Jumia, Africa’s biggest e-commerce is set to become an equivalent of Amazon on a continent with tremendous opportunities which will see its online population reach 50 per cent by 2025 and its its smartphone owners rise to 360 million.
Jumia already made headlines no less than a week ago by securing a second investment of 225 million euros from Goldman Sachs and historical investors MTN and Rocket Internet. Earlier this month the company had announced a new investor, French insurer Axa which joined the group for an 8 per cent stake and 75 million euros. Africa Internet Group, the umbrella company behind Africa’s biggest e-commerce, Jumia, has thus become the first African Unicorn with a valuation of more than a 1 billion euros.
(TOP: Juliet Anammah and Fatoumata Ba, the team leading Jumia Nigeria).
If Jumia is present in 11 countries in Africa, Nigeria is the country where it all started and is now the flagship both in terms of market size and business performance with up to 135 000 orders in one day during Black Friday 2015.
More fascinating still, its top leadership in Nigeria is 100 per cent female, which is historical in many ways with 2 African women leading an Internet & Retail company with a record valuation and performance. To many extents, this is observed as an outstanding achievement as the entire world is celebrating International Women’s Day.
Juliet Anammah and Fatoumata Ba, albeit coming from different backgrounds, have joined forces to lead Jumia Nigeria towards greatness. Juliet Anammah, comes with more than 15 years’ experience in consulting with leading firm Accenture in Nigeria while Senegalese-born Fatoumata Ba led Nigeria’s largest online retailer earlier on in 2015 after having first founded and successfully grown Jumia in Ivory Coast since 2013.
Interviewed for Women’s Day, both women gave us their vision on gender parity, most particularly in the tech world, and on leading Africa’s first unicorn’s flagship:
“Performance, Passion, People : those are the three words I live by on a daily basis” commented Fatoumata Ba on her leadership style at Jumia Nigeria. Both a performance hacker and natural leader, she lead her teams to the most impressive sales event to date on the continent with up to 2.3 million visits in a single day and 25 times the magnitude of a normal day. A passion for people and results she transmitted to her teams and which will not rest : “For me my greatest achievement is yet to come. Leading Jumia Nigeria is not a destination but a step towards something even bigger as Africa Internet Group is literally shaping the Internet experience on the continent. To all phenomenal women in the workspace, my advice is simple : stand up and stand out !”.
Juliet Anammah imparted us with advice for women : “Show up. 90 per cent of success is showing up. You’ll never have all the answers nor will you slay every dragon on your path but once you show up you’ll find that sometimes obstacles become the way.” Mother of four children, Juliet Anammah has had different struggles and attributes her greatest achievement as raising her children while her biggest challenge remains juggling between “priorities of work, family and [her] community”. An absolute proof, if need be, that this challenge can be overcome by the most willing.
If the leading duo is impressive, it is not the sole example of women leaders at Africa Internet Group which champions gender parity across countries and ventures. Indeed, Jumia has one of the highest proportion of women leaders in Africa and globally, with a whopping 40 per cent women managers, managing directors or CEOs. Jeremy Doutte, CEO Jumia Africa commenting on this figure declared “At Jumia, we nurture one value: “Let the best ideas and people grow”. Diversity is not a goal for Jumia, neither is gender parity. Diversity and gender parity are a reality at Jumia Africa. This has been achieved by letting all talents blossom, and women have benefited from our equal opportunity environment. Jumia has extremely talented women at all levels of the organization, across all countries. Our companies in Kenya and in Nigeria are led and managed by women and they are doing fantastically well. We truly believe this is just the beginning”.
The company has as such promoted various actions to empower women within its walls as well as throughout Nigerian communities.
Jumia joined the International Women’s Day‘s #PledgeforParity campaign to show their commitment to women empowerment. Jumia’s JForce Program is reaching out to disadvantaged women and giving them financial independence: the program now comprises 16,000 women, the majority of which are housewives and stay at home mothers. The program aims at empowering and enriching entrepreneurs-to-be with the full support of an established brand, giving the opportunity to mothers to contribute to the household earnings. Women now represent 34 per cent of the JForce Program.