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A Techpreneur and the owner of the  building Jumia used in Cameroon, Rebecca Enonchong has picked holes in the operations of the e-commerce giant, which she alleged led to the shutdown of the firm in the Central African state.

The Chief Executive Officer, Appstech, who took to twitter some hours Jumia shut its operations in the country, alleged that the firm used to stock fake merchandise and treated its workers unfairly. She noted that these two things, among others, led to the company’s failure in Cameroon.

Enonchong is a technology entrepreneur in Cameroon where she founded AppsTech. She also chairs ActivSpaces (African Center for Technology Innovation and Ventures), supporting entrepreneurs from two tech hubs in Cameroon.

This was the reason she housed Jumia’s online marketplace when Rocket Internet, Jumia’s parent company made an inroad into Cameroon’s e-commerce space. Enonchong offered her conference room at AppsTech free of charge to help launch Jumia Cameroon in 2014.

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Jumia’s dirty linen in public

Enonchong’s condemnation of Jumia had begun in 2016 in a mail she sent to the company. She had watched the company’s development in the last five years, but her anger was only made public after Jumia shut down operation in Cameroon on Monday.

Though the company said its operation is not suitable for the Cameroonian market, Enonchong thought otherwise. She said Jumia’s failure began with the way its employees were treated and the managerial skills of those who led the company in the country.

“Jumia shut down its Cameroon operations this morning, firing its entire staff, no public announcement, no special word from the group or its CEO. The brutality of the news to the staff echoes their management style and is, I believe, one of the reasons for its demise.”

[READ MORE: Like Gabon, Congo, Jumia shuts down operations in Cameroon]

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She disclosed that few months into Jumia’s operation in Cameroon, employees were already being treated with disrespect and no one cared about the feedback brought by the staff that went into the field.

“It was just a few months but already staff was treated with such disrespect. I remember of people fired for very petty stuff and They were ruthless. On the whiteboard in the morning, the goals for signing up sellers. Every noon and end of day, staff had to give progress reports.


“I admired their ability to stick to a plan but it also showed their total inflexibility in adapting to the market. The staff (all contractors because they weren’t allowed to hire), would come back with feedback from the field. No one cared. No adjustments would be made,” she tweeted, adding in another post that, “The site was full of fake merchandise.”

Why Enonchong helped Jumia

The excitement that Rocket chose Cameroon to invest in influenced her action. Also, Enonchong’s empathy for the young lady assigned to lead the team in Cameroon and the fact that Jumia’s growth would be inspiring to other startups in the hub formed her decision.

“I watched this company from inception. When a young lady, newly arrived from France, was sent to start the Cameroon ops for Africa Internet Holdings, a RocketBerlin subsidiary. I was introduced to her and of course knew Rocket. I was excited that they chose to come to Cameroon.”

“She was super young, and this was her first trip to Cameroon and really her first real job. She was very dynamic and I wanted to help. I offered her the use of my conference room at AppsTech free of charge to help launch the company.”


Jumia is a badly run business

Enonchong further criticised Jumia’s operation, stating that the company didn’t understand the market. She disclosed how the managers at the helm of affairs were always foreigners. According to her, if a company wants to be successful, it must have good relationships with its community and all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

In one of her tweets, she stated that, “It became clearer to me that the now rebranded Jumia wasn’t at all interested in a long term business. They were interested in just a few KPIs that would look good to investors or possible acquirers. The pressure to make those numbers is same as what caused fraud in Nigeria.”

[READ ALSO: Q3 ’19: Jumia grows revenue by 52%]

She added that, “Beyond #JumiaIsNotAfrican, $JMIA is simply a badly run business that is incapable of understanding its market, refuses to act as a good corporate citizen, and thinks Africans are simply a commodity, a means to an end. No business with that attitude can succeed in the long term.”



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