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Jumia reels out expansion plans to dominate e-Commerce Market in 2024

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Nigeria’s e-commerce scene is ever-growing, projected to reach $22 billion by 2024. But this digital revolution isn’t confined to bustling metropolises; it’s quietly transforming the lives of millions of consumers in secondary cities and rural areas. At the forefront of this rural e-commerce push is Jumia, Africa’s leading online marketplace. By strategically expanding beyond the bright lights of Lagos and Abuja, Jumia is connecting previously underserved communities with the vast array of goods and services available online, bridging the retail gap and empowering rural Nigerians like never before.

Prior to the creation of companies like Jumia that made it possible for consumers to shop without geographical restrictions, purchases of several commodities required lengthy trips, increased costs and risks that accompanied traversing unsafe roads. E-commerce has grown over the past decade with the increased penetration of smartphones and the internet. As of 2020, GSMA reported a mobile subscriber count of 173 million in Nigeria, indicating an 85% penetration rate. The prevalent use of smartphones enables consumers to conveniently access e-commerce platforms and make purchases from anywhere in the world.

Recognising the growing number of rural Nigerians with internet access, the company embarked on a strategic expansion into secondary cities and rural areas. This involved establishing logistical networks, partnering with local agents and businesses, and tailoring product offerings to cater to the specific needs of rural communities. Jumia launched the JForce programme — a grassroots initiative launched by Jumia to take e-commerce to secondary cities within Nigeria  — to meet this need. Under the aegis of the JForce programme, Jumia has established efficient delivery infrastructure, including partnerships with local logistics service providers and leveraging community pick-up stations, reaching even the most remote villages.

Modifying existing strategies, Jumia combined online and offline operations to cater to both those who have access to the internet and those who don’t. Through this tactic, the company has taken e-commerce to hundreds of Nigerians in rural communities, where digital literacy is limited.

Leveraging the age-long art of marketing by mouth, Jumia, through its JForce initiative has bridged the digital divide in rural communities and increased accessibility to e-commerce. JForce adopts a very communal model – local sales representatives who are tech-savvy give community members who lack access to smartphones or are digitally illiterate access to product catalogues on the Jumia Marketplace platform and place orders on their behalf. Strengthening the pillars of JForce, Jumia simultaneously established more than 250 pickup stations and collaborated with reliable logistic partners to fast-track product deliveries to secondary cities and rural areas. The deliberate positioning of these pick-up stations in diverse towns guarantees accessibility to even the most remote corners of Nigeria, thereby enabling customers in rural areas to overcome geographical limitations and access various products. This initiative has been a vital way to enable many rural communities to leapfrog economic and geographical barriers, stimulating growth and development with target communities and the e-commerce sector.

But the communities are not the only beneficiaries. Through JForce, Jumia works with local entrepreneurs, training them as agents to facilitate online purchases and deliveries, creating jobs and fostering economic growth within the communities. To date, Jumia has over 35,000 active JForce agents who earn a living through commissions earned from introducing consumers to shop online.

…Transforming lives, one click at a time

Jumia’s impact in rural Nigeria is undeniable. Families can order essential items directly to their doorstep, saving them time and money. Jumia’s “E-Commerce in Rural Areas in Nigeria” report highlights these positive changes. It reveals a significant rise in online purchases from rural areas, with a growing demand for smartphones, home appliances, and fashion items. The report also showcases the positive impact on rural entrepreneurs, with many Jumia agents reporting increased income and business opportunities.

…Challenges and the Road Ahead

Despite the success, challenges remain. Limited internet connectivity and digital literacy in some rural areas can hinder adoption. Additionally, reliable electricity supply and efficient payment systems are crucial for sustained growth.

Jumia is actively addressing these challenges. Last year, the company partnered with Starlink, a satellite internet service, to retail the Starlink Residential Kit in Nigeria to bridge the digital divide by delivering Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet to previously underserved regions.

In the third quarter of 2023, Jumia experienced significant growth in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) for physical goods across five countries, a surge that can be partially credited to its intensified expansion into rural areas and secondary cities. With the recent appointment of a new CEO in Nigeria, the company’s focus is on driving expansion initiatives across the country, aiming to replicate the successes observed in those five countries. Doubling down on this expansion strategy, Jumia aims to broaden its reach, linking more consumers to the e-commerce sphere, extending beyond the confines of major cities and into previously untapped regions within the country.

With pillars for growth and expansion solidly set in place in 2023, it is left to be imagined what the e-commerce leader will achieve this year.

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Tinubu, UNFPA launch 2024 SWOP report in Abuja

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President Bola Tinubu, alongside the Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Wednesday, launched the 2024 regional State of World Population (SWOP) Report.

During the report launch, which has “Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” as theme, Tinubu was represented by Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare.

Tinubu said “the theme comes with a narrative that reminds us that, globally we are composed of eight billion threads of hope, eight billion people interwoven with each of the threads being very unique.

“It is of note that Nigeria is among the eight identified countries to account for more than half of the projected increase in the world population up to 2050.

“The other countries are Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.”

He, however, said that meeting the aspirations and hopes of the unique members of these interwoven threads, who are mostly women, girls and young people, places a great demand and a sense of duty on government to keep that hope alive.

“In addition, for each of the threads to be recognised and be relevant, there is need to sustainably invest in generating quality, well-disaggregated data that will help in ensuring none of the threads is un-woven.

“The regional inauguration of the 2024 SWOP report in Nigeria and the presence of the UNFPA Executive Director is a reminder that Nigeria should prioritise data generation to provide the baseline and showcase progress toward the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“One of such data generation exercise is the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census within the 2020 round of Population and Housing census (2015-2024).

“We are consulting and working closely with the National Population Commission (NPC) to get this exercise right. We count on the support of UNFPA and other partners to get it right.”

