Africa’s fastest-growing e-commerce retailer Jumia has caused some pleasant shock in the mushrooming tech industry on the continent with the listing of its shares on the New York Stock exchange earlier today – Friday April 12, 2019.
Jumia’s shares started trading at $14.50 each in what the company’s Chief Executive Officer Sacha Poignonnec says is the company’s bid to raise about $200 million.
Jumia is the first African-based technology start-up to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
The so-called “Africa’s Amazon” was founded in Lagos, Nigeria by two French entrepreneurs in 2012 and now offers services to customers in 14 African countries including Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Jumia’s listing has been described as a landmark step forward for technology-based start-ups as it promises to create some competition to global multinationals such as Amazon.
Erik Hersman, chief executive of Nairobi-based internet and software firm BRCK was quoted by the BBC for having hailed Jumia’s stock listing as a watershed moment and as an indicator that raising capital from complex markets such as the NYSE is possible.
“It’s an important event in the evolution of the African tech scene,” Hersman told the BBC
The website sells everything from electronics to clothes, and there is a hotel and flight booking site, and a takeaway food delivery platform. In Kenya, Jumia has teamed up with French supermarket giant Carrefour to offer online deliveries.
The BBC’s Africa Business Editor, Larry Madowo, said that Jumia was not yet profitable and had accumulated losses of nearly $1bn since it was founded.
Whereas global brands such as Amazon have faced difficulties such as absence of credit cards, Jumia has navigated this challenge by accepting mobile money.