Connecting the continents through e-commerce

By Muneerah Bee

In today’s borderless digital economy, retailers and merchants in Asia should not rule out the possibility of looking to Africa as e-commerce on the continent is growing, according to Juliet Anammah, CEO of Jumia Nigeria. The Jumia Group currently has e-commerce operations in 14 African countries, serving 1.2 billion consumers with more than five million products, hotels, restaurants and other services listed on its platforms.

Speaking to Retail Asia on the sidelines of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) this year, Anammah suggested retailers can leverage on partnership to enter the African market. “If a retailer in Asia has access to various products within a specific product category, [they] can partner with e-commerce platforms such as Jumia to make those products available in Africa. [They] can also partner in terms of either consignment or direct shipment.” For example, there are Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that retails their products on Jumia through these options.

She shared that e-commerce is about 2% of total retail in Africa today and cited several factors behind the tremendous growth. Firstly, there is a huge and relatively young population with a hunger to access goods and services in a continent where there are multiple barriers (such as roads and infrastructure) that make it difficult for people to reach them.

“It is also growing on the back of the fact that we have people who are accessing the Internet through the mobile phone. With the advent of smartphones, it makes it easier for people to be able to access mobile apps to shop on Jumia,” she explained.

While there are no plans for Jumia to enter the Asian market, Anammah foresees the possibility of having more global consumers by opening up the portals to international credit card payments in future.

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