or visit the relevant page online, where they will be able to browse listings that interest them and filter them by distance or category. They can also use the search box to find exactly what they are looking for.
There is also a shopping safety service offering advice on potentially hazardous areas like buying and selling responsibly, avoiding scams, choosing a preferred payment method and meeting someone in person to buy or sell.