Uber is planning to expand its services to three more Africa countries this year given the success the taxi hailing app has had in the countries it is currently operating in. the company came into Africa not so long ago and is currently operational in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The company hopes to add Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana to the list by the end of the year.
Alon Lits, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said that traffic, high rates of crime and slow adoption of credit cards are some of the main challenges they are facing as they expand in Africa. Apart from these, Uber has been challenged by existing Taxi operators who see it as a threat to their businesses.
“Part of our strategy when we launch in new markets will be that engagement up front with taxi operators, we will be doing a better job of engaging,” Lits told Reuters. This will probabaly help reduce some of the friction between Uber and existing Taxi operators.
Nairobi as a Hub for the region
Lits went ahead to reveal that the company will use Nairobi as the hub for its regional expansion in Tanzania and Uganda. As for West Africa, the company will use Nigeria as its regional hub. Uber has also revealed that it will be expanding to a second city in both Kenya and Nigeria. In Kenya we already know that the company will be expanding to Mombasa and has already advertised jobs for those interested. It is still not clear when the company will begin operations in Mombasa.
Uber has also revealed that over 100,000 people use its app in Nairobi every month. The company said that allowing users to pay via cash or mobile money has contributed to this growth.
As to why the company is expanding its operations in Africa at this point, Lits said, “We feel we are at a point now where we have a strong sense for what it takes to build a successful Uber business in Africa.”