Africa's Jumia pairs with Zipline for drone deliveries

STORY: Africa-focused e-commerce business, Jumia Technologies, has partnered with a drone-delivery startup to carry household items to remote areas of Ghana.

The venture will combine San Francisco-based Zipline's automated delivery system with Jumia's distribution network to deliver products such as electronics, cosmetics and fashion.

Zipline currently offers drone delivery of blood, vaccines, and other medical equipment.

It's active in in Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, and the United States, with its most recent foray into Japan.

A Jumia spokesman said the partnership was part of a plan to reach a growing customer base in rural and remote areas, which make up about 27% of the company's deliveries.

The spokesman said he could not immediately give financial details.

Nevertheless, the loss-making company will be hoping the initiative helps profits take off.

In August Jumia said it expects full-year losses, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, of between $200 million and $220 million.

It did however say it was past peak losses.

Jumia was the first Africa-focused tech start-up to list on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019.

It operates in 11 of the continent's countries and has a current market capitalisation of $741 million, according to data from Refinitiv.

In a statement Jumia and Zipline said that, after a successful pilot program and testing in Ghana a few months ago, they plan to expand into Ivory Coast and Nigeria - but gave no time frame.