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Jumia’s New CEO Plans to Expand E-Commerce in Nigeria

Sunil Natraj will replace Massimiliano Spalazzi and lead Jumia’s growth strategy in the country.

by Motoni Olodun

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has announced Sunil Natraj’s appointment as its Nigerian unit’s new CEO, effective from January 1, 2024. Natraj will replace Massimiliano Spalazzi, who has led Jumia Nigeria for three years and helped the company grow into the largest market for Jumia Group.

Natraj has extensive experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, having worked for large multinationals such as GBFoods and Mr Chef Seasoning. He joined Jumia in 2022 and handled the Jumia Express logistics business as VP of Sales and Marketing, before becoming the CEO of Jumia Ghana. He has a B.S. in Engineering and an MBA from The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

One of Natraj’s main tasks will be to activate new city routes in Nigeria and expand Jumia’s presence across the country in 2024. The company aims to reach more customers in cities with at least 20,000 people and educate them about the benefits of online shopping. Jumia will also deploy sales teams to communities where e-commerce is not popular or has no presence.

The expansion plan comes when e-commerce in Africa is experiencing rapid growth, driven by rising internet penetration, smartphone adoption, and digital payment solutions. According to IMARC Group, the Africa e-commerce market size reached US$ 241.6 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$ 567.6 Billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3%.

Nigeria is one of the most promising markets for e-commerce in Africa, with a population of over 200 million people, a young and tech-savvy demographic, and a growing middle class. According to Statista, Nigeria had 38.9 million online shoppers in 2020, accounting for 19.4% of the total internet users in the country. The number of online shoppers is projected to increase to 53.2 million by 2025, representing 24.4% of internet users.

Jumia faces competition from other local and regional players in the Nigerian e-commerce market, such as Konga, Takealot, and Kilimall. However, the company has an edge over its rivals with its diversified offerings, including online marketplaces, logistics, payments, food delivery, travel, and classifieds. Jumia also has strong brand recognition and customer loyalty, as evidenced by its 6.1 million active consumers and 379 million web visitors in 2020.

“It’s an honor to contribute to Jumia’s success in the country, prioritizing customer satisfaction, secure payments, and strong partnerships,” Natraj said in a statement. “Our dedicated team is key to our future success, and I am confident we will achieve even greater milestones, always earning our customers’ trust.”

Francis Dufay, CEO of Jumia Group, acknowledged the challenges the company has faced in the e-commerce market recently but said the company is more bullish about the future of e-commerce in Africa. He also noted that the company’s focus is not on controlling the market share, but on expanding the market and attracting more investors and innovation.

“We are looking at the market size – not the market share. The market is still relatively small and we believe it is our responsibility to make it bigger than it is,” Dufay said.

Source: BusinessDay NG


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