he International Financial Corporation, which is the arm of the World Bank that helps the private sector, and Jumia, the largest online business platform in Africa, said in a new report that the pandemic has hurt sales for women’s online businesses by 39%. In comparison, male-led businesses saw sales drop only 28%. Charlotte Ntim analyzes disruptive technologies for the IFC’s gender and economic inclusion group.
She says there are more women in high-competition fields like beauty products, where it is hard for individuals to distinguish themselves. “When you think of selling for example in beauty, just beyond high levels of competition, when you think about with the pandemic and the closure of borders having to get products in from different parts of the world to sell online that presents a whole other challenge,” Ntim said.
“A lot of the challenges are impacted by the spaces in which we find women.” Jumia, Checkers, Sixty60, Konga, and Kilimall platforms have made Africa’s online shopping flourish. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says African online shopping has increased by 18% since 2014, compared to a 12% increase globally. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit women’s businesses especially hard.