People have come to celebrate particular birthdays as milestones in their lives. Such people regard first, fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, fortieth, fiftieth etc as milestones when they roll out the big drums. They regard the ‘non-milestone’ commemorations as if they are of less significance than the so-called milestones. Same goes for non-human creations, whose ‘birthdays’ are regarded as anniversaries. Going by these standards, one may think that rolling out the big drums to celebrate Jumia’s eighth year anniversary is a bit exuberant but it is not, and I am going to tell you why.
Prior to 2012, most Nigerians used to hear of people who shop at the comfort of their homes and have their orders delivered to them. They used to be some of those foreign stories, told by the privileged few who have lived overseas, that depicted Nigeria as underdeveloped and ‘local’. Those of our compatriots who live here but could shop abroad were seen as exceptionally sophisticated while the rest of us only wished we could one-day be so privileged.
A few companies that ventured to make this wish come true only fizzled out a couple of years after they commenced operations. The reasons for their unfortunate wind-up are not far from our local business and social environment whose realities are, not only far from business friendly, but also mean to start-ups. Jim Ovia of the Zenith Bank fame once observed that for entrepreneurs to survive in Nigeria, they must have what he called ‘a high adversity quotient,’ the ability to withstand and overcome the impact of the various punches – lack of access to credit, ill-equipped workforce, government interference, developmental challenges etc – that the operating environment throws at them.
For surviving eight years of these punches in Nigeria, nay, growing from strength to strength, excursions to other African countries, is a reason to roll out the big drums for Jumia at eight, at least to celebrate it for thriving where others have failed or are struggling to stand.
Another reason for celebrating Jumia’s eighth year anniversary is the revolution it has brought to the e-commerce sector in Africa in general and Nigeria, in particular. It has demystified and democratised the sophistication that was a privilege for the very few Nigerians as recently as the beginning of this decade. Today, Nigerians, like their counterparts in Europe and America, can sit in the comfort of their homes, order and pay for goods and services and have them delivered to them, without physically visiting the shops.
This revolution did not come by chance. It took the ingenuity and deftness of Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, both ex-McKinsey consultants along with Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Kofi Afaedor to found the company; the focus and discipline of the managers of the business to be able to navigate the various challenges that abound in the operating environment to grow Jumia from a start-up in 2012 to the continent’s first unicorn being valued over one billion dollars (USD1 billion) in 2016.
These people deployed the Blue Ocean strategy to create the e-commerce market, which was non-existent at the time. This strategy helped them to deal with the trust issues that pervaded financial transactions, the communication network challenges, logistics challenges in the country in addition to the basic challenges that come with their core line of business. These successes that the company has recorded in such a short time as eight years are what we are celebrating.
Another big achievement the company has recorded in its few years of operations is the boost it has given to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in its countries of operations in Africa. Jumia offers all manufacturers, distributors and sellers, mostly of whom are MSMEs, a platform to sell their goods and services to their consumers. The company also offers logistics service, which enables the shipment and delivery of packages from sellers to consumers, and a payment service, which facilitates transactions among participants active on Jumia’s platform in selected markets.
Jumia Nigeria alone has over 15,000 active sellers, about 80 percent of whom are MSMEs, offering a wide range of goods including smartphones, consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, home and living, consumer packaged goods, beauty and perfumes etc. The platform saves most of these MSMEs the cost of renting and operating physical stores, thereby increasing their profitability and boosting their growth.
For the consumers, Jumia has been a wish come true. The company has been a trailblazer in the e-commerce sector of the economy, offering the widest variety of products and services at the most competitive prices, and in the most convenient way. One cannot imagine what would have become of Nigerians during the period of the lockdown occasioned by the corona virus disease pandemic. With a general restriction on most economic activities and even on movement, Jumia led a couple of other e-commerce platforms that ensured that the basic needs of consumers were delivered to them as and when needed. This role also ensured that the objectives of the lockdown were achieved to a very large extent.
While many may think that eighth anniversary is not a milestone to be celebrated, Jumia’s eight years of operation have been very eventful, impactful and filled with milestones, not only to the company’s various stakeholders but also to the Nigerian economy, where the ripple effects of its operations have contributed in no small measure to the growth of the economy. This is why the company is being celebrated on the eighth anniversary of its operations.
By Ayomide Oriade
BUA SUGAR REFINERY LATEST: TRADE & INDUSTRIES MINISTER ADEBAYO REVERSES EARLIER DIRECTIVE ON SUGAR IMPORTATION FROM FREE TRADE ZONES INTO NIGERIA
Days after, sending out an earlier letter to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed prohibition the importation of sugar from free trade zones, in Nigeria, the Minister of Trade Industries and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo has backtracked and reversed himself.
