Could JumiaPay save the Amazon of Africa?

by | Nov 13, 2019

Prior to its initial public offering in April this year, Jumia reported an accumulated loss of €862.0 million (about $965.07 million) as of December 31, 2018.

Also, the eCommerce giant reported negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in its Q2 2019 results.

Jumia released its Q3 2019 results yesterday and in what seems like a trend, its EBITDA still recorded a negative value.

Figures from the two quarterly reports after its IPO suggest the company is likely going to record a higher yearly loss by the end of the year.

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The company’s adjusted EBITDA showed a loss of €45.4 million ($50 million) for Q3 2019 while it recorded €35.8 million ($39.43 million) for the same period last year. For Q2 2019, it was €44.4million ($48.9 million) and that of 2018 was €35.6 million ($39.21 million).

In spite of recording negative EBITDA for two quarters in a row after its IPO, the result is not all about the downside for the eCommerce giant. Jumia has a couple of upsides in the Q3, one of which is the impressive performance of JumiaPay as reported in the result.

Prospects for JumiaPay

During the Q2 2019 result presentation in August, Jumia Nigeria CEO, Juliet Anammah, revealed that two arms of the eCommerce giant — JumiaPay and Jumia Logistics — will be going solo.


Suggested Read: 5 things we learnt at Jumia’s Q2 2019 results presentation


In the Q3 results, JumiaPay recorded impressive figures and comments from Jumia Co-CEO, Sacha Poignonnec, point to the fact that the payment system is on the path to becoming a pan-African system.

Speaking during the earnings call, Sacha said, “On payments, we’re making great strides with JumiaPay, which is showing very strong growth momentum in both volume and transaction terms.”

According to the result, the total number of orders completed using JumiaPay in Q3 was 2.1 million, which is exactly the total volume done in the whole of 2018. Worthy of note is that cancellations, as well as returns, are factored in this figure.

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And the total amount paid using JumiaPay was €32 million ($35.24 million) in Q3 2019 from €16.4 million ($17.62 million) and €26 million ($28.64 million) in Q3 2018 and Q2 2019, respectively.

Referencing the likes of Alipay and Mercado Pago that spun-off from marketplaces, Sacha affirms that JumiaPay is following the same path, “leveraging our e-commerce platform to drive adoption of JumiaPay wallet with a view to ultimately create the leading payment system in Africa.”

Sacha claims that the company currently has three priorities.

“Number one, is to drive the adoption and penetration of JumiaPay within our own ecosystem to develop on-platform payment processing. Two, is to build our financial services marketplace so that our users, both consumers and sellers, will use JumiaPay to access financial services like loans, insurance, and many more. And three, is to start processing off-platform payments on behalf of third parties.”

According to Sacha, the payment system — which is currently live in six of the countries that Jumia operates in — is designed like a PayPal account, that can be linked by the consumer to many different payment methods.

As it is, Jumia is going all-in with its payment platform — allowing usage outside its platform while also offering financial services. This implies that JumiaPay isn’t just going the path of KongaPay as previously reported, it’s doing much more.

Allowing services like loans and insurance, among others, on JumiaPay somewhat positions the platform in the same league as Carbon (formerly Paylater) and OPay, among others.

Digital payment platforms in Nigeria, and Africa by extension, have been making waves in the past couple of years and it appears JumiaPay is positioning itself to be part of the future of payment in Africa.

JMIA at an all-time low, regardless

In spite of the impressive performance of Jumia’s payment system in the last quarter, the Q3 result didn’t go down well with investors as Jumia — trading as JMIA on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — closed at an all-time low.

Its share price closed at $5.84 — 14.49% lower than its opening price on November 12, 2019. The Q3 2019 result is the second quarterly report by the eCommerce giant after going public in April this year.


Suggested Read: How Jumia lost its unicorn status, shedding $2.6bn market cap in 6 months


It’s noteworthy that Jumia lost its unicorn status before its first six months on the NYSE ended and it’s currently trading at a single digit. The company’s market capitalisation is currently $457.9 million.

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