Uber has completed one billion rides across its African routes, which is over 10 billion kilometres in distance.
“It all started with the tap of a button and has led to so much more – from exploring new cities together, arriving at those special moments together and to thousands of economic opportunities created. We’re celebrating 1 billion trips in Africa and we did it – together!” the global tech company stated.
Uber made its debut arrival in Africa with South Africa as its first market in 2013. Currently, Uber is present in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast.
Within 2021, Uber expanded to over 30 cities across its major African markets; twenty-one in South Africa, four cities each in Kenya and Nigeria, and two in Ghana. “Since entering the market in 2013, we have created over 6 million economic opportunities in over 50 cities across SSA that we are present in,” said Lorraine Onduru, the Head of Communications for East and West Africa at Uber, in a statement.
Onduru added that “while each country offers its own unique opportunities, we have found the region to be defined by agility, creativity and adaptability. This provides Uber with the perfect conditions to launch and nurture our on-demand economy in collaboration with the local partners to adopt a global business model into an African environment with diverse political, business and socio-economic dynamics.”
Aside from its ride-hailing services, in 2016, the company introduced its food delivery service, Uber Eats in South Africa. Currently, Uber Eats serves over 8,000 merchants across 36 cities in South Africa and Kenya. According to Uber, both products—Uber and Uber Eats jointly have over 30 million riders and eaters in sub-Saharan Africa.
Facts about Uber in Africa
- 2 p.m is the most popular time users request Uber rides
- Most users request rides on Fridays.
- OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the most popular drop-off destination.
- Most users use UberX (from a list that includes Uber Go, Uber Moto, Uber Boda and Uber Poa).
- The average trip time recorded on Uber is 24 minutes, and the longest recorded trip was over 492 km.
Uber, its drivers and regulators
Uber landed a civil suit in 2016 after it reduced its fare by 50% in Kenya. The company withdrew this plan and introduced Chap Chap, a lower-priced service, in January 2018; however, it did not stop the suit, which is currently ongoing.
However, the company recently asked Kenya’s Supreme Court to allow it to resolve issues with its drivers through channels agreed upon in contracts while stating that it was “improper” for its partners to seek legal redress without going through the established dispute-resolution mechanisms.
“Uber systematically engage with its drivers across its cities to get their feedback and see how to resolve issues when crises arrive,” Ofentse Mokwena, Uber's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategic Projects Lead told SABC News.
Recently, Uber halted its operations in Tanzania due to the tough regulatory environment in the East African country. In Nigeria, Uber and Bolt’s drivers embarked on a week-long strike in 2021 due to the non-review of prices charged by the e-hailing companies in Nigeria.
Uber and its competitors.
Even though Uber came in as a pioneer in Africa’s ride-hailing sector, the company has gone from having no competitor to having over 50 global and local competitors like Bolt, InDriver, and SafeBoda.
Frans Hiemstra, the Uber’s General Manager in Sub Saharan Africa said that “Competition has grown across the board but Uber is focused on building a great product and also creating affordable options for the continent.”— citing the UberGo option.