The online venture will combine San Francisco-based Zipline's automated, on-demand delivery system with Jumia's distribution network to enable customers from remote and rural areas to order products.
Jumia was the first African online marketplace to list on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. It has a current market capitalisation of $741 million, according to Refinitiv data.
Jumia Group Chief Operating Officer, Apoorva Kumar, told Reuters that the online new venture is part of Jumia's plan to reach its growing customer base in remote areas, which make up about 27% of the company's deliveries. He added that he could not give financial details of the project.
"This will provide much-needed access to rural and remote areas where conventional delivery services have challenges."
When movement of goods was restricted during the peak of COVID-19, drone deliveries of medical supplies and vaccines picked up pace as countries was trying to find new ways of delivery.
Amazon, United Parcel Service, FedEx Corp, and more shipping facilities are now looking beyond medical needs, with all working on several pilot programs to deliver household goods and other services to customers.
Zipline currently offers drone delivery of blood, vaccines and other medical equipment in Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria and the United States, with its most recent foray into Japan.
Jumia operates in 11 African countries and has more than 30 warehouses and 3,000 drop-off and pick-up stations in its logistics network.