Food is where the money's at
Meet Rebecca Enonchong, Going Green in Africa, Jumia wants to focus more on food
It's Women's History Month. We’d be highlighting a few outstanding African women in every edition of Cloout this month.
Meet Rebecca Enonchong
Last month, The WHO Foundation appointed Rebecca Enonchong as its Vice-Chair and a new member of its board of eight international experts.
Enonchong is a Cameroonian born technology entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a leading global provider of enterprise application solutions. She’s the board chair of AfriLabs (the largest network of tech hubs in Africa) and ActivSpaces (African Center for Technology Innovation and Ventures), as well as a board member of Salesforce. She was named as one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Africa.
Hear her talk about challenges faced
“All the time. When I started my company, I knew the types of customers I needed were very large companies and I quickly realised that many of them were not going to give such a big contract to this Black, African woman. So in the beginning I hid behind a corporate structure. For instance, my business cards didn’t have a title. I simply worked for AppsTech. I would walk into a meeting and be a salesperson, engineer or whatever I needed to be at that moment in front of that particular customer. I didn’t lie. I didn’t have to because no one ever thought that it could be my company anyway. Even years later when I started using the title of CEO, most people believed I was just a front for somebody or some other entity.”
And on African narratives
“There’s a lot happening people aren’t aware of - there are tech hubs in Chad! But no one is talking about it – it’s a problem of narrative.”
She’s a big advocate of moving beyond Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town to support the countries lagging behind and also connect all of Africa.
Dig Deeper: Watch this 10 mins video of Rebecca Enonchong
Going Green in Africa
Solar and Wind energy make up only 3% of Africa’s power supply, according to the University of Oxford,
This figure may seem insignificant but the size and population of the continent using fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas) can have a direct impact on climate change.
Developed countries of the world have been talking about phasing out of fossil fuels through electric transportation and investing in businesses with a sustainability plan.
For Africa, the journey has just started...
In Africa, wind projects have been growing fast. In 2020, about 724MW of new capacity was added, bringing the total to 6468MW across the continent, equal to taking more than 2 million cars off the road. Wind is said to have the potential to power Africa’s energy demands 250 times over but the continent has only tapped into 0.01% of its potential.
South Africa has the greatest amount of wind capacity at the moment. But the country is also heavily reliant on coal, making it one of the world's top emitters of carbon dioxide, a key driver of climate change. The South African government has pledged to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
The Kingdom of Morocco’s solar plan, which is one of the world’s largest solar energy projects and estimated to cost about $9 billion, was introduced in November 2009 with the aim of establishing 2,000 MW of solar power by 2020. Morocco, the only African country to have a power cable link to Europe, aims to benefit from energy sales to Europe.
In Nigeria, its government plans to deploy 5 million solar power connections in 25 million households in the country. The users of the solar system are expected to pay about N4000 (Naira) monthly over a 3-year period.
The country reportedly spends over N50 billion in subsidizing electricity so the change could help the govt spend less. We likey!
But jobs would be lost
One thing that has been talked about often in the move to a more sustainable future is that it could cost millions of jobs. The fossil fuel use industry is still quite big on the continent.
But not to worry. About 18,000 jobs have been created recently in the construction and maintenance of wind farms in South Africa. And there’s more...its wind farms are built on an annual basis, creating a continuous job creation trend.
In Rwanda, the government has provided a National Electrification mapping plan to identify the best suitable locations to attract investors to mount their solar systems and create jobs.
Jumia wants to focus more on food
Last week we spoke about how African eCommerce giant, Jumia’s latest financial results hinted that it’s making significant progress towards profitability.
A reminder: Its operating loss reduced by 34% from €227 million in 2019 to €149 million in 2020.
In its quest to continue on this path it's going to focus more on food delivery.
Why so? That’s where the money’s at 20% of all transactions across the Jumia platform is made up of food and growing quickly. The e-commerce giant completed 5 million such orders in 2020.
Source: A 2016 study by the World Economic Forum
What’s next? Jumia will expand to Egypt following the exit of Uber Eats. The move into Egypt means Jumia is offering some form of delivery in 11 of its markets except South Africa, where Naspers-owned Mr D and Uber Eats dominate.
Why it matters
In 2020, demand for delivered meals and groceries exploded worldwide as restrictions to contain the coronavirus kept everyone indoors. Morgan Stanley estimated that the online delivery market hit $45 billion in 2020. Although in Africa, the trend has been slower to take off because internet connections remain sluggish and unaffordable for large parts of the population.
Jumia in its early days started off by focusing on selling high-end electronics but now it has come to realize that food is where the money’s at.
Worth reading 📚
“I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”
Wangari Maathai, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize