In the United States, Europe, and many parts of the developed world, we’ve become accustomed to “free” two-day shipping from nearly every online retailer. That innovation is largely thanks to the ubiquity and sheer efficiency of Amazon Prime. It is the dominant e-commerce sub-brand of our time, along with Alibaba’s Singles Day in China.

As consumers we often don’t realize how much these companies have changed our expectations until their services are unavailable. But for most of the world fast delivery is not possible, prohibitively expensive, or unreliable. Goods ordered online arrive more often in the span of two weeks or two months, if they ever get there.

Why is that? How is it holding back the growth of business in otherwise booming places like Kenya and Nigeria? And how have companies like Jumia, which operates in 12 African countries, as well as others in China and Indonesia already begun to solve for it?

In the first episode of The Gig Is Up podcast, analysts, consumers, and e-commerce insiders weigh on the challenge presented by the infamous “Last Mile” in some of Africa’s biggest cities, and how to overcome it.

“Do you know where you’re going?” The challenge of the Last Mile in African cities.
“Do you know where you’re going?” The challenge of the Last Mile in African cities.
Image: REUTERS/Joe Penney

This podcast is presented in collaboration by BFA and Quartz Africa. 

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