As Jumia, Africa’s largest e-commerce platform exits the Rwandan market, a local start-up, CanGo, says it is preparing to embark on fresh operations to fill the void that will have been left in online food delivery – a space that is becoming increasingly popular.
CanGo is a local startup that was previously engaged in taxi-hailing service, SafeMotos.
Barely two days after Jumia announced it was closing its Rwanda operations, CanGo has announced the operationalisation of its mobile application sooner than had been expected.
“Our mobile app will be soon available on the App Store and Google Play!” the company posted on its social media platforms on Wednesday, pointing to January 2020 as the month in which the service will be available.
Incidentally, January is the month Jumia announced they would be completely folding business in Rwanda - most precisely on January 9.
CanGo has reportedly been piloting its food delivery service in the capital Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Barrett Nash, one of the founders of the firm, said recently that Jumia’s exit was an opportunity for his business.
“I’ve been testing our new food delivery system in Kinshasa and for me this is a great opportunity,” he said, referring to Jumia’s announced closure plans in Rwanda.
Jumia, perceived as Africa’s first unicorn, revealed last week that it will suspend its operations in January after it emerged that it was making significant losses in some of the markets where it operates.
Partly, the suspension of its business units is attributed to challenges of digital payments, delivery and logistical infrastructure especially in fragmented markets where it has been operating.
It is true in markets like Rwanda, where the majority of people still prefer traditional ways of buying goods and services despite the increasing number of smartphones, internet penetration and plummeting data costs.
Many people have also viewed Jumia services as expensive compared to the traditional way of doing things. A cost of getting food and drink delivered, for instance, was somewhere between Rwf1,000 (about $1) and Rwf1,500 ($1.6).
However, Nash insisted in the same discussion that “there will be no break in on-demand food services in Kigali,” saying that they “were going to begin testing before Christmas anyway.”
He asked colleagues to start sharing the restaurants that are must-haves on the platform.
Efforts to reach the company were unsuccessful. But people who have used the service already believe it will be a great replacement for Jumia.
“I prefer CanGo because they are fast and cheap than Jumia. Their drivers know how to use Google maps. You can order anything and you pay after delivery and they are fast,” Elysee Confiance, one of the users, told The New Times.
Samuel Tuyizere, another user, said he has used the service and he thinks it’s cheaper as opposed to Jumia services.
“I have used CanGo about three times now mainly because it was cheaper than Jumia and also the possibility of asking them to go wherever I want and get me what I wanted,” he noted.
However, Tuyizere said the “only issue with them was that they were using WhatsApp and had no dedicated application.
Currently, CanGo allows customers to make their orders through WhatsApp. In short, you text them your order, the restaurant from which you want it delivered from and their rider will contact you to bring your order.
Customers believe that is a downside since there are not many options from which they can choose just as much as many don’t see WhatsApp as a genuine way of making their food delivery orders.
Perhaps it is the reason why the firm drove on Jumia’s failure to announce the establishment of a mobile application that will now make it operate as a fully-fledged e-commerce platform.
The firm also delivers groceries and offer courier services.