Jumia Food to close Rwanda operations

Rwandan unit of Jumia Technologies is suspending its operations.

The Rwandan unit of Jumia Technologies has said it is suspending its operations in the country after six years of delivering food and drinks.

“We regret to inform you that Jumia will suspend our on-demand delivery operations in Rwanda on January 9th 2020,” the New York-listed e-commerce platform, said in a message to its Rwandan customers on Monday.

This is the third country in Africa where the continent’s largest e-commerce platform is shutting operation in a space of one month.

Two weeks ago the firm closed its business in Tanzania, just a week after shutting down operations in Cameron.

Albert Munyabugingo, Jumia’s Managing Director for the Rwandan operations, told The New Times that the group has been “struggling with profitability” in different markets, which informed the decision to suspend some operations.

The group wants to “refocus its business”, Munyabugingo said without shedding more light on their business in the country or mentioning how many customers will be affected.

According to the notice, starting December 9, 2019, Jumia will no longer be able to accept cash on delivery and can only process pre-paid orders.

“No orders will be processed after 9th January 2020 at which point all customer accounts will be closed. Jumia prime subscribers will be contacted separately regarding their refund,” the firm said in a notice.

The company had recently introduced a prime service in which its business customers had a choice to subscribe for a one-month service delivery and get deliveries without being charged transportation fee.

The company says it will continue to support buyers and vendors to do business online on its “classifieds portal, previously called Jumia Deals and which will now be the main portal jumia.rw.”

Jumia became Africa’s first unicorn - a private company with a $1 billion-plus valuation - to test the public market for a sub-Saharan tech firm when it listed in New York in April.

When it launched in 2012, Jumia Food focused on the middle class who could afford internet access but it had insisted that the growing smartphone use and plummeting data costs were opening up the market to lower-income earners.

The closing down of operations contradicts that argument. 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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