Business Day Spotlight

PODCAST | Uber talks e-hailing in Africa

Mudiwa Gavaza speaks to Frans Hiemstra, GM for Sub-Saharan Africa at Uber

25 May 2022 - 19:09
By Mudiwa Gavaza
Frans Hiemstra, GM for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Frans Hiemstra, GM for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED.

The evolution of ride sharing in SA is the focus in this edition of Business Day Spotlight. Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Frans Hiemstra, GM for Sub-Saharan Africa at Uber.

Hiemstra talks about the evolution of ride-sharing in SA and Uber’s place in the market. 

This week, the e-hailing company said it had clocked 1-billion trips in Africa since entering the market about a decade ago.

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Uber, the world’s largest ride-sharing platform, launched its operations in the region in 2013. In Africa, it has operations in SA, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast. 

SA is home to about 100,000 e-hailing drivers, and more than 1-million passengers. Uber competes mainly with Estonia based Bolt in the local market.

Mudiwa Gavaza.
Image: DOROTHY KGOSI Mudiwa Gavaza.

Hiemstra says part of Uber’s success in the market has been its ability to localise certain aspects of the experience for users. For example, while cars are the mainstay of the platform, in markets such as Kenya, alternative vehicle types with two and three wheels have been added in line with that country’s norms and popular modes of transport. 

In SA, where unemployment tops 30% of the employable population, having shed close to 2-million jobs during the past two years alone, freelance or “gig economy” work in fields such as ride-hailing and food delivery have become a lifeline for many.

Hiemstra spends time talking about Uber’s relationship with drivers, shifting trends in the world of work and the effects of the gig economy. With safety being a major concern for those using the service, the discussion also focuses on this aspect for riders and drivers. 

Topics of discussion include: the size and scope of Uber’s business in Africa; differences between the markets; the effect of inflationary pressure of the company’s pricing; the safety of drivers and riders; trends in the gig economy; the relationship with drivers; and competition in SA’s ride-sharing market. 

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