Mastercard Invests In Africa-Focused Unicorn Jumia


Mastercard will invest 50 million euros in Berlin-based Jumia Technologies, an online retailer focused on Africa, before its initial public offering in New York, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Mastercard will join other investors as well, like French drink maker Pernod Ricard, a company that bought a 5.1 percent stake in Jumia for 75 million euros late last year. MTN Group and Rocket Internet are also investors.

When Pernod invested, Jumia was worth 1.4 billion euros, which made the online retailer a unicorn, something that’s rare for an African company. The company is selling American Depositary Shares at $13 and $16, and they could potentially net as much as $216 million.

Mastercard’s involvement should help Jumia’s chances for a profitable share sale. The company has about 4 million customers in 14 African countries.

French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara founded Jumia with an eye on taking advantage of increasing internet usage in the continent and on offering items that are harder to get there, like high-end sunglasses and watches.

As part of the collaboration between the two companies, Mastercard agreed that it will help Jumia expand its operations. Mastercard “has been rapidly expanding its presence and partnerships in Africa, bringing new technologies,” said Elcin Yanik, a marketing executive with Mastercard.

In March, Mastercard announced that it was taking a big stake in Network International, a payments company servicing the Middle East.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Mastercard will take part in Network International’s initial public offering (IPO) in London in April by making a $300 million investment in the listing. It will amount to Mastercard purchasing 9.99 percent of Network International’s shares, according to the report.

Under the deal, Mastercard and Network International will also create a strategic partnership to drive adoption of digital payments in the Middle East and Africa. Network International has emerged as a leader in the Middle East in helping retailers accept cards as a payment method both in the physical world and online.

The payment sector in the Middle East has been seeing brisk business in recent years as more people use digital payments to make purchases.


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