Business

Copia closes shop in Uganda after two years

Although this restructuring is the company’s move to focus on profitability, the CEO says the company will relaunch in Uganda and other parts of the continent in the near future.

Copia Global, a Kenyan startup e-commerce platform has shut down its Ugandan operations due to the economic downturn to focus on its operations in the neighbouring country.

The business-to-consumer (B2C) platform expanded into Uganda in 2021 with the objective to provide “its unique mobile commerce service to millions of middle-class Ugandans”.

At the time (2021), Tracey Turner, Copia Global Founder and Chair said that “Uganda has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world with a hard-working population and a dynamic entrepreneurial culture.”

However, two years down the road, the company said the closure is part of its plans to halt its Africa expansion plans over the global economic downturn occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war.

“To accelerate Copia’s drive to profitability, the company is pausing its Africa expansion plans and suspending its recently established Uganda operation during this period.  “This decision is consistent with many of the best companies in Africa and across the world, which are responding to the market environment and prioritizing profit,” Tim Steel, CEO at Copia Global, said in a statement seen by DailyExpress.

“This highly focused approach will ensure that Copia is well positioned to pursue its pan-African ambitions with its proven formula for successful expansion to serve the 800 million middle- and low-income consumers through the power of e-commerce,” he added.

Although this restructuring is the company’s move to focus on profitability, the CEO says the company will relaunch in Uganda and other parts of the continent in the near future. According to Steel, “Our Uganda business successfully demonstrated the demand for and replicability of the Copia model in bringing e-commerce to the Africa mass market.”

With this exit, Steel said that the company will double down on its operations in Kenya. “The Kenya entity is rapidly growing its e-commerce service, providing middle-income consumers with an unrivaled high-quality, low-cost, distribution capability, built on a network of more than 50,000 agents. This service also provides local manufacturers with a unique, efficient route to market,” he added.

In Kenya, Copia currently has about 11 regional depots and one fulfillment centre at Tatu City—Kenya’s first operational special economic zone. Recently, the B2B e-commerce startup launched private label pulses as part of its growing range of private label offerings to its consumers, this was months after the company unveiled a new manufacturing unit to increase its output of affordable sugar and rice to the Kenyan market.

Copia Global is an e-commerce platform serving middle and low-income Africans in Kenya and Uganda [until now].

Launched in Kenya in 2013, Copia harnesses mobile technologies, a network of local Agents, and proprietary Copia Logistics to reach a market that formal retail and Western e-commerce models cannot. Copia brings quality products at the lowest market prices delivered at no cost to thousands of customers every day.

As of February 2023, the company fulfilled more than 13 million orders in both countries through a network of over 43,000 agents. It was founded in 2013.

Operating its own technology-enabled advanced logistics service, Copia can deliver to the most remote locations, even in places with poor road infrastructure or lack of addresses, at no additional cost to the customer.

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