By Joseph Okoghenun
I see a growing similarity between The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), one of Nigerian’s biggest Pentecostal churches, and Konga, Nigeria’s foremost composite e-commerce giant in their mode of operations.
In Nigeria today, there is hardly any street where one cannot find a branch of RCCG. The church has become ubiquitous. In Christendom, RCCG certainly has no rival in terms of spread, and no one has ever dared to compete with the Pastor Enoch Adeboye led-church in that regard. The strategy has certainly worked for the religious body.
Interestingly, Konga seems to be following the same strategy. In its seven years of existence, Konga has expanded the scope of the e-commerce operations in Nigeria with its retail roll-out strategy. As disclosed by the company, Konga currently has over 31 retail stores. Indeed, it is hard to miss the attractive Konga fuchsia colour dotting the landscape with its rapidly growing stores – a factor which now makes every fuchsia-painted building appear like a Konga store.
This is also the strength of the RCCG brand equity. Every beautifully constructed house of worship is now assumed an RCCG church, if not closely scrutinized.
Due to the nature of my job, I have the privilege of travelling to various states in Nigeria every month to engage customers in this trying times. It is rather unbelievable the massive spread of the Konga retail store. Whether it is in Warri, Kano, Uyo, Asaba or Ibadan, just to mention a few, you cannot miss the imposing colour and signage, thereby leaving one wondering what their strategy is.
Last Monday, I had a challenge with my laptop and I asked my neighbour who is an IT expert where I could buy a reasonably priced HP laptop in Lagos. He volunteered a number of places, including the smart Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos, but advised that before I finally buy, I should check prices on Konga as he was sure Konga had the best prices.
I did as my neighbour advised. I went to the Konga Online Marketplace App, which I had installed on my phone to check for the price and specifications of the available HP laptops.
After checking the price range and functionalities of the various HP brands available, I settled for the HP Spectre, which is a perfect device for me, especially considering the nature of my work. Thereafter, I needed to cross-check the price with what was obtainable in Computer Village. Hence, I put calls through to some of the contacts in Computer Village my neighbour had given to me.
Surprisingly, the prices I got from them all were far higher than what I got from Konga. Considering that I needed to endure heavy traffic in various parts of Lagos to get to Computer Village amidst my busy schedule, I did not think twice before settling for Konga to place the order. In the comfort of my bedroom, I placed the order before I went out. Since I knew that my movement wouldn’t be certain on that Monday and I would be attending a series of meetings, I directed that the laptop should be dropped at the Konga retail store located at Third Roundabout on Lekki-Epe Express Way, Ikate, Lekki Phase 2, Lagos, close to where I live, for onward pick up.
Throughout that day, I was too busy to have time to pick up the laptop. On Tuesday, I went to the Konga retail store. Since the store was opened this year, Tuesday was the first time I was using it. When I went to pick up the HP laptop on Tuesday, I was pleasantly impressed by the courteous service I received from the attendants at the store, and the aesthetical layout of the place.
Further raising my impressions was the fact that all my attempts to give the attendants a tip for their wonderful service was politely rejected. In fact, they informed me that the practice was against the company policy. I was really impressed by what I saw and observed.
Curiously, I also noticed that the store is located in a strategic place not far off from a branch of RCCG. I don’t know whether this is also a deliberate strategy by the new Konga owners to have some of their stores located close to branches of the biggest Pentecostal church in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the Konga store located at Redemption Crescent, Gbagada, is adjacent to a branch of RCCG. The affinity between the two brands is becoming too glaring for anyone not to notice.
My visit to Konga store also afforded me the opportunity to meet with the Konga CEO, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh for the first time. Unassuming and smart, the young Prince Nnamdi was entering the store while I and other customers were about leaving the place. As soon as he entered, he greeted all of us warmly and asked about our welfare. I replied in the affirmative but enquired if we had met before.
Beaming with a huge smile, Prince Nnamdi humbly replied in the negative, but explained that as the CEO of Konga, it was his responsibility to see that the welfare of Konga customers was taken care of always.
I was really marveled by the simplicity of the young CEO that I decided to exchange contacts with him. Surprise is an understatement when I later received a call from Prince Nnamdi that evening, asking whether I got home safely and how I was enjoying my new HP laptop.
I was marveled by his sincerity of purpose so much that I wondered whether he is also a pastor in RCCG – the brand I assume Konga is imitating in their retail rollout. I had to scan through the CEO’s profile on the internet.
