Four months after Jumia Food's exit, former drivers are still jobless across Africa

April 8, 2024
2 min read
Jumia Food
  • Four months after Jumia Food announced its exit from seven African countries — Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Uganda — the online food delivery gig workers are reportedly stranded.
  • Jumia said it was "downsizing" its food delivery business in these African countries because it did not align with its strategy, citing macroeconomic conditions in the seven markets.
  • According to Rest of World, the company's exit was especially devastating for many drivers because they had no notice or warning, leaving them unprepared for the recent turn of events. Most users were locked out of the app, with their remaining funds trapped for months after Jumia Foods' departure.

Former Jumia Food drivers in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda related stories of struggle, lamenting an excess of labour due to the company's sudden closure. Consequently, many drivers work odd jobs, such as construction and operating market stalls, to supplement their income.

In early 2023, the eCommerce platform discontinued its food delivery services in Ghana, Senegal, and Egypt. Jumia completed its exit from the food delivery business by the end of 2023, removing the Jumia Food app from app stores.

In January 2024, Jumia laid off employees in Kenya and several other African markets. The exact number of employees affected by these layoffs was not disclosed.

This round of layoffs followed a similar move by Jumia the previous year when it terminated 900 staff positions as part of cost-cutting measures aimed at achieving profitability. Some employees were reassigned to different roles within the company during this restructuring process.

According to Jumia, these adjustments to its organisational structure are aimed at optimising capital and achieving greater cost efficiencies, aligning with its overall strategy to pursue profitability.

In addition to Jumia Food's closure, Bolt Food, another major player in the African food delivery market, announced its exit from Nigeria and South Africa in December 2023.

Consequently, the sudden departure of these food delivery businesses has not only laid off hundreds of gig workers but also exposed the vulnerabilities and challenges that gig workers face in Africa's ever-expanding tech industry.

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