Uber and Sidian Bank have set aside a Ksh 10 billion kitty (USD 100 million) to lend to driver-partners and businesses interested in running their business with Uber.
Dubbed Uber Vehicle Solutions Programme, the initiative is open to both new and already existing drivers to help them get new cars to start or grow their Uber-based businesses. The firm last year launched a similar initiative in South Africa.
Though Uber Kenya recently celebrated 1 million rides taken in Kenya since its launch just 15 months ago. It had been faced with opposition from metered taxi drivers who claimed Uber rides were taking their jobs probably because the system is efficient to both users and drivers.
The loans will now open up ground for local metered drivers to also buy new cars to drive with Uber instead of fighting it. The ground breaking vehicle access initiative includes a vehicle finance component delivered through Sidian Bank and a vehicle leasing solution made available through Zohari Leasing.
According to Nate Anderson, Acting General Manager for Uber in Kenya,“By enabling qualifying driver-partners and investors to afford reliable, high-quality vehicles, Uber is not only helping them to establish and grow their businesses,” Anderson points out, “we are also building an even more sustainable ride-sharing network in Kenya which moves us forward towards achieving our vision of being a first-choice transport solution for everyone in the country.”
Anderson explains that, the key to the Vehicle Solutions Programme’s ability to realise this vision is its highly inclusive design that makes it a viable and accessible proposition for the widest possible cross section of existing and prospective Uber driver-partners.
Speaking in Nairobi, Sidian Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Titus Karanja noted that this partnership is well aligned to the lender’s mandate to support enterprises to thrive.
“We are glad to be part of this deal, which is enabling enterprises to grow. In addition to financing, we will also provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries of this arrangement. This deal is part of our efforts to consolidate our new positioning that is focused on enabling individuals to own their tomorrow,” he added.
The vehicle finance component of the programme offers qualifying driver-partners and investors up to 100% finance deals on vehicles priced between Ksh 1 million and Ksh 1.5 million, with a generous 36-month repayment period at a low 10,5% interest rate.
The qualifying criteria for both the finance and leasing options are focused more on the applicant’s proven Uber experience than on his or her credit history. The firm says the primary qualifying requirement is more than 500 trips and an Uber rating of higher than 4.6. We expect speedy uptake of this financing package, with the entrenchment of Uber’s services in Kenya.
Drivers with no experience or track record on the Uber platform have the opportunity to benefit from the Vehicle Solutions Programme because, provided their credit record is in good standing, they can apply for classic financing from Sidian Bank for up to 90% of the purchase price of vehicles that are of sufficient quality and reliability to give them entry into the Uber driver-partner network.
Uber also launched its UberFinder platform in Kenya as a way to help those drivers and fleet partners not operating on the platform gain access to vehicles that they can use to build up their Uber track record in order to eventually qualify for the Sidian finance or leasing solutions.
“Through the UberFinder system, fleet partners are able to rent their vehicles to drivers on the platform rather than employ full-time drivers,” he explains, “while drivers have a unique opportunity to rent the vehicle they need to gain the required Uber experience needed to eventually qualify to finance their own.”