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NITDA launches technology and entrepreneurship scheme

The programme will create local content in Nigeria’s ICT space and jobs in the innovation and tech sector

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has launched its Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scheme that is specially designed for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Tech startups.

This was disclosed in a statement shared by the agency and signed by Head, Corporate Affairs, and External Relations, NITDA, Hadiza Umar. In the statement, she explained that the scheme, which targets young skilled Nigerians, would enable the digital economy needed for the growth of the nation’s economy.

She said, “It is part of Nigeria’s plan to create 100 million jobs in 10 years, and the program would be beneficial for ICT and tech startups in the nation. There is the need to build support systems that would help in reducing the barriers of entry for startups while increasing the capacity of hubs and startups to create new bankable products and services.

“NITDA initiated a scheme to provide opportunities for building the capacity of both hub owners and start-ups to ensure massive creation of technology entrepreneurs and jobs within the industry.” 

According to her, the Digital economic Policy goes in line with the NITDA scheme which ensures skilled hub managers have the necessary support for tech startups and “build innovation ecosystems in their localities.

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READ MORE: NCC creates digital economy department to harness technology in Nigeria

 “It will also build the capacity of hubs to support startups and build local innovation ecosystems, encourage innovation, increase technology and entrepreneurship skills among aspiring and existing entrepreneurs” she added.

She also said the programme will help create local content in Nigeria’s ICT space, render services, and jobs in the innovation and tech sector. The hub managers are required to sign agreements with NITDA to enable them to train managers for other regions. Covering infrastructure needs like Internet and power supply. 

 “The participants will also be matched with mentors and guided by coaches as they build out their products and services. At the end of the training period, participants will be required to choose if they would like to begin a startup or to get a job,” she added.

She revealed that those who sign up will be placed in a six-month incubator programme which will allow them to gain skills and work experiences needed to build a digital economy. Interested participants are advised to apply, as the portal closes on the 24 of July. See the portal here

 

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FEATURED

Jumia confirms COVID-19 lockdowns did not help e-commerce revenues

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Jumia is optimistic of COVID-19 boost, despite poor Q1 2020 earnings report

Africa’s leading e-commerce firm Jumia released its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday showing it incurred a loss of Eur 37.6 million (N17.1 billion) in the second quarter of 2020 despite the rampaging effect of COVID-19.

According to Jumia, it did not experience any “meaningful change in consumer behavior” following the COVID-19 induced shutdown.

READ MORE: Apapa Command’s revenue rises 10.59% to N227.3 billion in the first half of 2020 – Customs 

Contemporary views suggest e-commerce firms were one of the winners in the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown. However, the company reported significant challenges to its operations. Here is how Jumia responded;

  • In Nigeria and South Africa, we faced significant disruption as a result of movement restriction.
  • This disruption persisted during the early part of the second quarter of 2020, before gradually easing towards the later part of the quarter.
  • Our food delivery business, Jumia Food, which was negatively impacted by restaurant shutdowns starting mid-March, resumed normal operations in late May/early June in most cities where we operate the service.
  • Across the majority of our addressable market, we experienced no meaningful change in consumer behavior, aside from increased demand for essential and every-day products and reduced appetite for higher ticket size, discretionary purchases.
  • The nature of lockdown measures put in place consisted mostly of localized restrictions of movement and partial curfews rather than nationwide lockdowns, with the former leading to less drastic changes in consumer lifestyles and behavior than all-encompassing, nationwide lockdowns.

READ ALSO: Jumia CEOs to take salary cut, create support fund for workers

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What this means

Jumia’s revelations confirm fears that the COVID-19 lockdowns may not have positively impacted on the e-commerce sector whose business model requires that their gross merchandise volumes increase for them to improve margins.

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However, by confirming that Nigerians focussed more on essentials, the negative impact of the COVID-19 appears to be more severe than even expected.

Nigerians are perhaps also cautious about their spending, avoiding expenditures that do not speak to their immediate need such as food supplies, medicare, and utilities.

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FEATURED

Jumia reports N17.1 billion loss in Q2 as COVID-19 fail to boost revenue

Jumia reported a loss after tax of Eur 37.6 million (N17 billion) in the second quarter of 2020.

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Q3 ’19: Jumia grows revenue by 52%

One of Africa’s leading e-commerce companies, Jumia reported a loss after tax of Eur 37.6 million (N17 billion) in the second quarter of 2020 despite the rampaging effect of COVID-19.

E-commerce firms were expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of COVID-19 pandemic as consumers gravitated to online orders to meet essential needs.

The losses were a much improvement from the Eur 66.7 million loss reported in the same period in 2019 as Jumia strives to dig itself out of massive loss hole. However, the losses wiped out Jumia’s revenue of Eur 34.9 million reported in the quarter under review.

