JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire boss recommends improving key infrastructures for e-commerce in Africa

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

The Managing Director of JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire, Francis Dufay, has indicated that the future looks bright for e-commerce in Africa if existing infrastructures are improved to meet the ever growing demand of that sector. Speaking as a panelist on the theme "What Infrastructures for e-commerce in Africa? " at the just ended Africa Telecom People 2015,  Mr. Dufay is confident about the ability of existing infrastructure to foster the sector's growth, provided they benefit from continuous improvement.

Other panelists including the Chief Executive of Office MTN Côte d'Ivoire Freddy Tchala, Brice Dally, CEO of Valsch Consulting and the President of Horus Telecom and Utilities Dominique Baron shared their independent views on how best industry players together with other key stakeholders could team up to ensure the growth of e-commerce space in Côte d’Ivoire through a systematic approach to augment available infrastructures for their benefit.

According to the head of JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire, E-commerce is based on four key infrastructures: Internet, logistics, payment and the legal framework. He said although JUMIA managed to transcend the limitations inherent to each type of infrastructure, allowing it to route some 2,000 parcels daily, several points would benefit from qualitative evolutions; including Logistics with a need for; better roads, 3PL offering the highest quality of service at competitive prices and a more comprehensive addressing system, Payment; where the widespread adoption of cashless payment methods such as mobile money for which JUMIA enjoys the expert support of MTN, should be encouraged. 

The regulatory and organizational framework could benefit from more education for stakeholders for a better understanding of contractual implications and internet, whose penetration estimated at 8 million people in Côte d'Ivoire, remains curtailed.

Despite these necessary improvements, Francis Dufay is adamant that "e-commerce can exist in Côte d'Ivoire". And the Government's efforts as well as those of private actors such as MTN to extend the reach of the Internet or to regulate the sector and foster the adoption of electronic payment methods are valuable notes of hope. E-commerce has a bright future in Côte d’Ivoire. Its development will support employment and increase the purchasing power of the population, who will access more varied offers at more competitive prices.

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