Africa
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African Influencers For Development 

Ron Kawamara

Jumia E-Commerce Platform

(Uganda)

Ron Kawamara is the CEO of Jumia Uganda. During the COVID-19, pandemic,  he has expanded the e-commerce platform’s reach, to cater for some of the most vulnerable communities, particularly market vendors – who are largely women and youth. By doing so, the company is also helping to sustain the much needed supply chains.

 

Our focus is on connecting market vendors to potential customers with priority on women, people with disabilities and the youth.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR SERVICE?
COVID-19 has had devastating effects on the private sector and most especially on the informal sector. Vendors could no longer have access to consumers and vice versa during the stay-at-home measures. We therefore partnered with UNDP, to adapt the already existing Jumia Food platform and infrastructure to enable small and medium enterprises to connect with consumers to sustain livelihoods during the period.

THE IMPACT OF YOUR SERVICE?
Our focus was on connecting market vendors to potential customers with priority on women, people with disabilities and the youth. This also provided employment to people – directly and indirectly – from the technical business operations of managing the platform, chain of logistics like transport, assembling products, packaging and marketing. We have also had our business partners like hotels, sellers and restaurants adopting this alternative line of revenue.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF PRODUCING OR DEPLOYING YOUR SERVICE?
Technology is the great equalizer when it comes to e-commerce. Internet is still expensive for many of our customers and as a result, we lose on those sales. And in the past we have had challenges with connecting to informal vendors. Trust was also another barrier with our service but now we see that as a result of this pandemic, e-commerce is trusted.

WHAT HELP WOULD YOU NEED TO SCALE UP AND IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE?
We need government support with regulation to protect the buyer and the seller. Laws regarding data protection for the consumer are coming and we hope government will ensure that whoever goes to the internet plays by the rules. We wish to also include Business 2 Business (B2B) distributions, and also support the entire value chain by linking farmers to markets.

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