READ ALSO: Despite shutdown, Caverton rakes in N8billion in Helicopter and Aircraft revenues

On Customer Acquisition, Jumia reports it now has 6.8 million active customers as in the second quarter of 2020 up 40% when compared to the same quarter in 2019. Orders also reached 6.8 million up 8%, while GMV was €228.3 million, down 13% on a year-over-year basis.

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Jumia explained the results as follows;

“We have made significant progress on our path to profitability in the second quarter of 2020, with Operating loss decreasing 44% year-over-year to €37.6 million. This was achieved thanks to an all-time high Gross Profit after Fulfillment expense of €6.0 million and record levels of marketing efficiency with Sales & Advertising expense decreasing by 51% year-over-year,” Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Jumia.

He continued, “We are navigating these uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic with strong financial discipline and operational agility which positions us to emerge from this crisis stronger and even more relevant to our consumers, sellers, and communities.”

READ MORE: Nigerian Treasury bills fall to 5.3% per annum

Results Review

A cursory look at the results reveals Jumia reported revenue of Eur 34.9 million compared to Eur 38.8 million same period in 2019. Whilst Jumia reported significant revenue growth in key Platform revenue segments such as Commissions, Fulfillment, Marketing & Advertising it lost big in its First Party revenue. The First Party revenue are closed sales leads generated when customers directly visit an e-commerce website or call or contact them directly to make purchases.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Best bank in Nigeria judging by the numbers

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Jumia reported that First Party revenue fell a whopping 49.1% YoY to Eur 11 million compared to Eur 21.6 million the same period in 2019. Despite the drop in revenues, Jumia experienced a growth in gross profit as a change in its business model helped reduce the direct cost of sales. In the quarter under review, gross profit rose 38.2% to Eur 23.3 million.

The company claims cost-cutting was driven by cost efficiency initiatives. For example, it explains that it “changed the volume pricing model from a price per successfully delivered package to a price per successful stop which led to a c. 8% reduction in cost per order for a given route. Our third party logistics partners are now paid per successful stop at customer address, regardless of the number of packages included in the delivery”.

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It also claimed it adopted a mother-daughter warehouse system which brings warehouses stocked with “essential products” closer to customers helping reduce last-mile delivery cost.

Jumia’s Ebitda closed at Eur 32.9 million compared to Eur 44.4 million the same period last year representing a 25.9% drop in Ebitda losses. Jumia’s accumulated losses are now a staggering Eur 1.17 billion while its net assets are just Eur 108.4 million. Jumia’s loans total about Eur 10 billion.

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Tech News

Facebook unveils F2 for payment and commerce plans, appoints David Marcus to head group

The F2 group will also pursue commerce opportunities across all the apps in the company.

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COVID 19: Facebook provides free Ads to help WHO combat Misinformation, Facebook to change Libra unveiling plans, Facebook launches new messaging app, 'Tuned', just for couples, Facebook bans racist ads, in response to ad boycotts by big brands

Facebook Inc has unveiled a new group, the Facebook Financial (F2), to run its payment projects including Facebook Pay, the universal payments plan which will run across all its apps. The F2 group will also pursue commerce opportunities across all the apps in the company.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the group will be headed by David Marcus, co-creator of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project and head of Novi, the division building a digital wallet for the new crypto.

Marcus will also be involved in WhatsApp’s payments efforts in India and Brazil, while he will be assisted by former Upwork Chief Executive Officer, Stephane Kasriel who will serve as a payments vice president.

READ ALSO: President Trump finally bans TikTok, WeChat

“We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook, It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments,” Marcus said.

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According to the statement, this is only the latest effort to bring all of Facebook’s apps and products closer together. CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, had on many occasions announced plans to integrate all the company’s messaging services.

The president of the group, Marcus, explained that with users making more purchases across Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, the company’s advertising revenue is expected to grow. This is bearing in mind that users would be spending more time in the apps.

The top priority to be handled by the group is activating the payment solutions in India and Brazil, where regulations have stalled the company’s efforts to make WhatsApp a foremost destination for commerce.

READ MORE: Facebook brings digital payment to WhatsApp, begins test-run in Brazil

The Backstory: While presenting the company’s Q2 2020 results in July, Zuckerberg had expressed his excitement about the commercial aspect of the company’s messaging apps, saying that the trend will likely grow as payment options are rolled out in the company’s apps.

Note that the head of the new group, Marcus, is a payments expert who joined Facebook in 2014 from PayPal Holdings Inc. where he was president. He ran Facebook Messenger for four years before he was appointed to take charge of Libra and get the cryptocurrency running for cross border payments.

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