Subsequently, I got to know that Prince Nnamdi’s life has been all about e-commerce. He was just 23 when he founded Yudala – a bold and ambitious e-commerce outpost, which later merged operations with Konga in 2018. In fact, I got to know that Konga imbibed its retail store strategy from Yudala, which pioneered the model in the global e-commerce sector.
The merger, no doubt, has repositioned Konga from a business, operational and quality service delivery standpoint, with cutting-edge efficiency to drive the company’s operations, including its retail stores.
The relevance of expanding the Konga brick-and mortar presence in the manner of RCCG cannot be understated. Despite the marginal growth of e-commerce since the turn of the decade in Nigeria, the market has faced significant challenges. These include poor road infrastructure, delivery and inconsistent addressing system which have encumbered a number of players. Anybody who has worked in the logistics sector of our economy as I have done will understand the point being made here.
Although the RCCG may not have encountered such challenges with its every-street-branch operational model, it is apparent that this model remains the best for reaching many more potential shoppers in our clime, as Konga model has shown.
For instance, how do you deliver a product to remote areas where there are no roads or traceable addresses? But a nearby retail store, which doubles as a pick-up centre, will solve such challenges, as it has done for Konga. The foregoing appears the reason Konga is following in the RCCG’s footsteps.
TLG Capital and Fidelity Bank to invest $20 million on Nigerian SMEs
TLG Capital announced that it would be investing with Fidelity Bank Plc amount to the tune of $20 million on SMEs in Nigeria
Private Equity firm, TLG Capital has announced that it would be investing together with Fidelity Bank Plc, an amount to the tune of $20 million on SMEs in Nigeria.
The funds will be channelled through TLG’s Africa Growth Impact Fund (ADIF), towards the development of SMEs in the country. Notably, the fund will be directed to SMEs that are focused on healthcare, education, consumer sectors, amongst others.
This new investment is in line with the bank’s move to provide innovative funding options and other forms of relevant support to entrepreneurs in the country.
What you need to know
- Fidelity Bank Plc is a commercial bank in Nigeria with over 5 million customers, serviced across its 250 business offices and other digital banking channels.
- According to information from the website of TLG Capital, a total of $303 million loans was still outstanding to SMEs and the unbanked through its portfolio companies.
Why this matters
This new investment will come as good news to SMEs and other entrepreneurs in the country, especially those seeking to obtain loans in the listed sectors.
FG to set up micro, small and medium enterprises in 774 LGAs
The FG has disclosed plans to establish micro-enterprises in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) across the country.
The Federal Government has said that it plans to establish micro-enterprises in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country to help create jobs and ensure improvement in the well-being of the local populace.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Dr George Akume, at the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) General Assembly with the Theme: Strategic Positioning for the Future: A New Era, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Akume, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Office of the Minister, Mr Simon Tyungu, said that the establishment of the micro-enterprises was conceived to cushion the effect of the current economic situation.
What the Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs is saying
Akume said, “As a ministry, we have proposed the establishment of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in the 774 local governments in Nigeria based on economic corridors. We believe that this will create jobs and ensure improvement in the well-being of the local populace.’’
Akume also applauded the role played by ALGON during the COVID-19 pandemic in bringing relief to the people at the grassroots despite their limited resources.
The Minister said, “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has taken some bold steps to reposition the local government administration such as granting of local government autonomy and enforcement of democratically-elected local government councils by the states.”
“This is a clear demonstration of political will by Mr President. The COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the entire country in 2020 was felt more in our local communities. The leadership of ALGON contributed in no small measure, particularly on stimulus packages and advocacy, notwithstanding your financial limitations,’’ he said.
The minister said the Federal Government recognized the fact that people could be reached through the local government area councils and then put some measures in place.
Going further he said, “The Federal Government in its wisdom then realised that the local government area councils are the veritable vessels through which the dividend of democracy will reach the vulnerable indigent citizens.
“Mr President (of ALGON), I urge you to take advantage of this initiative and key into President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to lead 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. The Federal Government is favourably disposed to attaining this developmental goal.’’
Speaking at the occasion, the ALGON National President, Dr Kolade Alabi, said that ALGON’s general assembly seeks devolution of powers, both financial and administrative, with concomitant fiscal devolution. He said that this is in addition to the request for complete autonomy for local government area councils for effective administration and service delivery to the people noting that such would require the review of the 1999 constitution as relates to local government administration and uniform tenure of the 4-year term for local government administration among others.
What this means
The establishment of such micro-enterprises by the Federal Government will create jobs especially among the unemployed youths and help to boost the economy. This is as the nation tries to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, businesses and households.
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