Jumia, the pan-African e-commerce company, has partnered with Zipline to launch on-demand drone delivery in Ghana, with plans to expand the service to Nigeria and Ivory Coast in the near future.
Jumia said it will integrate its existing distribution network with Zipline’s automated on-demand delivery system for fast home deliveries, especially for shoppers living in remote areas.
The partnership follows Jumia’s growing penetration into rural Africa due to the expansion of its distribution and logistics networks, with data showing that these regions accounted for 27% of the site’s orders last year.
“Using the latest technology for instant logistics will allow Jumia to offer our users on-demand delivery of the products they need – instantly. Zipline’s instant logistics system will ensure quick and convenient access. This will support Jumia’s commitment to sustainability and innovation and provide much-needed access to rural and remote areas where conventional delivery services have challenges,” Jumia Group EVP Apoorva Kumar said in a statement.
The drones deployed in Ghana have a maximum payload of 11.8 liters or 6.6 lbs (3 kg), meaning only a select few products will be delivered through the service.
“Zipline is pleased to partner with Jumia to use instant logistics to improve the lives of customers in Africa. This collaboration will increase access to goods for customers and help SMEs grow. Zipline’s secure and efficient instant logistics system will make shopping on Jumia even more convenient, sustainable and affordable for customers,” said Zipline Africa Senior Vice President Daniel Marfo.
Jumia said the launch comes after a successful pilot between its centers in Ghana.
The partnership also follows Jumia’s recent efforts to increase green delivery capabilities following recent deals with electric vehicle firms Solar Taxi in Ghana and eBee in Kenya.
Zipline, which launched in 2014, began operations in Rwanda and later in Ghana, where it uses its autonomous electric drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies, including blood and vaccines. The startup has since expanded to other countries in Africa and US where it is a logistics provider for a number of companies including Novant Health and a retail giant Walmart.