Africa Internet Group and French insurer Axa SA (ADR) (OTCMKTS:AXAHY) announced on Monday that they had formed a partnership, whereby AXA will be the exclusive provider of insurance to AIG and also had invested $84 million in the company taking about 8% of the company’s stake. Africa Internet Group currently owns several start-ups including Kaymu- online shopping, Hellofood- Food delivery, Jovago – travel, Lamudi- real estate classified, Carmudi- cars and Everjobs-jobs and Online retailer Jumia. This gives the company a valuation of $1.04 billion.
There has been a growing demand for online products within the African more developed market and this has attracted the attention of ever-increasing investors. AXA joins others firms as partners of Africa Internet Group. These include Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) – the largest cell phone operator in Africa, Millicom International Cellular SA (USA)(OTCMKTS:MIICF) and Rocket Internet SE (FRA:RKET) .
AIG, which was founded in Africa, with a similar sales approach like Amazon. It becomes the first African tech start-up to pass the $1 billion valuation mark. According to Herman Chinery-Hess, a leading tech entrepreneur in Ghana, he noted that this is very positive news for Africa’s technology, it is an indication that Africa is entering the global market. He, however, noted that companies should be wary of importing technology which might not be applicable during this stage.
According to Jeremy Hodara, who is the founder and co-CEO of Jumia and AIG, he noted that the Internet is creating opportunities for both customers and business. It is also providing a platform for doing business in a different manner. He noted that he expects Africa’s e-commerce and online businesses to develop in a rapid manner since there has been the substantial growth of the middle class and also the ever increasing mobile phones and a high rate of penetrating Internet.
Smartphone have been transforming how Africans work and live. By 2025, the continent is projected to have over 360m smartphones and internet penetration will have hit 50%. This is according to McKinsey Consultants.
AXA is aiming at tapping to the continent’s fast developing financial services market and high growth of smartphones through offering insurance through Jumia.
Jumia, which is AIG’s main subsidiary, operates in 11 markets within Africa. It transactions grew 265% during the months of 2015 to reach €206 million. This is according to AIG.