Oxford MBA Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, has graced the cover of the March 2022 issue of Forbes Africa magazine.
Prince, an economist and entrepreneur, is Co-CEO of leading e-commerce brand Konga. It has become one of the largest online marketplaces in Africa, spanning consumers goods such as electronics, clothes, books, toys, furniture and groceries as well as healthcare.
He is speaking on a panel with Yele Bademosi CEO and Co-Founder of Nestcoin, at the Oxford Africa Business Forum (11 March 2022) on Disruptive Technology in Africa.
Prince commented about the Forbes honour:
‘This provides validation for all the hard work over the years, but it's also very humbling. I realise I’m on the right path along a journey.
‘After my undergraduate degree, I started a company Yudala - a small e-commerce start-up which we were able to scale very quickly. Three years later we acquired our competition Konga, which was the second largest player in the market at that time.’
The best aspects of both companies were merged, including logistics operations, to become the pre-eminent e-commerce company in Nigeria. Konga also offers a payment platform Konga Pay and travel platforms. Prince adds: ‘Once we have the customer base within our ecosystem, we’ll be able to offer them many more services within that network.’
Prince’s aim is for Konga to become the largest promoter of trade within Africa:
‘It’s a lot cheaper for me to ship goods from Dubai as opposed to Ghana which is 30 minutes from Nigeria. I want to leverage on international trade in Africa, working with different governments to make that happen.
‘Africa is such a powerful continent, with over 1 billion people. I believe that the strength of Africans really lies in the connectivity of African countries. Once we can create that connectivity – especially through trade – we’ll see an immense amount of value being created.’
Prince explained how the MBA is shaping his perspective as a CEO:
‘When you’re young and just completed uni, you feel like you can run the world, until reality hits! I learned many things, like accounting, on the job. The MBA has given me some formal validation on some of my top processes and allowed for some introspection about how I could do things better.
‘Another strong element of learning is from peers. I just closed a funding round for my company and a colleague gave me extremely valuable advice. Just the network of people that you’re surrounded by, are just willing to help you based on the fact that you’re part of this Oxford team.’
He is excited about the Oxford Africa Forum:
‘Africa is going to skip a beat – for example, it skipped the desktop phase and went straight to mobile phones. Blockchain technology provides a huge opportunity for more people to embrace decentralised finance. 80 million people in Nigeria are unbanked – this could solve a major problem.’
Picking up on the theme of Youth at the Forum, he commented:
‘Africa is in a very strong position – in Nigeria, 50% of the population is within the youth cohort. These are the future disruptors who are more likely to use technology than older groups. There is so much opportunity to impact change, based on our demographics. Our Senior Lecturer Tim Galpin says ‘Africa is the new China.’ I think it’s really exciting times.’
You can hear more from Prince on e-commerce in Africa and his strategies for expansion, on the Future of Business podcast run by Saïd Business School’s MBA community.