New York — Jumia Technologies shares soared by 75% on their first day of trading in New York, as investors rushed to buy into the company’s plans to extend online shopping services across Africa. The stock traded at $25.46 on Friday afternoon, valuing the company at more than $1.9bn. Jumia earlier raised $196m with the sale of 13.5-million American depositary receipts at $14.50 each. The listing caps seven years of growth for Jumia, founded by 38-year-old French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara in 2012 and now has more than 4-million customers in 14 African countries. While the retail platform is not profitable, sales jumped by almost 40% in 2018 to €130.6m.

“This is about awareness,” Poignonnec said in a phone interview. “Millions and millions of Africans are yet to realise the benefits of e-commerce.” The company has headquarters in Berlin and got early funding from German start-up incubator Rocket Internet, while its biggest shareholder is MTN Group, Afr...

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