Uber has established itself across the world as the solution to reducing congestion in rapidly urbanising cities. Ease of transport goes hand-in-hand with fast moving economies. As countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is characterized by rapid urbanization, it is clear that these countries continue to be a priority for Uber.
The United Nations Economic report on Africa for 2017 listed urbanisation as a mega-trend in SSA, with profound implications for the demographic profile of the continent and its socio-economic outlook. Half of Africa’s population will be living in urban areas by 2035. Each of those people will need jobs, access to services, and a solution to move freely and safely through the city they live in. This is where Uber will continue to play a vital role.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg Technology, Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber will continue to be passionate about expansion and would be ‘leaning forward’ in all continents, including SSA. In September 2017, Uber celebrated four years of active growth across SSA, with more than 1.8 million active riders using the app. Uber has noted repeat usage in countries such as South Africa, where the app is fast becoming a viable alternative to private car ownership. This provides more choice, and creates more opportunities for driver-partners to run thriving small local businesses. By the end of 2017, 29 000 driver-partners across SSA were taking advantage of the earning opportunities on the app.
Uber is just getting started, as it continues to invest in smart ideas to make its app relevant and helpful to the unique needs of each of the cities it operates in. Multiple vehicle financing programmes have been made available to drivers across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, which reduce barriers to credit and capital. Drivers have access to vehicle finance, the model provided is based on driver ratings and earning potential, as opposed to the norm of credit checks. The model was successfully expanded across SSA and is being tested in markets across EMEA.
Uber also invests heavily into supporting its driver-partners in their businesses through ongoing technological innovation as well as physical presences in the form of world-class, technically sophisticated support hubs. Greenlight Hubs across SSA, provide driver-partners with established channels of communication to raise individual questions and concerns that they may have, which are responded to by a dedicated team.
Uber’s newly appointed Chief Brand Officer, Bozoma Saint John recently visited Ghana, where she attended a full day event with the local Uber team, various driver-partners and policymakers. She is excited about the growth opportunities in Ghana and the rest of the African continent. Having grown up in Ghana before moving to the United States, Saint John was inspired by Uber’s potential to provide an accessible means for entrepreneurs to become small business owners, and the impact that has on improving the lives and futures of individuals, families and communities.
Female empowerment remains a priority for Uber, even as the company has reached its goal of economically empowering no fewer than one million women across the world.
In SSA, Uber has worked towards the goal of further promoting diversity and inclusion through targeted events, such as the #UberBelieveInHer event in Lagos, Nigeria where it hosted Female Riders, Driver-Partners, Entrepreneurs and Professionals to a lunch and learn event.
The flexibility of the Uber app enables women to design a career that fits in with their lifestyle. Uber is committed to actively nurturing the skills women require to work for Uber and prosper on their own terms. A business characterized by evolution, Uber evolves its technology to match the needs of its various markets, and supports the evolution and urbanisation of cities by providing a transport solution that aids growing infrastructures.
It’s apparent that Uber’s future is one that will be characterised by growing even further into new cities and introducing new solutions in years to come.