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E-Commerce for All: Jumia’s Role in Bridging the Digital Divide

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E-commerce today has become as pervasive as universal languages and global trends. Yet, as far-reaching as this commercial phenomenon is, there remains a segment of society that has not experienced the thrill of shopping virtually and fast home delivery services. This segment is largely situated in rural communities, locations that are not yet immersed in the global digital economy.

Jumia

While inhabitants of these rural communities are still largely underserved when it comes to e-commerce, Jumia — Africa’s leading online marketplace — has been making inroads into these regions, taking e-commerce and its advantages to the doorsteps of people who were previously overlooked.

Localising E-commerce

The digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to modern information and communication technologies, particularly the internet, and those who do not. It’s a divide that extends beyond mere connectivity; it encompasses disparities in digital literacy, access to devices, and opportunities for economic participation. While the world has witnessed exponential growth in internet penetration, vast segments of the population, particularly in emerging economies, remain excluded from the digital revolution. The digital economy offers a plethora of opportunities, from e-commerce to remote work, providing individuals with the means to participate in the global marketplace. By enabling access to digital platforms, economies can thrive, creating a more equitable distribution of wealth.

In 2o23, Jumia released its “E-commerce in Rural Areas” report — a document that details Jumia’s efforts in making e-commerce easily accessible to everyone, regardless of geographical location and purchasing power. According to this report, one tactic Jumia leverages so effectively is one most Nigerians have experienced at some point — grassroots activations or in Jumia terminologies, the JForce.

Launched in 2016, JForce is a network of over 40,000 independent sales consultants that help thousands of Nigerians in rural communities surmount the digital divide. Through the Force, Jumia leverages a communal, offline marketing approach that enables individuals without access to the internet to access Jumia’s sprawling catalogue of products.

Eliminating Logistic Barriers

Supplying the other half of the e-commerce equation, Jumia also established pick-up stations and forged partnerships to surmount logistic challenges to rural communities. More specifically, the online marketplace brand set up 250+ pick-up stations and established alliances with several third-party logistic partners to facilitate product delivery to secondary cities and rural areas.

The strategic placement of pick-up stations across various towns ensures that inhabitants of even the most remote corners of Nigeria are not relegated. This initiative has been a viable pathway to help rural communities overcome geographical limitations and tap into the global economy, effectively enriching these communities.

Investing in the Local Economy

Further underscoring Jumia’s drive for accessibility and inclusivity, Jumia has invested in training local entrepreneurs as agents to bolster their income through its commission structure. Through this tactic, the company has created many jobs and business opportunities for rural entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth within these communities. As a testament to the impact of this strategy, Jumia has thousands of individuals signed up as JForce agents in these regions that were once cut off from global commerce — bolstering both the economic powers of denizens and the targeted communities as a whole.

According to the “E-commerce in Rural Areas” report, Jumia’s efforts at bridging the existing digital divide have been felt not only by rural entrepreneurs but also by families. The report reveals that about half of orders made on the Jumia marketplace platform, and delivered through its impressive network of pick-up stations and logistic services, are bound for either rural areas or secondary cities (23% rural areas, 22% secondary cities in 2023). Families in these regions are taking advantage of Jumia’s extensive catalogue of over 50 million products and on-ground agents, saving themselves time and money while ordering essential items either directly to their doorsteps or nearby pick-up stations.

Jumia’s strategies have undoubtedly had a far-reaching impact. Since launching its aggressive crusade to take e-commerce to underserved communities, people who had limited to no digital literacy have had opportunities to participate in the global digital ecosystem. Now, more individuals can learn and harness skills such as online shopping, online payments, and navigating e-commerce platforms that have proven not only useful for personal interests but also for increasing their incomes and purchasing power. By promoting digital inclusion and literacy, Jumia helps bridge the digital divide and enables communities to fully participate in the benefits of the digital age.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

E-Business

SOPHiA GENETICS Announces Syndicate Bio as First Liquid Biopsy Customer in Africa

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SOPHiA GENETICS, a cloud-native software company in the healthcare space and a leader in data-driven medicine, has announced that Nigeria-based Syndicate Bio has signed on to implement MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™.

Syndicate Bio is the first lab in Africa to adopt the MSK-ACCESS® assay via the SOPHiA DDM™ Platform, and the first company to make comprehensive genomic profiling and liquid biopsy widely available to patients throughout the entire continent.

The implementation of this new technology will further existing work from SOPHiA GENETICS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), and Syndicate Bio to advance health equity on a global scale.

There are roughly 1 million new cancer patients each year in Africa and currently, comprehensive genomic profiling and liquid biopsy testing options are not widely available.

This means that patients are forced to forego this testing or travel out of continent for these testing options. Syndicate Bio’s implementation of this new offering will provide cutting-edge liquid biopsy testing to many of these patients and will help progress the company’s goal of advancing genomics and precision medicine in an area of the world that has been historically underserved in these areas.

“Partnering with SOPHiA Genetics to bring MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™ to our lab is a monumental step in accelerating the cancer treatment and research landscape across Africa, beginning in Nigeria. Next-generation sequencing technologies in oncology and liquid biopsy, which this collaboration enables, hold the potential for creating a leapfrogging opportunity in the oncology treatment and research landscape in Africa,” said Abasi Ene-Obong, PhD., Founder, Syndicate Bio.

“Through this collaboration, we aim to enable the widespread application of precision medicine in oncology across Africa, and thus contributing to the improvement of patient outcomes across the African continent.

“We believe our scientific expertise, combined with AI-enabled technologies and data-driven solutions enabled by SOPHiA GENETICS, presents a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the journey of cancer patients through non-invasive cancer analysis, predictive genetic testing, and effective precision medicine.”

