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Jumia is not African startup. It is a company duly incorporated in Germany by 2 French founders who are Co-CEOs. A non-exhaustive reference to its Germanness can be found here in their Form F-1 filings with the SEC.… A ka thread for those who don't read:
Jumia was founded by French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, both 38. They each hold just over 2% of the company’s shares.…
If it’s registered in Germany, it says it’s German, speaks German. It’s German. Not African.
Not a single African currency is mentioned in their filing. However much we do business in Euro and USD, they are not African currencies.
Words have meaning. Jumia states they are “active”, not domiciled, in six African countries. It’s right there in front of you. BMW is German company, in as much as it has operations in the US (@wanjikuk). Google is an American company, in as much as it operates all over the world
The confusion over wether Jumia is African or not is caused by its focus on the continent as its primary market. By comparison, Coca Cola has had a long and storied presence on the continent. But no one calls it African. It has American beginnings and operates all over the world.
Let’s also be honest here. Jumia didn’t succeed because it was “African”. Jumia owes part of its success to a marketplace that doesn’t believe in domestic brands. It’s heavy lifting to build a successful local brand, because you’re viewed suspiciously.
Africans leapfrog local innovation because our colonized minds think foreign brands are better.
Not. African.
Is the fact that the founders are French a problem? Not to me. What's at issue here is there is no trace of the Jumia Corporate location anywhere on the continent. It's a European company.
This is a German address of their German CORPORATE offices. As in the European Eunion. Not an address in Africa.
Can you incorporate in a different continent but call yourself African company?
For those still confused: The term “Under German law” appears no less than 37 times in Jumia’s SEC filings.
The reason I am so hardline about this is because of all those African (founders and by registration) starts have a hell of a time getting any credibility (financing or press) for their innovations. A NYSE listing is unfathomably unreachable for us.
So when a European company casually runs roughshod over that identity and trades in it, it’s a slap in the face. It effectively lays a beachhead for digital colonizers in the space.
“With enough millions you too can claim to be an emerging “African” growth co.
Jumia’s success signals not the potential of African startups, but the potential of Western founders & their money to succeed wildly on the continent. Have money & a deficiency in melanin, you can write your best seller of how you made it on the continent
Don’t come for me for my directness. The investments dollars to startups in Africa HEAVILY favors entities with white immigrant founders. Them be the facts. I read the numbers as they are.
This whole 3-day debate would die down if Jumia released a statement. Here, I'll even write it for you:

"Jumia is a German-based tech company focused on simplifying e-commerce for African buyers and sellers by leveraging the continent's rising connectivity & purchasing power."
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