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A Jumia scooterman in Lagos in 2013. Photo: Pus Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Online retailer Jumia, which launched in Nigeria in 2012 and is attempting to become "Africa's Alibaba", has won the backing of Goldman Sachs and other big investors, the WSJ reports.

The big picture: "Jumia’s growth story outlines the scale of the challenge for African online retail. Faced with poor internet connections and tight bank lending for vendors and consumers, the startup has had to build from scratch much of the economic infrastructure within which to operate."

  • Details: "Jumia has expanded from four to 14 countries. Gross sales last year reached $597 million, up 42% from the year before. Its vendor network, from Cape Town, South Africa, to Casablanca, Morocco, includes up to 70,000 businesses offering their goods and services online."
  • How they're doing it: "Jumia executives have set up credit lines, offering loans to vetted vendors from the company’s balance sheet. They also hold training workshops on basic accounting and stock-keeping. To draw in shoppers uneasy about placing orders online, Jumia launched multinational marketing campaigns featuring some of the continent’s top pop stars and Black Friday events where buyers could win a live goat. Jumia also accepts cash on delivery, unlike most Western online retailers but similar to India’s Flipkart Group."

What to watch: "The advantage is that there’s no real retail industry to disrupt, no brick-and-mortar infrastructure to displace. It’s one of the leapfrog opportunities,' said Robin Miller, a partner at Dalberg, an emerging-markets advisory firm."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.

6 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.