By Ezedi Udom
The World Bank in a 2019 joint research with e-Commerce giant, Alibaba, reaffirmed the huge benefits of e-Commerce as a potent instrument for job creation, improved quality of human life and economic growth in developing countries.
The report titled, ‘E-Commerce Development: Experience from China’, stated that e-Commerce can create jobs directly or through logistics services and other aspects of the wider e-Commerce ecosystem. It added that e-Commerce could improve household consumption, boost rural economies and reduce inequality especially among people in rural communities.
Jumia, the pan-Africa leading e-Commerce platform, exemplifies this assertion over the last eight years of its operation in Nigeria and 10 other African countries; its footprints in employment creation, business sustainability for MSMEs and economic growth have been phenomenal.
Jumia’s consistent investment in physical and network infrastructure and manpower remains a significant contributor to the growth of Nigeria’s economy and that of Africa as a whole by promoting adoption of online shopping, digital payment, logistics and supply value chain as a lifestyle among the people.
In the wake of the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic, Jumia remained the lifeline, keeping alive the soul of many businesses – micro, small and medium enterprises and large corporations by enabling retailers to meet end-to-end demand-supply chains. Its array of innovative solutions namely logistics and supply value chain, marketplace, online payment channel and contactless delivery of essentials to people at home made this possible.
With its established partnerships, QSR and kitchens operators and producers of agricultural produce especially groceries, and manufacturers of essentials like toiletries, sanitary wares, water, beverages, pharmaceuticals and non-essentials like electronics/electrical appliances were able to move their inventories. Manufacturing concerns like Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and several MSMEs and startups didn’t have to completely shut down operations.
By keeping businesses running during COVID-19 lockdown, Jumia helped to preserve jobs for many production workers who would have been laid off in the event of factory shutdown. It also created job opportunities for many Nigerians within its logistics/supply value chain, who worked as last mile delivery agents, drivers and bike riders.
Jumia’s fintech solution, JumiaPay has continued to bolster Federal Government’s cashless and financial inclusion initiatives as more Nigerians now place orders and pay online for goods. Money transfer, airtime recharge/top-up and payments of utility bills are now done seamlessly on JumiaPay platform.
In celebration of its eight years, Jumia has also rolled out incentives to further strengthen national economic growth. Speaking during the annual Sellers’ Conference, which held virtually on Saturday, June 6, 2020, Jumia Nigeria CEO, Spalazzi, urged sellers on the e-Commerce platform to take advantage of the anniversary to boost sales for their businesses during COVID-19 era.
He said, “This is an unprecedented time for a seller to be online. Just to give you a grasp of the milestone achieved by Jumia only in the month of May. We recorded the daily highest number of sellers with at least one sale across the full year; we recorded the daily highest number of buying customers across the full year; we recorded the daily highest number of individual products purchased on the platform since the beginning of the year. What I have listed means that more people are actually coming on the platform at a faster pace than expected and buying all sorts of products and varieties across categories.”
Spalazzi noted that COVID-19 has made e-Commerce a veritable channel to boost businesses and the Jumia anniversary campaign will be a catalyst for sellers to raise the bar of their sales to the next level.
He stated further that the anniversary also provides an opportunity for Jumia to serve the needs of its consumers who want to shop more in complete safety from their homes, by providing them two most important things: best prices and wider assortment. With the theme, “Stronger Together”, the 8th anniversary holding from June 22nd till July 15th, 2020 is one of Jumia’s biggest annual commercial events.
Jumia’s eight years of impact affirms the World Bank’s position on the enormous potential of e-Commerce as a key economic growth driver in Africa. “China’s experience shows that developing countries can harness digital technology and e-Commerce to create jobs and improve people’s lives,” said the World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa
China’s e-Commerce market is one of the largest and fastest growing in the world, accounting for more than 40% of the total value of e-Commerce globally. More than 5% of total employment in China is in e-Commerce, as online purchases have become part of daily life for many Chinese households.
*Ezedi Udom, a Business Communications Expert writes from Lagos*