A future in the stars

Spotify's expansion to Africa, Kenya Space Agency (KSA) is set to launch two mini-rockets, Jumia's 2020 financial results.

Hello there,

And so we say Goodbye to February - the shortest month in the year. 

Finally, Spotify

Spotify made a giant leap into Africa this week after neglecting the market for several years. 

What changed?
Alex Norström, an executive at the audio streaming platform said the company believes there could be more than 1 billion potential Spotify users.

Spotify is not just penetrating the African market but also expanding into 80 new markets from around the world in more than 36 new languages.

Before now: Spotify was only available in five African countries including South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. People who couldn't access the platform used Virtual Private Network to stream. It’s goodbye to using fake online and offline addresses.

What difference does this make?  Larger market and more money for Spotify as they will now be active in more than 173 markets. More exposure for content creators in Africa. 

But not so fast, Spotify still has to compete with existing streaming platforms like Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal and even Mdundo - dubbed the Spotify of Africa.

Question: Would you ditch your current music platform for Spotify? 

Here’s our response

Bright: Done that already. As soon as Spotify came I deleted all my other music streaming apps.

Daniel: Nope! It’s tempting because of the podcasts but not compelling enough to leave Apple Music.

Dami: Naah, I’m fine with YouTube.

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A future in the stars

The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) is set to launch two mini-rockets from the Malindi Space Centre in collaboration with the University of Rome in August. 

The details

The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) was established in collaboration with Italy in 1964 to promote and regulate space-related activities in the country. In 2018, Kenya deployed its first satellite into orbit called 1KUNS-PF.

The two mini rockets are set to be launched using high altitude balloons, an improvement of the rockets that were launched in the 1980s and 1990s.

Why though?

It's quite simple. Data. There’s so much data that satellites in space can collect about space exploration as well as information in the fight against climate change, enhancement of agriculture or even identifying areas with minerals through earth observation.

Space tech going global

Before now, space travel had previously been dominated by superpowers like Russia and the United States. 

In July 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) satellite called Hope was launched into space to begin a Mars survey. China’s National Space Administration topped off a total of 34 space technology launches last year, while Guatemala, Monaco, Iran and Slovenia all completed their first satellite launches in 2020 as well.

Privatization of space tech

Elon Musk and his space exploration company SpaceX has managed to develop a renewed interest in space travel since 2012. Even just last year, it successfully completed a space mission called Demo-2 to transport two NASA astronauts from the US to space and back. 

Other private space exploration tech companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin have been collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) department of the US to share resources and plan launches.

What’s next?

Looking from our bird-eye view, we can say it’s a good omen that Kenya and Africa are part of the global space conversation. The chances of this being a money-making venture are slim but we have our space monitoring glasses😎 on to see what happens next.

Looks like progress

We’ve all probably been called a name or given a title we didn’t want to be called but gave up correcting others because we grew tired.

Yes, continue

Over the years Jumia has shunned being called the Amazon of Africa but its recent Q4 and 2020 full-year financial results hint that it might as well own that title. 

The results

Revenue: Jumia’s overall revenue slipped 15.3% in Q4 2020 to €41.8 million compared to €49.3 million in Q4 2019. On an annual basis, Jumia’s revenue fell 12.9% in 2020 to €139.6 million from €160.4 million in 2019.

Gross Merchandise Value (value of goods sold): Increased to €231.1 million in Q4  from €187million in Q3 2020. On an annual basis, GMV reduced from €1.03 billion to €836 million. 

Sales & Advertising expense: For the year it reduced from €56 million to €32.5 million, a declined of 42%. 

Operational loss: In Q4 it was €40 million, up from €28.3 million in Q3 2020.  But for the year, operating loss reduced by 34% from €227 million to €149 million.

What this means: Jumia has clearly cut down on its expenses, and in terms of sales, it decided to move from promoting high ticket items (such as electronics) to selling household items. This decision led to a reduction in GMV but is great for their business. This is because it’s making commissions on sales, advertising and logistics, unlike its former model where it tried to sell goods to customers. 

Big Picture: This result suggests significant progress towards profitability and declining losses. It’s gradually looking worthy of the title: The Amazon of Africa.

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

  • Anne Lamott (American author and poet)