Jumia may be considered to be Africa’s fastest growing e-commerce retailer with operations in Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco – and Zando – #1 fashion retailer online in South Africa – announced today an investment by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The investor will take a stake through a German holding company in an all cash-for-equity investment.
Jumia was launched in spring 2012 and offers a wide range of general merchandise categories such as fashion apparel, shoes, electronics, mobile phones, books, toys, beauty products and many more categories. The company currently operates in Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco, with plan to expand in additional countries in the coming months. Company was launched with the support of Rocket Internet – the European incubator of internet start-ups.
“This investment is a real turning point for Jumia, and e-commerce in Nigeria” said Jumia cofounders and joint-CEO’s Tunde Kehinde & Raphael Afaedor. “With this investment, we will strengthen our current footprint, offering our customers more brands, more categories and more services as well as improving operations; we are among the pioneers of e-commerce in Nigeria and this investment confirms that Nigeria will become a very large market in the very
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Portfolio Manager Robert Cousin, who worked on the deal from New York, confirmed the transaction, saying, “We are excited to partner with Jumia and Zando as the companies continue to expand their e-commerce presence in Africa.”
According to Raphael Afaedor, since the Jumia (then Sabunta and Kasuwa) launch in June 2012, the company generated over 100 new jobs into the Nigerian economy, employing some of the best foreign and locally trained Nigerians. Where there is a skill shortage, for example in online marketing, our approach is to bring in a foreign expert, to teach local talent, thereby creating new skills into the economy, and creating a talented and sustainable base of talented Nigerian employees.
The recent investment by JP Morgan Asset Management may be seen as an endorsement of the quality of the Jumia team and strategy as well as the potential of the Nigerian consumer. Nonetheless, a few may still sit on the side lines, and others just indifferent. We’d be watching.
[image via Flickr/ kenteegardin]