Interview: Jumia Africa’s Kene Okafo for TechCrunch.TechCrunch recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kene Okafo, the CEO of Jumia Africa. Jumia is the leading e-commerce platform in Africa, and has revolutionized the way people shop online in the continent. Kene spoke to us about the journey of Jumia, and the challenges and opportunities that the African e-commerce market presents.
Jumia’s Start and Early Days
Kene began by telling us about the company’s humble beginnings in 2012. “We started out with a very simple idea – to make it easier for Africans to shop online. We wanted to make the process of buying and selling goods as smooth and efficient as possible.”
At the time, e-commerce in Africa was still in its infancy. “The infrastructure was not in place, and there were very few people using the internet for shopping. We knew that we had to provide a service that was superior to what was available in the market.”
The company quickly grew, and by 2014 it had expanded to 11 countries in Africa. “We had to build our own infrastructure in order to deliver a seamless experience to our customers. We invested heavily in technology, logistics, and customer service. This enabled us to offer a superior service to our customers.”
When asked about the challenges they faced, Kene said “The biggest challenge was the lack of trust in e-commerce. People were used to traditional methods of shopping, and they were hesitant to try something new. We had to educate our customers and build trust in order to get them to use our services.”
The company also faced logistical challenges. “We had to build our own logistics network in order to ensure that goods were delivered to customers in a timely manner. This was a huge undertaking, but we knew that it was essential for our success.”
Opportunities in the African Market
Kene told us that he believes that there are huge opportunities for growth in the African market. “There is a huge potential for growth in the e-commerce market, as more and more people are gaining access to the internet.”
He also noted that there is a lot of potential for innovation. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our services and make the shopping experience better for our customers. We are also exploring new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, to enhance our offerings.”
It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Kene Okafo, the CEO of Jumia Africa, about the journey of the company and the opportunities and challenges that the African e-commerce market presents. It is clear that Jumia is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth of the African e-commerce market, and we look forward to seeing the company continue to innovate and grow.
Q: What inspired Jumia to start its operations?
A: Jumia was inspired by the idea of making it easier for Africans to shop online. The company wanted to provide a superior service to its customers, and invested heavily in technology, logistics, and customer service.
Q: What challenges did Jumia face when it started out?
A: The biggest challenge was the lack of trust in e-commerce. The company had to educate its customers and build trust in order to get them to use its services. Additionally, Jumia also faced logistical challenges, as it had to build its own logistics network in order to ensure timely delivery of goods.
Q: What opportunities does the African market present?
A: There is a huge potential for growth in the e-commerce market, as more and more people are gaining access to the internet. Additionally, there are also opportunities for innovation, as Jumia is exploring new technologies to enhance its offerings.