Jumia : The "Amazon" of Africa

Jumia logo |  wikimedia commons

Jumia logo | wikimedia commons

Nigerian based online retail company Jumia has caught the eye of many tech enthusiasts since its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April of this year. The A company that in Africa is rivalling that of online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba is quite eye catching as i gaining traction in an up and coming market such as the African continent. The presence of an organization such as Jumia in Africa has shown that the tech industry in Africa  is on the rise. in Africa.

Jumia is not a multi –billion Dollar Company compared to the likes of Amazon, but being the first company of its kind in Africa gives it the Jumia the opportunity to gain more traction on the continent as the company is based in Africa. Alibaba has serviced 4.2 million customers since operating in the continent, while Jumia in just 7 years of existence has serviced 4.3 million customers in the 14 countries that they operate in(Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda). For example Jumia offers customers to pay for items on delivery, a service that Amazon and Alibaba do not offer. And because Jumia has an office in each of the countries that they operate,  in customers can always have somewhere to directly go just in case and discrepancies occur where and they can get help first hand help. Services such as this,  will help Jumia rise to the next level as it will be one of a kind in a market that is emerging and on the rise.

However, there has been some criticism surrounding Jumia as being an Authentic African based start-up as its founders and CEO’s are white French men, and when the company was listed on the NYSE, it was filed as a German company, and being listed as a German company means that taxes being paid by this company are being paid in Germany rather than in the countries in which the business operates. This caused many people to question if Jumia is really an African corporation because in this instance that taxes that should be circulating in the operating countries’ economies to benefit the overall well-being of these nations are being sent back to Europe. Nevertheless, Jumia’s ispurpose is focused on helping to improve the liveslife of Africans continent wide by using technological advances to provide online services that are affordable. and the company is doing this as an African centered initiative.

So should Jumia’s ‘Africanness’ being a cause of concern since its desire is to benefit the continent?  Jumia is still a fairly new business and one  hopes that the issues that it is having now can be resolves worked out as it continues to grow because a corporation of such magnitude having such a presence in Africa is having a decent social impact as it shows that tech companies can thrive on the continent.

Jumia has also been a spark as it has influenced many other individuals to open their own start-up companies or hold senior positions at a new employer. Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi who is an ex-Jumia employee made a list of Jumia’s first 50 employees and what they have been able to accomplish since they decided to move on from Jumia. Many of them are now holding senior positions at their new employer; while some have gone went on to open their own start-ups such as Evans Akanno who started his business Cregital. Evans was a brand marketing specialist for 10 months at Jumia and stated that his time there helped him to understand how to create functional designs that translate into profit. So the presence of Jumia on the continent is inspiring many Africans to venture embark into the tech industry.

Jumia has been called the Amazon of Africa. Hopefully as the years go byon and the company is able to advance its services and fix the issues that that it has been criticized for,of it can reach the level of an Amazon so that both companies can be mentioned in the same light.


 The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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