Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

App-based taxis taking over the public transport sector in Africa

Article from AFRIC Editorial
The advent of technology has given rise to many new concepts that are making life easier even for the common man nowadays. With new technologies emerging every day, man finds it easier to achieve certain tasks in just minutes or seconds that maybe could have taken a longer period to achieve in the past. A case in time is the digital innovation taking place in the public transport sector in most African states. Getting around town in most African cities is quite challenging, given poor road networks and heavy traffic. It is not easy getting around most of Africa’s big cities like Lagos, Cape Town, Dakar, Cairo, Nairobi, just to name be these, given the heavy traffic on the roads.

However, the introduction of app-based taxis like the Uber is making things easier for people to get around more comfortably. There is now a variety of app-based taxis taking over the public transport sector in most major African cities. From the comfort of one’s home, you can now book a ride around town from your mobile phone at relatively moderate costs. Instead of walking long distances or standing on the road for very long hours trying to catch a ride, commuters in Africa’s major cities now have a better choice of getting around town with less stress and being very satisfied at the end of the day. There now exists a good number of app-based taxis or ride-hailing firms in the continent’s big cities, relieving people from the trauma attached to public transportation and heavy traffic.

The taxi-hailing industry has gradually grown and is still growing in Africa and has brought about a diverse market of competition. The United Nations publication, Africa Renewal indicates that there are almost 60 ride-hailing operators across 21 countries on Africa. The most renowned and leading ride-hailing operator in Africa at the moment is Uber, which made its entry to Africa in 2013. Currently, the US firm, founded in San Francisco in 2009 has operations in eight countries including Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania. Uber that has a strong presence in English-speaking countries, recently announced plans to expand into francophone West Africa. It used to compete with Bolt (formerly known as Taxify) that is active in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. However, new ride-hailing firms across the continent are threatening these two’s position to compete in growing African markets. They are coming up with new business models and approaches to attract customers and gain market share.

US Ride-Hailing Giant Uber Faces competition from Local Firms

Uber’s dream is to dominate the transportation sector in Africa, but now it faces stiff competition from local companies. As Africa continues to digitalise and grows in its technical knowhow, local tech companies are producing products and services meant to suit customers in different countries or even different cities, thereby giving them the advantage over foreign services. For instance, the Kenya-based Little Cab, an app-based ride-hailing service launched in 2016 by the mobile phone operator Safaricom, functions just like Uber, but for the fact that it has an added advantage of accepting the local cashless mobile payment system, MPesa, which Uber does not use.

The ride-hailing industry is expanding every day with new firms emerging to compete with Uber and Bolt that have already gained grounds in the continent. Here are some new ride-hailing firms that are disrupting the market Africa at the moment:


Ethiopia’s app-based taxi service Zayride is moving past the streets of Addis Ababa. The ride-hailing firm that was launched in 2016 is expanding to the streets of Monrovia, Liberia. According to the founder of Zayride, Habtamu Tadese, the Ethiopian on-demand taxi service will introduce 200 cars by August this year. It is worth noting that Zayride  was the first to offer Uber-style ridesharing services in Ethiopia.


In June 2019, Paris-based Heetch raised $38 million in Series B funding to expand in francophone Africa. The ride-hailing firm is already doing business in Morocco and Ivory Coast and aims to launch in Cameroon, Algeria, and Senegal in 2019, according to ITWebAfrica.


In August 2018, Norwegian tech giant Opera launched mobile money firm OPay, which in July 2019, reportedly raised $50 million in total funding for its African expansion. Part of that expansion included the launch of motorcycle ride-hailing service ORide that operates in Lagos, one of Uber’s biggest markets.


This Russian ride-hailing firm recently launched in its fourth African market. The company’s mobile app permits passengers to negotiate with the driver, proposing their own fare for nearby drivers to accept, refuse or oppose. InDriver op is said to be present in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania, and began operations in Kampala, Uganda in July 2019.

Africa Ride

The South Africa-based ride-hailing firm is a small firm competing with Uber in one of its most popular markets. Africa Ride, which was launched in 2017, gained popularity by accepting payments through mobile money services.

Oga Taxi

Nigeria’s Oga Taxi gives room for a car-pooling option where users can pay an inexpensive rat e to share a ride with others. It also permits riders bargain with drivers over the price they will pay for the ride. Oga Taxi operates in Nigerian cities of Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt, where Uber and Bolt are equally also present.

Little Cabs

Little Cab is a Kenyan ride-hailing app backed by telecoms operator Safaricom. Little Cab grants customers the opportunity to pay for their ride or for others’ through Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-Pesa, purchase discounted airtime during the trip and access free Wi-Fi. It allows non-smartphone users to hail a cab through a USSD system, and lets women exclusively request for female drivers from 6 pm to 6 am for safety reasons. The company launched its services in Nigeria and Uganda In 2016.


LEFA is an on-demand application for ride-hailing in Windhoek, Namibia and its surroundings. It provides transfer services for Hosea Kutako International Airport and was part of the Viva Technology 2018 conference in France.

These above mentioned firms are just a few of ride-hailing firms that are competing with Uber in the African market. As days go by, more of such firms are springing up to cater for the needs of many who are stuck in Africa’s major cities with heavy traffic.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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