Jumia, Africa’s Amazon

Raphael Afaedor and Tunde Kehinde, are building what may become the largest payment processor and logistics company in Nigeria. Their company, Jumia, is aiming to be Africa’s Amazon.

Jumia and rival Konga.com, offer a range of products from t-shirts to TVs, delivered directly to the door of Nigerians. They accept payment on delivery and offer free returns. Trust can be an issue for any online merchant, especially one in a country known for online scams.

Kehinde has emphasized it’s important that Nigerians know about the benefits of secure online shopping. A direct sales team of nearly 200 works in Lagos and Port Harcourt introducing the Jumia marketplace to customers and addressing security concerns.

This holiday season, Jumia expects revenues to increase over 40%. The retailer is investing in its own fleet of motor vehicles for deliveries and mobile payments are also expected to become increasingly important, particularly for big ticket items.

Running an online retailer and delivering by motor bike, Jumia’s Harvard educated founders straddle two worlds. One where high tech e-commerce is changing the way customers shop and another where the informal economy is often more trusted. Nigerian’s who have lived or traveled abroad are open to online shopping. But many still worry that online retailers are little more than a scam.

The retailer that can overcome this challenge will tap a virtual gold mine. Accenture predicts that by 2020, consumer demand in Sub-Saharan Africa will be nearly $1 trillion per year. Already operating in Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Kenya, and South Africa, Jumia appears on course for the mother load.