Nigerian e-commerce company wins $325 million investments

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Africa's leading e-commerce platform Jumia has won funding of more than $325 million from French, German, South African and U.S. companies eager to invest in one of the world's fastest-growing online economies, it said Thursday.

The investment boosts the value of parent company Africa Internet Group to nearly $1.1 billion and follows a blockbuster 2015 that saw overall revenues increase 282 percent in one of Africa's fast-growing online consumer markets.

The funding comes from U.S. investment bankers Goldman Sachs, French insurance multinational AXA, German startup Rocket Internet and a long-time backer, South African telecommunications giant MTN.

Jumia was founded in Nigeria in 2012 to provide a platform for local African businesses to sell products online and has expanded to 11 African countries. Africa Internet Group's activities have grown to 71 companies operating in 26 countries with an Uber-like service, Easy Taxi, and online marketplaces for travel, real estate, jobs and food delivery.

The company has yet to show a profit but said it plans to use the investment to improve current operations and expand into more countries.

Rocket Internet CEO Oliver Samwer called Jumia "a proven winner." Jules Frebault, an executive director at Goldman Sachs, said the company is uniquely positioned "to play a leading role in the development of Africa's online economy."

Only 19 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to the Internet though the numbers are higher in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation where some 60 million of the 160 million people are connected, according to a study published in February by Facebook and Analysys Mason, a telecommunications expert.