Deception exposed: How Jumia lied to Africans

Jumia online shop

Jumia has been recognized as one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in Africa. During its years of “grace,” Jumia was boastfully identified as the “Amazon of Africa.” The company became the first African startup to appear on the New Your Stock Exchange listing. However, a lot was hidden in what seemed like the remarkable success of an African e-commerce firm. Here are three ways Jumia lied to Africans.

Jumia‘s origin: Africa?

From its establishment in 2012, Jumia has worked tirelessly to create the perception of being an African brand. For instance, Jumia actively promotes African culture and diversity through its marketing campaigns. The online retailer strives to highlight local customs, traditions, and products.

But how is this perception critical to the continued growth of a company with active operations in over 11 countries across Africa?

First, by marketing itself as an “African brand,” Jumia has been able to build a sense of trust and familiarity with its African customers. By featuring African artisans and sellers, Jumia emphasized its support for local communities, businesses, and culture.

Claiming an African identity also helps Jumia to establish a strong connection to the continent. In this way, many people have been misled into thinking that Jumia is an African company. The truth, however, is that Jumia is a German company with headquarters in Berlin.

In short, this is how Jumia lied to Africans: It conveniently co-opted an African identity to extract value and profit from the continent.

Jumia’s top leadership: Africans?

Jumia was founded by French nationals and has never had Africans at the apex of its leadership.

The truth is that the people at the top are definitely not African in any shape or form

Akua Nyame-Mensah, a former managing director of Jumia Classifieds in Ghana and Nigeria.

Even in Nigeria where the e-shop began before the company spread to at least 14 other African countries, Jumia’s top leadership comprised Westerners. Africans often hold low-level leadership positions at Jumia.

Some of the Westerners in the company’s high ranks are entirely new to Africa. At some point, the company’s senior leadership operated from Dubai, UAE, while the Technology and Product Team was in Porto, Portugal.

Mr. Poignonnec, a former CEO of Jumia, once claimed Africa lacks the manpower for Jumia’s development and engineering needs.

Jumia’s products: Counterfeit?

Talking about the company’s origin and top leadership? That’s not all. There is more into how Jumia lied to Africans about its offerings.

Jumia claims to deal in genuine-only products. The company says it actively implements restrictions against “forbidden products.” According to Jumia’s counterfeit policy, vendors who list counterfeit products on the Jumia website are penalized:

  • KSH 20,000 fine for selling counterfeit products
  • Delisting of vendors that repeatedly list counterfeit products on three occasions.

However, fake products are everywhere on the retailer’s online marketplace. It is clear the company does not implement anti-counterfeit policies as it claims. Some have even doubted whether Jumia evaluates vendors or assesses listings for genuineness.

Is Jumia paying the ultimate price?

Jumia’s deceitful practices have taken a toll on the company, leading to a rapid erosion of public trust. The company’s client base is significantly declining as many online shoppers shit to alternatives like Jiji.

Please, share your experiences with Jumia

Denish Aloo

I'm a tech enthusiast with a deep-rooted passion for digital technology and an interest in entrepreneurship. I see endless business opportunities in the modern digital revolution.

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