The web startups looking to cash in on 1 billion African consumers (Photos)


It is a cliched image. Passengers lined up at the check-in desk for various flights back to African capitals, trolleys overloaded and suitcases straining at the weight limit.

It reflects a reality of tough customs and import regimes, complex markets and challenging distribution networks that often leave only the lucky few with the means to travel to Europe, the US, the Gulf or other destinations where they are able to buy – and take home – the consumer goods they need or want.

But this is beginning to change. The continent’s potential customer base of more than 1 billion, combined with an emerging middle class, has attracted investors to African retail.

While the vast majority of trade still occurs through informal transactions in corner shops, and to a lesser degree in shopping malls, there is a slow, steady shift from offline to online.

For Jumia Group (until recently known as Africa Internet Group), the continent’s first unicorn – a private tech startup with a valuation of over $1bn – tapping into Africa’s e-commerce potential is central to its business model.

Read more: The web startups looking to cash in on 1 billion African consumers | World news | The Guardian

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