By Jonah Nwokpoku
Africa Internet Group, AIG has received additional investments totalling $245 million, about N48 billion, from South African telecoms group, MTN, American investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs and Rocket Internet. Recall that MTN had bought 33 per cent in AIG in 2014 to join other AIG shareholders including Rocket Internet. AIG, founded in Nigeria in 2012 as an e-commerce conglomerate has leveraged deepening internet penetration in emerging markets including growing middle class to meet increasing demands for online products.
Over the past three years, the group has launched and operated e-commerce companies in 26 countries across Africa. These companies include: Online retailer, Jumia.com, food delivery app HelloFood, hotel booking platform Jovago, online real estate marketplace Lamudi, online marketplace, Kaymu.com, taxi hailing app,EasyTaxi and online vehicle marketplace, Carmudi.com. Recall that barely a month ago; AIG raised £75 million by selling 8 per cent stake of the company to French insurance giant, AXA.
Speaking on the investments, Founders and Co-CEOs of Jumia and AIG, Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara said the funds will significantly strengthen the balance sheet of AIG enabling the company to leverage the significant growth of Jumia and other AIG subsidiaries and to capitalize on the significant opportunities in Africa.
“This investment is recognition of the success that Jumia has already achieved and provides us with a strategic flexibility to further support our efforts to offer the best shopping experience to our customers,” said Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodar in a joint statement made available to Vanguard, adding, “We are delighted to welcome AXA and Goldman Sachs as new investors and are also grateful for the continued confidence from our existing shareholders. To us, it is arecognition of the quality of our operations across the African continent and an affirmation of the significant growth potential of Jumia.”
The statement further said Jumia, intends to use the funds to support its continued growth, and to execute on attractive development opportunities in Africa along with AIG’s other e-commerce platforms.