Jumia restructures operations, appoints Vinod East Africa boss

East Africa operations. Mr Vinod Goel now takes direct charge of the Jumia East Africa operations in both Uganda and Kenya. Photo / file

What you need to know:

  • Mr Vinod Goel, who was appointed Jumia Uganda chief executive officer in 2022, will now take charge of both the Jumia Uganda and Kenya units. 

Jumia Technologies has restructured its operations in East Africa, appointing Mr Vinod Goel to head the region. 
The new structure creates a centralised operational zone for the region, in which the two units in Uganda and Kenya, will be under the direct leadership of Mr Vinod. 
His appointment aligns with the New York Stock Exchange-listed company’s strategy of developing senior leadership in key regional markets. 

The strategy has already been piloted and is working well in West Africa where Jumia generates substantial collaborations in different countries within the region. 
The move also seeks to optimise the efficient operation of Jumia’s subsidiaries at a time when East Africa is entering a growth phase, which is key in accelerating growth to achieve a sustainable profit position for Africa’s e-commerce giant. 

Mr Vinod has been Jumia Uganda’s chief executive officer since 2022, having replaced Mr Ron Kawamara in November of the same year, who Jumia said had left for new challenges after leading the company for nine years. 

In a statement shared by Jumia Uganda, the e-commerce platform noted that in less than two years since taking over the helm in Uganda, he “had overseen notable growth in both top-line revenue and sharp unit economics, noting that: “Now, as he steps into this new role, we are confident in his ability to drive growth and profitability in our … operations during this crucial growth phase”. 

Mr Vinod was not readily available for a comment, especially on his plans for the region, but in a statement he said: “I am deeply honored and excited to lead Jumia’s operations in Uganda and Kenya during this exciting phase of growth, noting that: “Our commitment to delivering an innovative, convenient, and affordable online shopping experience remains unwavering.” 
He takes over leadership of the two units after the exit of Charles Ballard, who about two weeks ago, left Jumia Kenya, moving to Twiga Foods, an agritech business with operations in Uganda and Kenya. 
Jumia will also be counting on his experience to help the wider group return to profitability, which has eluded the e-commerce platform for over three years now. 

It is difficult to accurately report on the performance of the two markets in Uganda and Kenya, but at the group level Jumia Technologies reported a loss, albeit reduced. 
During the quarter ended March, Jumia reported an increase in group gross merchandise value, which rose by 5 percent to $181m, while gross revenues increased by 19 percent to $49m. 

However, this was not enough to enhance a positive profit position, with the operating loss dropping by 71 percent to $8m from $28m in the same period last year due to a surge in demand for electronics, home and living products and a 30 percent reduction in marketing expenses. 
Last year, Jumia announced the closure of its food delivery business to focus on the physical goods business and JumiaPay, which resulted in a drop in cash burn from $22m to $19.1m.
Jumia now boasts a liquidity position of $101.5m, of which 79 percent is held in US dollars to minimise currency losses, which in the 2024 first quarter stood at $5.9m due to currency depreciations in Egypt and Nigeria, some of the countries that host some of the e-commerce’s key subsidiaries. 

In a televised interview, Mr Francis Dufay, the Jumia Group chief executive officer, said the business was in the middle of the turnaround, noting that it was important to give customers more affordable products, particularly in countries impacted by a difficult macroeconomic environment.
“We believe that we are sufficiently capitalised. We are seeing strong improvement and we can break even with the cash we have,” he said last week. 

Who is Vinod
Improving shipping operations
After joining Jumia in 2020, Mr Vinod oversaw worldwide fulfillment operations, which improved the effectiveness and scope of the e-commerce’s shipping operations throughout all of its markets.
He has previously worked with Holcim, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Lafarge Group, where he held positions in strategy, finance, and supply chain management after starting his career as a software engineer at HCLTech in India.

He holds a bachelor of science in engineering and dual master of business degree from MDI Gurgaon, India and an ESCP in London, United Kingodom.