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How to Ship Computer Technology Equipment to Africa

By Wayan Vota on February 1, 2010

If you want to send computers or other technology hardware to Africa, how do you do it? You can’t just walk down the to Post Office and put a stamp on the outside of the computer box and mail it to Nigeria. Okay, so you could, but you’d have many problems.

First, your package might make it to a regional post office in the country, but it would take ages and when it arrived, the recipient would have to pay whatever customs and duties the local postmaster thought was due on the equipment. That might work for a random present, but isn’t the best way to ship equipment to Africa.

At Inveneo, we’ve learned the hard way that getting information and communication technology equipment to different countries in Africa can be a challenge, but there is a method to the freight forwarder madness. By using tools like a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction, in addition to the Commercial Invoice, and requiring a Form M for Nigerian shipments, we’ve made the shipment of technology equipment to Africa an easy process.

And we’ve even made a video to explain the process:

Like Glenn Stewart and Colm Pelow say, the equipment goes via air freight, riding in the same planes that haul people from the USA to Africa. But unlike your luggage, air freight cargo doesn’t get delivered to the Arrivals baggage claim at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It goes to the customs clearinghouse for review and import duty payment. From there, a local shipping agent can retrieve your equipment and have it delivered to the implementation site.

But why worry about all this hassle? Work with an Inveneo Certified ICT Partner, and focus on your implementation, not equipment importation.

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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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