The uber-nisation of last-mile delivery in Africa

The “uber-nisation” of last-mile delivery in Africa is taking shape. Customer-centric mobile apps or messaging services, low cost delivery (e.g. motorbikes where possible) real- time tracking, easy payment (e.g.M-Pesa) and invoicing form the corner stone of these startups.

In South Africa WumDrop has evolved from a diaper subscription service to a last-mile delivery service via app, website, or API integration. The company operates in Cape Town and Johannesburg. PicUp makes use of WeChat and customers can select the distribution means (bicycle, scooter or vehicle), taking into consideration the size and type of package. Payments are made with debit card or WeChat e-wallet, powered by PayU. The South African landscape is getting more competitive with Sendr, Fastvan and Rush also entering the market. UberRUSH (Uber’s on-demand delivery network) is likely not far behind, with the recent launch of UberEATS in South Africa.

Kenya‘s Sendy, makes use on an Android app. Sendy recently expanded beyond their Nairobi base to the Lake Victoria port city of Kisumu. Payment are made via M- Pesa or credit card. Sendy also announced, that they are piloting last-mile drone deliveries in the Kenyan capital.

Ghana’s Aquantuo’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platform allows people to transport goods from one country to another, by using spare space in the bag or vehicle of an individual. The company employs an Android app.

In Nigeria, Metro Africa Xpress (MAX) and DropBuddies (website and Android app) are targeting the busy streets of Lagos, using vehicles or motorbikes. Jalo recently launched in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. The startup is offering an on-demand delivery application, focusing on “anything from food, laptops, to documents.” KOBO covers the whole country, and has 28 warehouses situated in major cities and highways. The startup targets mail and parcel deliveries, and allows independent operators, existing courier companies, and other third parties (including airlines) to sign up to provide logistics services.

Ethiopia‘s Besew operates like a peer-to-peer courier service and also targets deliveries outside of the capital Addis Ababa. The system taps into the traditional way of transport collaboration, often used in open markets (e.g. Mercato in Addis Ababa). To share transport cost (and reduce less than truck loads), customers can connect with individuals who plan a trip to the same location or direction, using the peer-to-peer system.