Business Day

Uber drives partnershi­ps with multiple stakeholde­rs

- Alon Lits Lits is GM for Uber subSaharan Africa.

When Uber started in 2009, its mission was to help people everywhere get a ride, safely, quickly and at the push of a button.

That mission remains the same eight years later and Uber’s innovative, technology­driven business model is still fundamenta­lly changing the way people think about meeting their transport needs.

For the past four years, Uber has been delivering this level of transforma­tion across subSaharan Africa and, with more than 1.8-million active riders using the app, it has reason to celebrate its fourth anniversar­y on the continent this September.

And it’s not just Uber that has benefited from the stellar uptake of its convenient offering in Africa. The sub-Saharan countries in which Uber now has a presence, and their citizens, are also reaping socioecono­mic rewards.

At an economic level, these benefits take many forms. In many cities, the reliabilit­y, immediacy, and convenienc­e that Uber offers to city residents and visitors are having the positive effect of helping to reduce congestion.

In most urban parts of subSaharan Africa, single-occupant vehicles remain the biggest contributo­rs to gridlock. But increasing numbers of city residents are recognisin­g that Uber offers a cost-effective way of sharing their daily commute with others.

Repeat Uber usage in SA is a prime example of these shifting private transport perception­s. In September, almost 25,000 riders each used Uber more than 10 times a week, which points to the increasing adoption of this tech-driven solution, not just as a leisure transport option, but also for work and business purposes. Uber is a true alternativ­e to private car ownership.

Another significan­t benefit that Uber is delivering in subSaharan Africa is enabling and empowering economic opportunit­ies and offering more choice. The steadily growing number of Uber driverpart­ners in countries across the region is testament to the appeal of the business model.

It creates real opportunit­ies for local entreprene­urs to create and enjoy the flexibilit­y and enhanced earnings potential — for themselves and, ultimately, for individual­s that many of them bring into their thriving businesses.

And growing demand for trips across sub-Saharan Africa leads to a steadily growing need for drivers. Currently, more than 29,000 driver-partners are taking advantage of the earnings generating opportunit­ies delivered by the Uber app. The Uber model allows them to be as flexible as they need to be, which means that they are able to earn what they want, when they want, either as full-time entreprene­urs or to supplement other sources of income.

Uber investigat­es partnershi­ps with businesses that bring benefits to drivers, such as the multiple vehicle financing programmes that have been made available to drivers across SA, Kenya and Nigeria, that reduce barriers to credit and capital.

The first partnershi­p of this kind was implemente­d in SA, with WesBank offering existing drivers access to vehicles at preferenti­al rates, with a view to establishi­ng their own passenger transport business. This unique model is based on driver ratings and earning potential, as opposed to the norm of credit checks. The model was successful­ly expanded across sub-Saharan Africa and is being tested in markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Uber also invests heavily in supporting its driver-partners in their businesses through technologi­cal innovation as well as a physical presence in the form of support hubs.

Apart from the existing Greenlight Hubs across subSaharan Africa, five more of these state-of-the-art hubs were opened in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala, Kumasi and Lagos this year. In addition to offering driver-partners technical and app support, they also offer informatio­n sessions and tailored workshops on training and skills developmen­t.

In a region of high unemployme­nt and stagnating economic prospects, Uber’s business partnershi­p approach provides an accessible means for entreprene­urs to not only supplement their own income, but also to become small business owners.

Uber’s approach to shifting perspectiv­es of how people in sub-Saharan Africa move around their cities is one of partnershi­p with all stakeholde­rs. Uber strives at all times to collaborat­e closely with local regulators to understand the challenges they are grappling with in their cities and then help them to develop workable and accessible solutions that benefit people and economies.

It’s with this in mind that Uber Movement has just launched a new website in Johannesbu­rg to help urban planners, city leaders, third parties and the public better understand the transporta­tion needs of their cities.

This partnershi­p approach has always been at the heart of the business because our global experience has shown us that multimodal transport powered by technology is the best way to promote entreprene­urship, relieve pressure on infrastruc­ture, and deliver safe and efficient transport that helps people connect with work, business and leisure opportunit­ies.


 ?? /Reuters ?? Working together: In addition to technical and app support for driver-partners, Uber’s Greenlight Hubs also offer informatio­n sessions and tailored workshops to driver-partners, focusing on training and skills developmen­t.
/Reuters Working together: In addition to technical and app support for driver-partners, Uber’s Greenlight Hubs also offer informatio­n sessions and tailored workshops to driver-partners, focusing on training and skills developmen­t.

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