Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy today becomes the 400th city in Uber’s growing global network, joining other smart transportation hubs in Africa where Uber has recorded huge success.
“We’re really excited to be launch[ing] Uber in Abuja. Uber gives the people of Abuja an affordable, easy and flexible choice to move around the city safely and reliably,” said Ebi Atawodi, General Manager for Uber Lagos.
“Abuja is a progressive, forward-thinking city that has a need for safe, reliable and efficient transportation and we are so excited to be launching here,” Atawodi added.
In Lagos where Uber first launched in Nigeria, business is good, and the taxi hailing service has not faced the kind of troubles it has faced in other cities on the continent. The city is Africa’s most populous, where more than 8 million people commute daily. The large market size means everyone can run their businesses and make money. But things may be different in Abuja, where the market is a lot smaller and the taxis are presently the best source of public transportation. The arrival of Uber in Nigeria’s capital city is sure to eat deep into the profit of local taxi drivers. Whether we would see altercations between Uber drivers and local taxi drivers remains to be see. But it is highly unlikely.
Uber expects to have created 3,000 jobs in Lagos alone by the end of 2016. The Abuja launch will bring about new opportunities in the country.
Having learnt from the challenges faced in some African cities in recent times, Uber is likely to seek more cooperation with local taxi drivers by enlightening them about the possibility of making more profit by becoming an Uber driver. Last year, the technology company signed agreements with South Korean carmaker Kia Motors Corp. and Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc. which would enable drivers to buy new vehicles with a down payment of N95, 000 ($477). The balance would be payable over four years. However, with the Nigerian capital known for its cheap taxi rates, it remains to be seen whether Uber will be able to compete well with traditional taxis.