CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, recently announced a EUR50m equity investment in Africa Internet Group (AIG). AIG is the parent company of Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce firm, as well as nine other online consumer businesses operating in 23 countries across the continent.
AIG currently connects more than 50,000 local and international companies with millions of African consumers. CDC’s capital will help AIG improve its existing operations and expand into new countries.
The companies in the group have a significant job-creation potential, particularly those businesses that involve the delivery of a physical products. Jumia Group already has over 4,000 employees and it is expected that Jumia Services (formerly AIG-Express), the logistics business within the group (and already one of Africa’s largest logistics firms, delivering over 4 million orders in 2015) will generate thousands of new delivery jobs by 2020.
In addition to direct employment, AIG operates a network of 30,000 sales agents, the “J-Force”. Currently largely Nigeria-based, the J-Force is expanding into other countries, with numbers of agents expected to grow to over 100,000 by the end of 2017.
Online marketplace businesses can also play an important role in providing access to new customers for local vendors. Kaymu, an online marketplace focused on smaller sellers, enables these vendors to develop their businesses by providing them with access to a nationwide market for the first time. Most sellers on the Kaymu platform are micro and small businesses – often people who had previously been market traders. Several thousand of these small firms actively trade on the platform every month and as they grow so do the number of jobs they provide.
Other services offered by Africa Internet Group include websites offering food delivery (Hellofood) and hotel booking (Jovago), as well as online classified ads for general merchandise (Vendito), real estate (Lamudi), jobs (EverJobs) and vehicles (Carmudi).