Jumia, one of Africa’s most prominent e-commerce platforms, laid off employees in Kenya and other African markets in January 2024, one month after it exited Jumia Food, its food delivery business. The number of employees affected by the layoffs was not disclosed.

“News about layoffs was shared last week but no communication was made about who was affected and you’re still expected to work,” one Jumia employee wrote on Glassdoor on February 5, 2024.

This year’s layoffs come one year after Jumia fired 900 staff as part of attempts to cut costs and guide the company toward profitability. Some other employees were moved to different roles within the company, the company told TechCabal.

“As we continue to review our investment and innovation in our operations, we are refocusing teams and resources on activities and projects to support our path to profitability,” the e-commerce giant told TechCabal in an email on Thursday.

“Based on this, we are making some adjustments to our organisational setup in several countries including Kenya to better optimise our capital and continue to seek cost efficiencies, just like any other company. We remain confident about the future of e-commerce in Kenya and Africa and will continue to offer our services to consumers and vendors through Jumia.”

Jumia eased into the discontinuation of its food delivery business by ceasing operations in Ghana, Senegal, and Egypt in early 2023.

By the end of 2023, it had fully exited the business and removed the Jumia Food app from app stores. The company said food delivery was not sustainable, as it was forced to compete with more aggressive players.

Under the leadership of Francis Dufay, Jumia has emphasised cost discipline and cutting operational costs. Its Q4 2023 report, released today, showed that the company is making progress, with operational losses down to $4.5 million for the quarter and cuts in its advertising expense.

Inflation and currency devaluation in some of its key markets continue to pose a challenge as revenue and gross merchandise value, a metric that represents the value of all goods sold on the platform, reduced.

Nevertheless, the company insists that cost discipline and some positive signs in other markets will be crucial in reaching profitability.

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