Jumia collaborated with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), alongside the European Commission and Kantar Public, on a report titled Women and e-commerce in Africa, the first research of its kind in Africa.
Covering entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast, the report found that increasing the number of women selling on online platforms such as Jumia by providing them with training and financial support can lead to more inclusive growth on the continent.
“It is absolutely essential for women to be factored into the future of e-commerce.” said Juliet Anammah, Jumia Group Head of Institutional Affairs. “Africa is at the start of its e-commerce growth trajectory. Now is the time to ensure women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of Africa’s digital journey.”
Jumia is uniquely positioned to support women-owned businesses in Africa to reach consumers online, providing them with the necessary tools, technology and training to operate their businesses online. IFC’s research found that e-commerce supported women entrepreneurs by helping them grow their businesses, enter male-dominated sectors, access training, and achieve personal goals and increased flexibility.
“E-commerce in Africa is thriving, yet we are already seeing a widening gender gap in the sector. IFC’s report not only highlights the gap, but also shows how it might be addressed so that women entrepreneurs can succeed in this important and rapidly growing marketplace,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa
On the Jumia platform, over a third of businesses in Côte d’Ivoire and over 50% in Kenya and Nigeria are owned by women. The company aims to further drive the penetration of women-owned businesses across all countries where it operates. E-commerce is particularly attractive for women because it gives women the unique opportunity to sell to consumers in an environment without any of the gender related biases that may exist in physical markets
“Initially it was hard to get physical retailers to take my hair products on board, but joining Jumia was simple and after registering with them I immediately had direct access to thousands of customers.” says Wacu Mureithi Founder of Mosara Ltd (Natural hair products) in Kenya.
Beyond providing them with a digital route to market, Jumia aims to further support women-owned businesses by helping them access credit to fund the growth of their ventures. Historically women have taken less advantage of emerging fintech offerings such as in-platform loans compared to their male counterparts, a situation that Jumia intends to change by raising awareness on financial services and credit with women sellers.
“Through the loans received from the Jumia lending program, my business has grown bigger with time.” said Jumoke Akinsanya, founder of an online store in Lagos, Nigeria, Deeski.com. “We started with two staff members and a smaller warehouse. Now we have a bigger warehouse and fourteen staff members.”
Supporting women entrepreneurs has taken on renewed urgency since the outbreak of COVID-19. In the first year of the pandemic, women-owned businesses in the three countries studied in the report experienced a 7% drop in sales, while male owned businesses recorded a 7% rise in sales. Targeted support initiatives towards women are key to addressing this inequality and ensuring inclusive economic recovery.