Copia Global – One Of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies Is Empowering African Women To Empower Other African Women

With the conclusion of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), one of the constant issues on the agenda was Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, gender equality. Gender inequality is a major hindrance to development across Africa, costing the continent over $95 billion, and threatens sustainable peace. As a result, SDG 5 is central to the 2030 Agenda, as empowering women through gainful employment will contribute to the financial well-being of their families, communities, and the continent at large. 

Copia Global is the only B2C platform providing e-commerce solutions for the rapidly growing 750 million middle to low-income African consumers using mobile applications, agent networks, and an innovative last-mile logistics system. Since its launch, Copia’s agent network has grown to 81% women serving a customer base that is made up of 75% of women. 

Working with Copia Global increases foot traffic to these agents’ respective stores, thereby increasing their overall income. The increased income of these Copia female Agents has a multiplier effect on the community. Through this, its customer base is empowered by having access to essential and high-quality products at the lowest possible rates, delivered for free. Copia’s business model organically meets the SDG 5 objective of gender equality and is an example of a female-founded startup supporting African women who are, in turn, empowering other African women. 

Launching in Kenya in 2013 and expanding to Uganda last year, Copia announced its $50 million Series C fundraising announcement in January. When Copia launched, the vision was clear for Silicon Valley veteran Tracey Turner, the Founder and Chairman of Copia Global: to provide mobile and USSD-enabled shopping where there is no internet, quality customer service, low trust, and last-mile deliveries where there are no paved roads or addresses. Nine years after launch, Copia has processed over 13 million orders and served 1.9 million customers through its 38,000 digitally-enabled agents in Kenya and Uganda. 

Providing e-commerce services to middle to low-income consumers who predominately live in rural areas presents several challenges, including lower consumer spending power, a lack of addresses, and poor road infrastructure. One of the ways Copia Global makes life easier for its customers is by delivering products through its agents. These agents, who are also local business owners, act as delivery points and accept cash from unbanked customers who do not have access to digital payment options. 

Advancing women’s equality in Africa can deliver a significant growth dividend that could add up to $316 billion or 10 percent to the continent’s GDP by 2025. With the recent launch of its financial and device financing services, Copia demonstrates its commitment to expanding access and inclusion for African women. These services will continue to empower female Agents and improve women’s access to credit facilities and smartphones, helping to close the gender inequality gap on the continent. 

Copia’s unique e-commerce business model has attracted global attention and recognition, resulting in recent awards, including being listed by the Financial Times as one of Africa’s 75 fastest-growing companies in 2022, as well as winning Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards (ASCEA), Kenyan E-commerce Awards, Digital Tech 100 Excellence Award, and AgTech Breakthrough Awards. 

Copia continues to scale and is projected to expand across Africa next year.