Uber reaches 1 billion rides in Africa


Uber, today, announced a significant milestone — it has completed 1 billion rides across all its markets in Africa. This feat translates to over 10 billion kilometres in terms of distance covered, according to the company. 

This milestone for Uber is coming nearly a decade after the mobility tech company set shop on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa. It has since established a presence in seven other African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast.

“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 expanded to over 30 cities across its major markets within the past year: 21 in South Africa — its most dominant market, four cities each in Kenya and Nigeria, and two in Ghana. 

Part of Uber’s growth efforts has also included expanding Uber Eats, its food delivery arm across a few South African cities and Nairobi, Kenya. Uber Eats launched in 2016 in South Africa with just 1,000 restaurants. Now, it serves over 8,000 merchants across 36 cities in South Africa and Kenya. 

The company also highlights that Uber and Uber Eats have collectively reached over 30 million riders and eaters in sub-Saharan Africa. As of 2017, the company services reached under 2 million riders. 

Here are other metrics the company highlighted in its decade-old growth report. The most popular time to request a ride is 2 pm. The most popular day to request a ride is Friday. The most popular drop-off destination is the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The most popular ride option is UberX (from a list that includes Uber Go, Uber Moto, Uber Boda and Uber Poa). The average trip time is 24 minutes, and the longest recorded trip was over 492 km. 

Over the years, Uber has disrupted local cab industries while creating over 50,000 driver jobs. But within this time, Uber has faced stiff competition from Bolt in its major markets, which has led to price wars that still affect drivers’ earnings today. 

In 2016, the company sliced fares by almost 50% due to fresh competition from Bolt. Although it sparked a civil suit filed against the company and Uber BV from its drivers, a former Uber executive in charge of launching new products in East Africa and negotiating partnerships with third-party companies told TechCrunch that Uber had intended to reduce commuter charges for UberX in Kenya further. 

The company withdrew this plan and introduced Chap Chap, a lower-priced service, in January 2018; however, it wasn’t enough to thwart the civil suit — which is still ongoing despite talks about Uber opting to settle via arbitration.