Adebayo, acting on a controversial petition written to him by the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote and Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, Mr John Coumatros had written a letter which he copied the Managing Director Nigeria Ports Authority, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation prohibiting the importation of sugar from the country’s Free Trade Zones. This move was targeted at BUA sugar refinery as well as investments.
Recall that BUA Group Chairman, Samad Rabiu had reacted to the petition by revealing that his investments in sugar, especially the Port Harcourt project did not pose any threat to the country’s sugar policy. According to Samad Rabiu, his was project indeed, meant to checkmate arbitrary increase in prices and which will ultimately benefit the ordinary Nigerian on the street.
Curiously, some agencies of the Federal Government especially the NPA, had acted on the Minister’s directive by directing all Terminal operators to ensure strict compliance with the Minister’s order, despite a court injunction refraining not only the Ministry but all government agencies from disturbing it’s operations pending the determination of a suit filed by BUA group.
The move to disrupt BUA’s activities depsite the injunction clearly embarrassed the government, hence Adebayo’s quick reversal of his earlier stance and letter to the Finance Minister directing that the action be stopped.
As for Hadiza Bala Usman who was in a hurry to overlook the court order, she has since been suspended from office as the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority while an Acting CEO has been appointed in person of Mohammed Koko, the erstwhile Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
THE COMPLICITY OF NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER IN CORRUPTION AND BANDITRY IN ZAMFARA STATE
During the 8-year reign of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State , there is hardly a week the state is not in the news for either killings of scores of Zamfarans or kidnapping of them in large numbers. So bad it was during his tenure that the only presence of security is the escort services provided by security agents for workers on Yari’s farm.
It is despicable and rather unfortunate that a man who is battling to clear his name from many allegations of fraud and unprecedented corruption in Zamfara is seen flying around in a Nigerian Airforce Jet.
Mungono’s lackluster performance to rejig the security architecture which has led to breakdown of law and order has portrayed the Presidency in bad light as failing in its duty to provide security and welfare of its citizenry.
The approval of the use of NAF jet by Abdulaziz Yari which allegedly came from the office of the National Security Adviser further lent credence to the claims among Nigerians that the APC-led government is not serious about fighting corruption and insecurity.
Assuming without conceding that Yari facilitated the use of the aircraft on his own, one wonders an emergency situation that would warrant a former governor enjoying such luxury even when the allegations of corrupt enrichment is still hanging on his neck.
The National Security Adviser has yet again confirm the call for his removal over incompetence and that the reason for his call and advise for the declaration for a “No fly Zone” in Zamfara is unprofessional, partisan and may not be to secure the country as he would want people to believe.
By Hamid Shinkafi
Public affair analyst
Rural Resident Expresses Satisfaction On Jumia Service Delivery
At the current pace, there’s no denying the improved fortune of eCommerce in Africa. Even the most ardent doubters of eCommerce viability on the continent will accept that the online shopping business is gaining momentum on the continent, contrary to their forecast and expectations.
Major African markets like Nigeria and Kenya are improving their internet penetration while the number of mobile phone users is rising exponentially. This, in turn, is boosting the online market entrants in urban locations and gradually rubbing off on rural settlements.
As a result, the conversation around eCommerce in a major market like Nigeria has gravitated from doubts on feasibility and acceptance to quality of service delivery, customers expectations and satisfaction. With at least 87 e-commerce platforms in Nigeria, the online shopping community is increasing by the day with innovation and bespoke approaches to address the challenges of the market and meet customers expectations.
In the thick of this, some customers are already having a glimpse of what eCommerce offers at its peak, thanks to the effort of key market players. Iteshi Prince Izuchukwu, a businessman based in Rivers State said he likes shopping online because of the price slash. Based on his experience with several online shopping platforms, he was quick to acknowledge the extra effort of Africa’s market leader on its quality of service delivery. “Things I order include Television, Wristwatches and others. When I buy these items on Jumia, they deliver on time and in good condition,” he stated.
In today’s market where customers demand value for every penny spent, a well thought out packaging that meets the aesthetic taste of the customers can spell a huge impact on the eCommerce business. It can help reduce the volume and cost of return, foster customer loyalty and put the brand in the face of prospects. “I always feel happy when what I ordered is being delivered to me. And as a businessman, I want value for money which I can say I am getting on a platform like Jumia,” Izuchukwu said.
With continuous effort by eCommerce brands to meet customers’ quality, timely and packaging expectations in their service delivery, testimonials like this will go a long way in getting more people onboard the online shopping train.
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