We have good news ahead but first: What’s happening at Jumia? While industry insiders try to piece together a cohesive narrative on the shutdown of their Cameroon business, Jumia group has announced its exit from Tanzania. In a statement to TechCabal, the company said leaving Tanzania is “part of ongoing portfolio optimization efforts.”
As Abubakar explains in his report, leaving Cameroon probably makes sense for Jumia given the relatively small market for e-commerce due to a political crisis. But Tanzania? John Magufuli’s economy is in decent health and nearly 4 in 10 have access to the internet in the east African country. Is this latest Jumia closure simply a move to hasten profitability – to stem a tide of losses, or should the remaining 12 offices brace for more shocks?
Anti-business hostility on the streets of Lagos? Earlier in the week, we reported on the varying brands of shakedowns by Lagos state motorcycle and road transport unions against bike-hailing companies. In the last 24 hours, we have been monitoring disturbing developments that appear to flow from the unions’ insistence on dominating any relationship between the parties. We cannot confirm any incidents at the moment but we know the union believes hostility is a way to respond to the bike-hailing companies’ push to professionalize the okada industry. Be sure to check in for potential updates as soon as we verify.
Now, for good news. This week, Google hosted its first Google Startup Week in Lagos. At the event, graduates of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa from across Africa pitched for funding from some of Africa & the UK’s top venture capitalists. Also, members of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa class 4 graduated from the program. Some alumni from the first three classes have completed a three-month Google for Startups UK Africa Immersion Programme in London. It was designed to bring the best of Google and the London startup ecosystem to tech companies from Africa.
In payments-commerce news, Copia Global, a Kenya-based mobile commerce startup, has raised $26 million in a series B round, Quartz reports. Founded in 2013, the company says it is the first and only e-commerce firm dedicated to rural Africans who have no smartphones or regular internet, but have need of ecommerce. Copia says it has served over 180,000 customers, fulfilling 3 million orders with the help of 5000 agents.