• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Powering rural economy through e-commerce

Powering rural economy through e-commerce

By Robert Awodu

E-commerce stands tall as the beacon of convenience, transforming the way we shop, interact, and conduct business. With just a few clicks, consumers can explore a vast array of products, compare prices, and have their purchases delivered to their doorsteps, all from the comfort of their homes. This evolution in retail has undoubtedly empowered millions, offering unparalleled access to goods and services.

However, amidst this digital revolution, a significant portion of the population remains disconnected from the benefits of e-commerce, particularly individuals residing in rural communities. The statistics paint a stark picture of this disparity.

According to recent data by Statista, only a fraction of Nigeria’s rural population has access to e-commerce platforms, with internet penetration rates significantly lower in rural areas compared to urban centres.

This digital gap translates into missed opportunities for rural entrepreneurs and artisans to showcase their products on a global stage, limiting their potential for growth and prosperity.

Empowering Rural Communities

At Jumia Nigeria, we believe every individual, regardless of their geographical location, should have the opportunity to benefit from the convenience and accessibility of e-commerce. One way we are tackling this challenge is through our JForce program, a grassroots initiative launched to take e-commerce to secondary cities within Nigeria, by involving individual sales consultants.

In rural areas where digital literacy is limited, JForce representatives foster trust through personalised interactions and word-of-mouth marketing. Our goal is to bridge the digital divide, allowing rural customers to break free from geographical constraints and access various products with ease.

Strengthening the pillars of JForce, we have simultaneously established hundreds of pickup stations and collaborated with reliable logistic partners to fast-track product deliveries to secondary cities and rural areas. The deliberate positioning of these pick-up stations in diverse rural communities, guarantees accessibility to even the most remote corners of Nigeria, thereby enabling customers to overcome geographical limitations and access various products.

In line with this commitment, we have successfully expanded to towns such as Modakeke in Osun, Nkpor in Anambra, Owo in Ondo, Offa in Kwara, and Keffi in Nassarawa, and most recently, Port Harcourt, where e-commerce was previously untapped. This expansion also reflects our dedication to democratising access to e-commerce, ensuring that no community is left behind in the digital age.

Employment and Job Creation

According to the International Global Economic Outlook report by KPMG, a leading global audit and tax advisory firm, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is projected to soar to 40.6 percent compared to 2022’s 37.7 percent.

Unemployment has far-reaching consequences for a country, including poverty, social instability, and hindered economic growth and development. For this reason, our expansion into rural communities extends far beyond economic transactions.

It catalyses entrepreneurship, empowering local economies, and enhancing the overall quality of life. Through the Jumia JForce initiative, we are also generating employment opportunities and empowering rural businesses and entrepreneurs financially. Currently, the JForce initiative has over 30,000 Independent local sales consultants who play a crucial role in driving consumer education and unlocking the potentials of rural entrepreneurship.

By leveraging innovative solutions and forging strategic collaborations, Jumia continues to pave the way for inclusive economic growth and digital empowerment, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their location, has the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the e-commerce revolution.

 

.Awodu is the regional Head of Public Relations and Communication, Sub-Saharan Africa, Jumia.