Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technology, Bruno Kone, has paid a visit to the offices of ecommerce firm Jumia in Abidjan for insights into the e-commerce arena. The company, founded in June 2013, is behind the first ecommerce website in Côte d’Ivoire and as such, has become an example in the popularization and use of New Information and Communication Technologies.
The Minister was warmly welcomed by the company’s management committee. Francis Dufay, Managing Director of Jumia Côte d’Ivoire wore the guide’s cap during the whole visit, leading the Ministry’s delegation and the journalists through the two large offices as well as the distribution warehouse that constitute the premises of the e-tailer on a location shared with MTN.
The Minister and his delegation were able to immerse in the world of Jumia and its 350 employees, with a strong youth index boasted by the company. The average age at Jumia is 26 years. This young workforce is largely composed of young men and women recruited at graduation and trained at entirely new skills and jobs, essential to e-commerce. Also, the visit was the occasion for the Minister to simulate his first order on the online boutique. Assisted by a customer support supervisor, the Minister ordered an African print fabric from Uniwax, which was delivered to his surprise, right outside of the warehouse.
Following the hour-long immersion, the assembly took part in a press conference during which Francis Dufay and Côme Chevignard, Head of operations presented JUMIA and exposed the stakes of electronic commerce in Côte d’Ivoire. The e-tailer has three clear objectives: to develop a generation of leaders in e-commerce, to make Côte d’Ivoire a regional hub of e-commerce and finally to develop innovative services for customers and vendors. JUMIA offers Ivorian traders new opportunities, an innovative channel above geographical constraints to sell their products everywhere in the country. By doing so, the online supermarket irrevocably creates the conditions for a more competitive market resulting in price reductions and thus contributes to the fight against dear life. The explosive growth of the young company, which started in June 2013 with 12 employees and some 20 orders per day is palpable. Two years later, JUMIA directly employs 350 people who contribute to satisfy more than 1,000 orders daily for the 500,000 monthly visitors of the website.
Although some hindrances linked notably to the deficiencies of the local logistics players and the slow Internet penetration have been stated, Mister Bruno Kone, said he was “satisfied”. For him, “the activity of Jumia is in line with the government’s vision” to allow people across the country to enjoy the same facilities as the population in the capital city of Abidjan. Allowing a Northerner to acquire under the same conditions, the same phone that a resident who is in Abidjan. Thus, beyond its commercial dimension, e-commerce has a greater mission of facilitation of the lives and living conditions of populations. This is why, the government’s role is to accompany the private sector by contributing to the reduction of the digital divide in parallel to the reduction of the geographical divide to which Jumia is already contributing effectively.
The Minister noted that change is inevitable. He said the desire of the government was that more and more Ivorians adopt electronic commerce.