Syndicate Bio is driving genomics and precision medicine initiatives across the world’s most diverse regions through large-scale partnerships with governments, industry, and other stakeholders. Through its work, Syndicate Bio is making local impact while accelerating drug discovery and development.

By focusing on Africa, Syndicate Bio is poised to make a significant impact, starting with Nigeria, by introducing its pioneering clinical oncology offerings in an underserved region.

Through this endeavor, Syndicate Bio aims to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment for African patients. This initiative not only facilitates local next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing and liquid biopsy testing but also extends access to clinical trial participation, empowering patients and healthcare providers alike.

MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™  is a decentralized version of a highly validated ctDNA test developed by MSK that involves the deep sequencing of 146 key cancer-associated genes, and will augment Syndicate Bio’s tumor profiling capabilities, allowing them to utilize a small blood sample to generate a comprehensive report in an efficient and expedited time frame.

The use of liquid biopsy is less invasive than traditional biopsy, and can help simplify patient monitoring, whilst driving the uptake of precision medicine.

The offering combines the sophisticated analytics, state-of-the-art algorithms, and decentralized, cloud-based offerings of the SOPHiA DDM™ Platform, with the scientific and clinical expertise of MSK in cancer genomics to provide a best-in-class liquid biopsy solution.

“In our mission to democratize data-driven medicine, our decentralized global network and unique set of partnerships enable us to help reach underserved populations, just as those that are served by Syndicate Bio,” said Philippe Menu, MD, PhD., Chief Medical Officer, SOPHiA GENETICS.

“By implementing this solution, Syndicate Bio will make a measurable impact throughout Africa, while also helping to generate an unparalleled and comprehensive dataset and provide invaluable insights and knowledge to shape the future of global healthcare.”

In late 2023, SOPHiA GENETICS and MSK announced they are working in partnership with AstraZeneca to bring the world-class MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™ testing solution to countries and regions around the globe, including underserved areas where access to testing remains scarce.


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Abdullahi, NITDA Boss Harps on Partnership to Drive Advance Digital Transformation Agenda

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Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has reaffirmed the importance of collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda.

Abdullahi, NITDA Boss Harps on Partnership to Drive Advance Digital Transformation Agenda

L-R: Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi,  director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, with Brig. Gen., Abdulrahman Idris, team lead of the Senior Executive Course 46 2024, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos during a strategic tour visit to the agency headquarters in Abuja.

Abdullahi disclosed this during a strategic engagement with participants of the 2024 Senior Executive Course 46 from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), a delegation led by Brigadier General Abdulrahman Idris.

Abdullahi emphasised that no organisation can achieve its goals in isolation, stressing the need for collaborative efforts to harness ideas, experiences and insights for national development. He highlighted the potential of collaboration between NITDA and NIPSS to leverage technology and digital innovation for driving economic growth, creating job opportunities and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

“At NITDA, we have re-imagined our social contract with Nigerians, focusing on improving service delivery and fostering the swift growth of the ICT sector,” said Abdullahi. He emphasised the agency’s commitment to serving Nigerians and outlined the strategic direction outlined in NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2024-2027) 2.0. The SRAP is structured around eight pillars aimed at fostering digital literacy, building a robust technology research ecosystem, strengthening policy implementation, promoting inclusive access to digital infrastructure, enhancing cybersecurity, nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, forging partnerships and cultivating a vibrant organisational culture.

The brigadier-general provided insights into NIPSS’s role as Nigeria’s foremost policy think-tank, tasked with developing top-class technocrats to drive national development initiatives. He highlighted NIPSS’s contributions to policy formulation and implementation over the years, emphasising the institution’s mandate to address issues of national interest, particularly in the digital economy sector.

The collaboration between NITDA and NIPSS underscores the importance of synergistic efforts in harnessing technology and innovation for national development. By leveraging each other’s expertise and resources, both organisations aim to drive economic growth, foster job creation, and position Nigeria as a leading player in the global digital economy.

Through strategic partnerships and collaborative initiatives, NITDA and NIPSS are poised to chart a path towards sustainable development, leveraging digital innovation as a catalyst for socioeconomic transformation and inclusive growth.

 


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IvoryPay, Tether to Drive Crypto Transfers Across Africa

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Ivorypay, a blockchain-based payment and remittance firm, has teamed with Tether, the stablecoin pioneer, to improve crypto-based transactions across Africa.

Tether is the business that developed the stablecoin, USDT, and with this agreement, it will mint and issue USDT straight to IvoryPay.

According to the partners, this agreement would provide more dependable and economical digital transaction choices to businesses and consumers across Africa.

Ivorypay will leverage Tether’s widespread acceptance to provide a buffer against the typically unpredictable nature of crypto-currencies, increasing user confidence in using digital currencies for daily transactions as well as cross-border transfers.

“Partnering with Tether is a strategic move that aligns perfectly with our vision of simplifying and securing crypto transactions across Africa,” said Oluwatobi Ajayi, CEO, IvoryPay.

He added: “It gives us easy access to the liquidity we need to cater to more businesses and individuals across the continent and to do that cheaper and faster than anybody else, which we believe will significantly enhance user trust and increase adoption rates across our platforms.”

“This strategic partnership between Ivorypay and Tether represents a transformative step for digital transactions across Africa,” said Aly Madhavji, managing partner of Blockchain Founders Fund.

“By incorporating USDT into their payment systems, IvoryPay aims to increase financial inclusion and streamline cross-border remittances, establishing a new standard for stability and efficiency in the region’s financial services We are thrilled to assist Ivorypay as they endeavour to create new opportunities for businesses and consumers across Africa.”


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