Africa-focused e-commerce company, Jumia Technologies has partnered with drone delivery startup, Zipline, to deliver household items in remote areas of Ghana and soon, across Africa.
The company will combine San Francisco-based Zipline’s automated on-demand delivery system with Jumia’s distribution network to enable customers in remote and rural areas to order and receive electronics, cosmetics, fashion and other products.
Jumia, an online marketplace for grocery sellers and vendors with related services including logistics and payments, was the first Africa-focused tech startup to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. At the moment, it’s Current market capitalization is US $741 million according to Refinitiv.
The new alliance between these two organizations is part of Jumia’s plan to target its growing customer base in these areas, which account for about 27% of the company’s shipments, a Jumia spokesperson told Reuters, adding that it could not provide any financial details of the project immediately.
“This will provide much-needed access to rural and remote areas where traditional delivery services face challenges,” said Apoorva Kumar, director of operations for the Jumia Group.
Drone deliveries of medical supplies and vaccines gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic, as countries and companies raced to find innovative ways to reach people when the movement of goods was restricted.
Many companies are now looking beyond medical needs, with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N) all working on various pilot programs to provide home appliances and other customer services.
Zipline currently offers drone deliveries of blood, vaccines and other medical supplies in Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria and the United States, with its recent foray into Japan.
After a successful pilot program and trials in Ghana a few months ago, Jumia and Zipline plan to expand to Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, they said in a statement, but did not give a timeline.
Jumia operates in 11 African countries and has more than 30 warehouses and 3,000 delivery and collection points in its logistics network.