Uber has achieved a significant milestone, having clocked a billion rides across all of its African markets. According to the company, this achievement equates to a distance covered of nearly 10 billion kilometres.
This milestone comes nearly a decade after Uber launched its first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Ivory Coast are among the countries where it now has a presence.
“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 company’s spokesperson and head of comms for East and West Africa, in a statement.
Uber has expanded to over 30 cities across its major markets, within the past year, including twenty-one in South Africa, its most dominant market, four in Kenya and Nigeria, and two in Ghana.
Uber Eats, the company’s food-delivery arm, has been expanded across a few South African cities as well as Nairobi, Kenya, as part of the company’s growth strategy. Uber Eats launched in South Africa in 2016 with only 1,000 restaurants. It now serves over 8,000 merchants in 36 South African and Kenyan cities.
Uber and Uber Eats have jointly touched over 30 million passengers and eaters in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the announcement.As of 2017, the company services reached under 2 million riders.
Uber has disrupted the local taxi industry while also providing over 50,000 driver jobs. However, Uber has experienced stiff competition from Bolt in its key regions throughout this period, resulting in pricing wars that continue to influence drivers’ earnings today.
Due to new competition from Bolt, the business slashed fares in Kenya by nearly half in 2016. Despite the fact that it prompted Uber drivers to file a civil suit against the company and Uber BV, a former Uber executive in charge of launching new products in East Africa and negotiating partnerships with third-party companies said that Uber had intended to lower UberX commuter charges in Kenya even more.
The company scrapped the idea in January 2018 and instead launched Chap Chap, a lower-cost service; but, it wasn’t enough to stop the civil suit, which is still ongoing despite talks about Uber opting for arbitration.