In her address, Kanem said that the report presents important data that shows that in many countries, inequalities in such key measures as access to healthcare have been reduced.

She added that in other places, however, disparities are actually widening, and inequalities still persist everywhere.

“The report indicates that since global measurements have been kept, two countries – India and Nigeria – have recorded the highest number of maternal deaths.

“The remarkable reduction in the number of women worldwide dying in childbirth, 34 per cent since 2000 is largely attributable to progress in those two countries.

“Nigeria’s achievement in reducing maternal death rate by more than 11 per cent between 2013 and 2018 must be applauded.”

The UNFPA boss also said there had been advances in combatting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and harmful practices in Nigeria, with a 10 per cent drop in number of adolescents subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the past decade.

She also said that politically, there had been progress as the proportion of women serving in parliaments more than doubled globally.

In spite of the gains, however, she said, progress was slowing, while by many measures it has stalled completely.

She noted that since 2016, the world made zero progress in saving women from preventable deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

She explained that “one important reason, our report shows, is that we have not prioritised reaching those furthest behind.

“We see, for example, that barriers to healthcare fell fastest for women who are more affluent, educated and privileged.

“Many of these findings are the result of having better data than ever before. Thirty years ago, maternal mortality rates were only rough estimates.

“Today, data allows us to see clearly the unacceptable rates at which women are dying while giving life; data also shows the inequalities that are quite literally killing them.”

On Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Nigeria, she said that in spite of the progress recorded, it still remained high at over 1,047 per 100,000 live births.

Kanem, however, pledged UNFPA’s support for the country to change that statistic.

The Chairman, National Population Commission, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, said that the theme of the report aptly amplifies issues that matter most beyond the numbers, emphasising the people that make up the numbers.

He requested that the UNFPA should relentlessly advocate for the conduct of the next census; support in the implementation of ideas and interventions to address key issues raised in the 2024 SWOP.

He said the implementation of the National Population Policy captured the commitments made in Nairobi (2019).

They include sexual and reproductive health, particularly of adolescent girls including prioritising family planning and keeping girls in school.

He said that the implementation would in turn, enable Nigeria manage its population, achieve the required shift in population age-structure for a Demographic Dividend (DD) to occur, as well as in the implementation of the DD Roadmap.

In a goodwill message, Sen.  Mustapha Musa, Senate Committee Chairman on National Identity and  Population, said the legislature deems the issue of population and development important.

“Particularly as it relates to the well-being of women, young people and girls, which connects with addressing the existing inequalities and ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights receive the deserved attention.

“I reiterate that the committee I chair will ensure that issues arising from the report will be given due attention.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SWOP is UNFPA’s annual flagship report that features trends in the world population and reports on emerging themes in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It brings them into the mainstream and explores the challenges and opportunities they present for international development.

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FG hails World Bank’s support to PWDs

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The Federal Government has commended the World Bank for providing technical and financial support to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Dr James Lalu, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, during a virtual meeting with officials of World Bank.
The meeting was convened to strengthen implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 10 and 17 for disability inclusion in Nigeria.
Lalu draw the attention of stakeholders to the need to redesign policies and programmes of the commission to conform with the global standard.
”We need policies redesign in the area of social protection programmes because World Bank has the capacity to stimulate disability inclusion and development programme” he said.
The Executive Secretary expressed commitment to improve the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.
Also speaking, Cindy Ikeaka, a World Bank Social Development Specialist said, the bank will continue to provide technical support to the commission to ensure effective delivery of the needs of PWDs.
Ikeaka also said that the bank was working with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to ensure disability data collection.
”This will ensure proper data management of persons with disabilities ” she said.
On her part, Esther Bature, the Country Coordinator of Sightsavers in Nigeria said, her organisation will continue to strengthen national systems to deliver sustainable services.
”We supported NCPWD to develop a five-year national strategic plan and this plan requires different levels of intervention.
”We are happy to see that the World Bank has supported the commission to a kind of review to include monitoring and evaluation in the plan as well as developed several developments documents,” she said.Batur
Nature also thanked the World Bank for its assistance in building the capacity of the commission’s members of staff.
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IPMAN gives Soludo 1 month to address marketers’ grievances

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has given Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra one month within which to address the demands of marketers in the state or face total shutdown of operations without further notice.

Marketers in the state reached this decision at the end of the statewide meeting held in Awka on Tuesday.

Mr Chinedu Anyaso, Chairman of IPMAN Enugu Depot Community, in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, who addressed Journalists after the meeting, said the association had reported cases affecting its members to the governor without any response.

Anyaso said the grievances of marketers in Anambra included the issue of consolidated revenue payable and withdrawal of all litigations against members based on multiple taxation which was not in line with the understanding IPMAN had with the Anambra government.

He said IPMAN discussed the problem of non-payment of debt amounting to about N900 million owed contractors who supplied diesel for powering streetlight projects in the state.

Anyaso also said that among the demands of the association was the demolition of part of the property of Chris Tee Nigeria limited, a marketer at Trans-Nkissi phase 1 along Onitsha-Otuocha road which was destroyed by agents of government.

He said IPMAN would not issue further notice upon the expiration of the deadline before shutting their outlets.

Anyaso thanked Chief Ken Maduako, a patron of the association, Mr Golden Iloh, member of the Anambra State House of Assembly and representative of the Anambra Internal Revenue Service, for their intervention and hoped that the Soludo administration would act on their plea to prevent the looming industrial action.

He commended Gov. Soludo for his efforts to make Anambra a peaceful and liveable state while urging him to make the business environment conducive for investors, especially oil marketers.

He pledged positive disposition of the association to continue to support his administration to succeed.

The chairman commended marketers for complying fully with the partial shutdown and attendance to the meeting, saying it was a great show of comradeship.

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