The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Jumia Uganda, an e-commerce company, have launched an online platform to enable small and medium enterprises to connect with consumers during physical distancing measures.
UNDP will provide smartphones, airtime, and data to be used by market vendors while Jumia Food will help via its dedicated app and website ordering platform that includes a last-mile distribution network, diverse set of payment methods, quality assurance, facilitation of training for the vendors, and growth marketing.
This initiative is a strategic opportunity to empower the informal sector, market vendors, small and medium enterprises, and produce markets, most of which are dominated by vulnerable groups like; women, youth, and persons with disabilities by connecting them with potential buyers. It will also connect rural farmers with the urban market.
The restrictions on movement have cut off hundreds of informal market vendors from their usual customers, affecting incomes and straining sustenance of livelihoods. For the initial six months, the innovation will benefit vendors in Nakasero, Nakawa, Wandegeya, Bugolobi, and Kalerwe, all in Kampala city.
While officiating at the launch, the Minister of Trade, industry, and Cooperatives; Hon. Amelia Kyambadde said that “without the existence of these markets, the farmers will have no outlets for their goods, ensuring continuity of these markets, means giving farmers a chance to retain their source of livelihoods during COVID-19 and beyond.”
The UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Elsie Attafuah, speaking at the launch, held at Nakasero market in central Kampala explained “COVID-19 presents not only health but also a humanitarian and development crisis that is threatening to leave deep social, economic, and political scars for years. It is therefore important to build the national capacity to harness the digital economy to expand e-commerce to support supply chains to enable business continuity and support livelihoods.”
In wake of COVID-19, UNDP is supporting countries to plan, respond and recover from the crisis; and at the heart of this, is a concrete partnership and dynamic collaborations with both state and non-state actors including the private sector.
Jumia Uganda Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Ron Kawamara, said both the market vendors and the buyers will find it easy to use the Jumia Food Vendor App and it will offer the consumers a convenient, “Stay Home and Shop” service. “E-commerce digital platforms like Jumia are at the forefront of providing the informal sector and SMEs solutions to keep running and reaching customers during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”
How it works:
The model employs market agents, who validate the goods and services before they are dispatched. The agents ascertain that the goods meet the requisite quality, are hygienic, and securely packaged to ensure customer satisfaction and safety. Jumia will use its infrastructure which includes riders trained to provide safe and contactless deliveries, to provide a platform for the vendors to reach customers who are currently under lockdown.
Consumers will have the option of giving feedback on the level of satisfaction of both the product and the service through the Jumia Vendor App. The platform will also allow the market vendors to reach a large segment of customers that they have never reached and to track their daily sales.
The analytics from this partnership will be used to scale the offer to different customer segments and regions in the country and come up with more productions in different sectors.