Uber To License South African Drivers


MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location at Atocha Station on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Global taxi hailing app company, Uber, has moved to license its drivers in South Africa as public transport operators to comply with a new law that requires all taxi drivers to be regulated, SAnews.gov.za reported.

The company is also in the final preparation to launch its service in Uganda and has advertised on its website for two jobs, Operations & Logistics Manager (whose tasks will include “Operations & Launch”) and also an Operations Coordinator, based in the country’s capital Kampala.

The San Francisco-based tech company, which already operates in five African countries, announced earlier this year that it will launch in three more markets – Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana — on the continent.

According to a Post & Parcel report, a representatives from the company told delegates at a recent World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali that Uganda will be first on its list of new markets, probably followed by Ghana and Tanzania.

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Licensing of its drivers in South Africa, where it operated in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and recently entered Port Elizabeth, is seen as a move to quell growing revolt from traditional taxi owners in the country and other African nations.

In Kenya, Uber drivers have came under attack from other taxi operators in recent months, with cases of vehicles being torched, wind screens smashed or tires slashed reported.

Other African countries in which the company operates include Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco.

Uber also faces other Africa specific challenges like an underdeveloped infrastructure that lead to heavy traffic on the few available roads, high crime rates and low use of credit cards.

A 2010 World Bank report estimated that poor infrastructure curbs African economic growth by 2 percent per year and business productivity by 40 percent.

The US-based company was forced to innovate its payment mode in Lagos and Nairobi to allow users to pay by cash or mobile money.

Credits card penetration is still very low in Africa and in some cases like in Kenya it has been leapfrogged by mobile money payments.



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