Jumia responds to ownership structure, NYSE listing

Jumia co-CEO Sacha Poignonnec, left, applauds as Jumia Nigeria CEO Juliet Anammah, center, rings a ceremonial bell when the company's stock begins trading, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, April 12, 2019. Jumia is recognized as the first African tech startup company to be listed on the NYSE. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

After its landmark achievement of becoming the first African tech startup to list on the New York Stock Exchange, Jumia has been answering some tough questions in Nigeria where the e-commerce retailer was founded.

A woman works at the packaging unit at a warehouse for an online store, Jumia in Ikeja district, in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos June 10, 2016.REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Since the online-retail firm listing, many have been questioning if indeed Jumia is an African company.

The tech firm was founded in Lagos, Nigeria but it is incorporated in Germany while its global headquarters is in Dubai and its technology center is in Portugal.

The current key drivers of Jumia are French, who are co-founders of the company. This has prompted questions over whether indeed Jumia’s feat could be celebrated as an achievement of African startup.

Jumia chief financial officer Ernest Eguasa has defended the company’s claim as an African country, arguing its key ownership and operations are focused on the continent.

“Jumia operates in 14 African countries. And for you to operate, you have to be legally registered in each country. So Jumia is an African company. In terms of the ownership of the company, the largest investor in Jumia pre-listing is MTN, which is an African company,” Eguasa told journalists in Lagos.

The online retailer has been questioned as to why it ignored stock markets on the continent in favour of the New York Stock Exchange.

“The NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world. There are lots of big tech players there including Amazon, Google. And investors are quite familiar with the e-commerce business. So, for these reasons, and the reasons also include improved perception of the company to allow us acquire new customers, new vendors, they were the logical reasons to go to the NYSE,” Eguasa argued.

Jumia said it is not completely ruling out the possibility of a secondary listing in any of the 14 African countries where it currently operates if and when the need arises.

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