Elon Musk’s Starlink Ventures into Africa with Jumia Partnership

In a move set to revolutionise internet accessibility in Africa, Elon Musk‘s SpaceX has forged a strategic partnership with e-commerce giant Jumia Technologies AG.

This aims to expand Starlink’s satellite broadband services across Africa, marking a significant step toward bridging the digital divide in the region.


Jumia’s As The Gateway


Under this partnership, Jumia, bolstered by investors like Pernod Ricard SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will serve as the primary distributor for Starlink’s satellite terminals and related equipment.

Starting in Nigeria and gradually extending its reach, Jumia will provide the much-needed sales and distribution network for Starlink, facilitating the availability of satellite broadband services in regions lacking formal addresses and city mapping.


Overcoming Historical Challenges


Africa has historically had limited internet penetration, especially in remote and underserved areas.

Traditional providers such as MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd. have faced challenges in rolling out broadband in these regions. The unique terminals offered by Starlink, connecting to low-earth orbit satellites, present an innovative solution.

By reducing the need for extensive infrastructure, these terminals could bring broadband services to the doorstep of millions of Africans.



Learning from Past Ventures


The collaboration between SpaceX’s Starlink and Jumia showcases a new way to provide high-speed internet in Africa. Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google both experimented with ambitious projects involving drones and helium-filled balloons, respectively, but these initiatives failed to achieve sustainable success.

Starlink’s network of small satellites, communicating through user terminals, offer a more promising approach. However, the challenge lies in the cost, with a standard Starlink terminal priced at 435,000 naira ($557) in Nigeria.


Jumia’s Advantage


Jumia’s Chief Commercial Officer, Hisham El Gabry, emphasiwed the company’s position in navigating the complex landscape of African e-commerce.

Having used their expertise to establish business models, transportation networks, and even mapping solutions, Jumia possesses the necessary experience to ensure the success of this venture. With plans to extend Starlink’s products to all 11 African countries where it operates, Jumia is well-positioned to play an important role in transforming Africa’s digital landscape.


A Glimpse into the Future


While specific details about the partnership are yet to be fully disclosed, the collaboration between Starlink and Jumia holds huge promise. By leveraging the power of technology and e-commerce, this has the potential to usher in a new era of connectivity for Africa.