B2C platform Copia suspends operations in Uganda due to ‘downturn’

By our News Team | 2023

Expansion plans for Rwanda and Tanzania also on hold as company re-focuses its efforts on the Kenyan market.

Copia, the Kenyan-based B2C buying platform, has suspended its business operations in Uganda – less than two years after entering the market and only months after opening a 2,230m2 logistics hub in Kampala to serve 14 districts in the country.

The global economic downturn and constrained capital markets have been cited as reasons for Copia pausing its African expansion plans, which until recently included moves into Rwanda and Tanzania.

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Instead, Copia will now focus on its core market of Kenya. The market is highly competitive when it comes to online buying platforms serving both the B2C and B2B grocery markets. Among the players are Jumia, Twiga, Wasoko, Marketforce, TopUp Mama and Omnibiz.

“Given [that] the economic downturn and constrained capital markets are expected to continue for some time, Copia plans to double down on efforts to drive our founding Kenya business to sustainable, scaled profitability,” the company said in a statement.

Assure short-term profitability and long-term success

Added CEO Tim Steel: “This is the right move for Copia given the market environment … by focusing our resources on our Kenyan business, we can assure short-term profitability and long-term success. This means pausing our international expansion plans, including suspending our Ugandan operation.”  

According to the technology news website TechCabal, Copia has notified its agents and customers in Uganda of its departure and is already paying out outstanding commissions to agents. More than 350 employees will be impacted by the decision to leave Uganda. The firm says affected employees have been provided with a severance package.

At the time of entering the Ugandan market in 2021, Copie’s founder, Tracey Turner, noted: “Uganda has one of the fastest-growing middle classes in the world with a hard-working population and a dynamic entrepreneurial culture. Copia is designed specifically to serve this high-growth but underserved consumer base who want access to high-quality products at the best prices.”

Says the website Tech in Africa: “Copia started in Kenya in 2013. It uses mobile technology, a network of local agents, and its operations to reach a market that traditional retail and Western e-commerce models can’t. It gives thousands of customers daily access to high-quality goods sold at the lowest prices on the market and shipped to them for free.”

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    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.