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First-of-its-kind research on gender equality in Africa’s e-commerce space

By , ITWeb
Africa , 17 Jun 2021

Increasing the number of women selling on online platforms through training and financial support can lead to more inclusive growth on the continent.

This is a key finding from the Women and e-commerce in Africa report, released by Jumia in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), alongside the European Commission and Kantar Public.

Described as a first-of-its-kind research in Africa, the report covered entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Juliet Anammah, Jumia Group Head of Institutional Affairs, said: “It is absolutely essential for women to be factored into the future of e-commerce. Africa is at the start of its e-commerce growth trajectory. Now is the time to ensure women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of Africa’s digital journey.”

Research also found that e-commerce supported women entrepreneurs by helping them grow their businesses, enter male-dominated sectors, access training, and achieve personal goals and increased flexibility.

“E-commerce in Africa is thriving, yet we are already seeing a widening gender gap in the sector. IFC’s report not only highlights the gap, but also shows how it might be addressed so that women entrepreneurs can succeed in this important and rapidly growing marketplace,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa

On the Jumia platform, over a third of businesses in Côte d’Ivoire and over 50% in Kenya and Nigeria are owned by women.

According to the platform, e-commerce is particularly attractive for women because it gives women the unique opportunity to sell to consumers in an environment without any of the gender-related biases that may exist in physical markets

Historically women have taken less advantage of emerging Fintech offerings, such as in-platform loans, compared to their male counterparts - a situation that Jumia intends to change by raising awareness on financial services and credit with women sellers.

Supporting women entrepreneurs has taken on renewed urgency since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

In the first year of the pandemic, women-owned businesses in the three countries studied in the report experienced a 7% drop in sales, while male owned businesses recorded a 7% rise in sales. 

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