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When Jumia Closed Shop in Tanzania, New Doors Opened for E-commerce

The newly-established delivery app industry in Tanzania is serving up old business in a new format, diversifying the e-commerce market and driving consumer behavior beyond Covid-19. When Zadok Prescott first started the home delivery application, Piki Tanzania, he only thought of it as a supplement to restaurant dining. However, when Tanzania also fell victim to the Covid-19 crisis in March, Piki, which was still new and the only established app of its kind in the country, soon became the only way some restaurants were doling out their services. At the end of November 2019, Jumia, Africa’s leading online retailer known as the ‘Amazon of Africa’, had shut its e-commerce operations in Tanzania in a review of its portfolio. However, ironically, since the beginning of 2020, in the very market that Jumia exited, multiple e-commerce platforms suddenly sprung up, from food and grocery delivery apps to ‘online malls’ that sell commercial goods, besieging a market still relatively new to online shopping and dining.