UGANDA – Kenyan e-commerce startup Copia Global has suspended its African expansion plan and shut down its Ugandan operation barely two years after entry into the country.

The economic downturn and constrained capital markets, which are expected to persist as well as limited access to capital in Uganda, has forced the firm to withdraw its services, a move expected to affect about 350 jobs.

In 2021, Copia Group expanded into Uganda to provide “its unique mobile commerce service to millions of middle-class Ugandans.”

At the time, Tracey Turner, Copia Global Founder, and Chair said: “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 wants access to high-quality products at the best prices.” He also described it as the next step in fulfilling Copia’s mission. “

“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 Benjamindada.com.

According to Steel, the company will relaunch in Uganda and other parts of the continent in the near future, explaining that “Our Uganda business successfully demonstrated the demand for and replicability of the Copia model in bringing e-commerce to the Africa mass market.”

Copia launched a 24,000 square feet Fulfillment Centre last year, to make up for the increased demand for its services across 14 districts in the country.

Moreover, the startup has also suspended its African expansion plan after raising $50 million (Sh6.8 billion) from investors last year to spread its footprint into other markets, including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.

The decision was based on plans to accelerate its drive to profitability and focus all its resources on the operation in Kenya, enabling the business to reach profitability faster, at which point it shall resume the pan-African expansion plan.

In Kenya, Copia currently has about 11 regional depots and one fulfillment center at Tatu City—Kenya’s first operational special economic zone.

Recently, the 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.

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