Jumia : The “Amazon” of Africa

jumia the amazon of Africa

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 company that in Africa is rivalling online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba is is gaining traction in an up and coming market. The presence of an organization such as Jumia in Africa has shown that the tech industry in Africa  is on the rise.

Jumia is not a multi –billion Dollar Company as the aforementioned companies but being the first company of its kind in Africa gives it the opportunity to gain more traction on the continent. 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). 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, customers always have somewhere to go to directly in case discrepancies occur where they can get 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 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 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 is focused on helping to improve the lives of Africans continent wide by using technological advances to provide online services that are affordable.. So should Jumia’s ‘Africanness’ be 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 as it continues to grow because a corporation of such magnitude having such a presence in Africa is having decent social impact as it shows that tech companies can thrive on the continent.

Jumia has also 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 goneon 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 into the tech industry.

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

Featured image | Jumia logo | wikimedia commons 

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

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