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Zandaux has no fear of Jumia’s ‘ghost of failure’

By , Africa editor
Africa , 16 Feb 2024
Zandaux CEO and founder Franck Obambi Ngatse and CTO Dennis Reumer.
Zandaux CEO and founder Franck Obambi Ngatse and CTO Dennis Reumer.

At the official launch of his new multi-vendor platform, Zandaux, Franck Obambi Ngatse, revealed his plans to disrupt African e-commerce.

Unveiling the Johannesburg office this week, Obambi Ngatse, an ambitious entrepreneur, told ITWeb Africa that his goal is to become Africa's "biggest e-commerce platform" within a year.

Zandaux last year launched in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, and is slated to debut on February 29th in Cairo, Egypt.

He described his mission as "catalysing B2B e-commerce," utilising technology to encourage relationships, inclusivity, and prosperity in the African digital marketplace.

ITWeb Africa asked the Kenyan-born internet entrepreneur if he fears the "ghost of failure" that has been haunting Jumia Africa – a Nigerian-born New York Exchange-listed African e-commerce platform that has struggled to build its business on the continent.

Obambi Ngatse said: "First and foremost, we do not fear 'ghosts' in Africa.

“Jumia claims to be Africa's largest e-commerce site, yet according to statistics, they have little traction even here in South Africa.”

Zandaux’s business strategy, according to Obambi Ngatse, is to offer its platform across Africa, and he claims that its infrastructure is already available throughout the continent. “If you look at our analytics, you'll notice that we have visitors in every African country.”

He continues, saying the next stage of the business, will begin in March after the official debut in all targeted markets.

“We separated Africa into core Africa and low Africa,” he said.

The core Africa countries are South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria, which have relatively high industrial production, he said. “These are the countries where we are establishing offices.”

"Our next step is to inform the rest of Africa, which is less industrially competitive than these four, that they can also begin buying from Africa, while listing their own existing products. The absence of massive industrial production does not imply that there is no production there. We want them to participate not just by buying but also by selling."

Jumia has, meanwhile, painted a less rosy picture. Presenting the company’s financial results for the fourth quarter (ended December 2023), Francis Dufay, Jumia Group CEO, told shareholders: "Global upheavals have had a significant impact on African economies and people.

"High inflation and currency devaluation have resulted in a scarcity of supply, reducing customers' purchasing power. These have been trying times for tech and retail companies across the continent."

Nonetheless, Zandaux remains optimistic about its chances on the continent, talking up its “intuitive interface, robust features, and dedication to fostering a vibrant business ecosystem”.

Obambi Ngatse said: “The platform is designed to accommodate small and large businesses. Our African market is made of 70% small businesses, these businesses often do not have the budget to reach the target audience. With Zandaux, businesses are able to reach markets they may not have been able to reach without an e-commerce platform focused on connecting businesses.”

Zandaux has been around since 2020 and currently has over 15,000 products listed on the site, as well as around 1000 merchants from four different countries. It also enables buyers and sellers to trade cross borders. 

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