Global instant logistics specialist Zipline has forged a partnership with Africa’s largest e-commerce retailer, Jumia, to launch an on-demand drone delivery network with plans to eventually cover the whole continent.
Jumia has developed into an example of an African startup’s success over the years. It was the first tech success story in Africa when it was founded in 2016, and three years later it was listed on the NYSE. It has since become Africa’s biggest e-commerce retailer. Additionally, the company has given Africans thousands of jobs.
Currently, it has 350 third-party logistics partners, 10,000 independent sales agents, and 1,000 staff members. Since its inception, Jumia has also assisted over 100,000 SMEs in Africa in going online.
Zipline has established itself as the pioneer of instant logistics and automated, on-demand drone deliveries by launching and expanding the transport of medical supplies across Africa. This work is an essential component of national governments’ efforts to provide healthcare to even the most remote communities.
Indeed, the link-up of Jumia and Zipline in developing e-commerce drone delivery is one of giants in their respective industries coming together. The partnership combines Jumia’s distribution network, which now spans 11 countries, with Zipline’s automated, on-demand delivery system to enable customers in more remote areas to order and receive electronics, cosmetics, and other products. Zipline has existing medical and agricultural drone delivery activity in nations like Kenya and Rwanda and extensive experience in retail operations with Walmart in the US.
The project’s viability and the possibility of e-commerce drone delivery across the entire continent were shown in the pilot Zipline operated in Jumia’s Ghana trial.
The 2,500 km of flight in the dry run was used to test various product categories and use cases. Deliveries to distant Jumia hubs up to 85 km away were made in less than an hour, and throughout this time, all stakeholders had real-time visibility into the status of their orders.
“Zipline is pleased to partner with Jumia to use instant logistics to improve the lives of customers across Africa,” said Zipline Africa senior vice president Daniel Marfo. “This collaboration will increase access to goods for customers and help small and medium-sized businesses grow. Zipline’s safe and efficient instant logistics system will make shopping on Jumia even more convenient, sustainable, and accessible for its customers. “