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Olukayode Kolawole

For most people living outside Africa, they imagine the continent as the home of poverty, corruption, internet fraud, infrastructure deficit, and everything that describes under-development, marginalization, oppression, bad leadership, insecurity, diseases, and many more. Although the continent is truly beset with some perennial development issues, some of these notions are preposterous and not entirely peculiar to Africa. No doubt, for a continent that is richly blessed with numerous natural resources, the economies of the countries within it should be enviable and have the capacity to truly compete with the First World countries.

Home to 54 countries, with Nigeria and South Africa having the biggest economies, the continent has a population of 1.2 billion people, projected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050. It is the second most populated after Asia and second growing economy in the world after East Asia, with a 3.5% annual growth rate. Average age is about 20 years, and 30% of its population make up the middle class which is expected to grow by 80% between 2020 & 2030. An estimated 473 million people are connected to the internet in Africa, which represents 36% of its population, while 1 billion people who have access to mobile phones, represents 80% of its population.

There are a number of laudable achievements the continent has earned for itself. These achievements, although rarely spoken of, have positioned the continent on a global map, earned it positive recognition from First World countries, changed its narrative to something better and more appealing, and made it a sought-after destination for business investment, leisure and entertainment. This article will dwell on the business investment opportunities that have changed the fortunes of the continent, and how these businesses are impacting and transforming the quality of lives in Africa.

E-commerce is one of the business sectors powering the engines of commerce and trade in the continent. It has brought many untold opportunities for both the consumers and the micro, small, medium enterprises. In Nigeria for instance, Jumia paved the way for e-commerce in 2012, provided consumers access to hundreds of thousands of products, and expanded access for discerning entrepreneurs who quickly took advantage of the many unique opportunities presented by these platforms, to reach more consumers and sell more products. The convenience of e-commerce made a compelling case for early adoption of online shopping by customers who until then only shopped from brick and mortar stores.

The bold move by Jumia and other ecommerce players paved the way for many e-commerce startups in the country today. Although many of these platforms have been phased out due to a number of challenges, the truth still remains that the story of how Jumia led the way for e-commerce in the country continues to reverberate the entire sector, and has today, yielded many positive results. It was not too long after Jumia launched in Nigeria that it expanded its operations to 14 other African countries, in which it has operations today, covering 75% of the entire continent’s GDP, and about 75% of internet users.

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