Uber has announced its expansion in Africa and the Middle East a while ago. However, recently there was quite a bit of news coverage on this topic. Apparently, the next city for Uber to launch its services will be Accra, the capital of Ghana. Accra will be the first city in Ghana join the Uber network (Source: Ghanaweb). Just before adding Accra to its global network, Uber started operating in Kampala, Uganda. All this goes to show that the Uber network in Africa is expanding rapidly.
Including Accra and Kampala, Uber is now operating in 13 cities and in seven countries on the African continent – Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Morocco, Egypt and Ghana.
In addition to this geographical expansion, Uber is diversifying its business by the end of the year by introducing UberEverything into its sub-saharan division. UberEverything is connecting Ubers drivers network with product/food delivery and carrier services. From a tactical standpoint, Ubers expansion into the food/product delivery sector makes sense: Since Uber can build on its existing drivers network, the company has to invest very few resources in order to gain access to a large market. According to Quartz Africa, potential challenges could be the lack of adequate infrastructure such as poor road networks and other logistics problems in some of the cities.
It goes to show: Ubers expansion in Africa is far from just being a geographical one. Ubers strategy on the African continent seems to be all about diversifying.
But why is that? The reason could be that Uber is trying to secure its dominant position on the market. In competitive markets, companies have to constantly keep innovating in order to stay competitive. As Quartz Africa states in an article, Ubers competition is growing, and a new upcoming service called Safaricom might just be able to compete with Uber. The local company is launching their ride-hailing service in Kenya that might be cheaper and better for the local community. All this goes to show that Ubers diversifying-strategy might serve the objective to obtain the key market advantage over its competitors.
In April, I published a blogpost about the World Economic Forum on Africa, an event that took place from May 11th to 13th in Kigali, Rwanda.
In this context, the WEF was looking for Africa’s top five female innovators. The necessity to highlight female innovators stems from the fact that Africa currently has the youngest population in the world. Thus, the future of innovation in Africa will be greatly determined by these young people. At the same time, it is still difficult for women to pursue their innovation goals. Therefore, the WEF decided to put female innovators into the spotlight.
Since I have published a blogpost about this topic before, I was happy to find out that the WEF’s top five female innovators have finally been chosen. According to an article on venturesafrica.com, the winners are innovators working in the fields of mobile health insurance, solar powered vending, bio medical materials, IT training and food processing.
Amongst the winners are for example Natalie Bitature from Kampala, Uganda, whose company Musana Carts produces solar powered vending carts, each cart saving 3’000 tons of carbon emissions, or Lilian Makoi Rabi from Tanzania. She invented a completely paperless mobile healthcare solution that reduces costs and benefits the low income and informal sector. On the other hand, Nneile Nkholise, a winner from South Africa, has a company that designs breast and facial prostheses for cancer and burn patients.
What particularly struck me when I browsed the list of the 5 winners was the diversity of fields that they are working in. This underlines the plurality of African innovation, something that I have been trying to advocate with this blog for a long time now.
Do you want to know more about the WEFs top five female innovators? Check out the following article on venturesafrica.
It is commonly known that big banks don’t care much about the less wealthy, since providing banking solutions for them is often considered risky and expensive. Since most banks won’t give loans to less wealthy people and having a savings account in the bank usually costs money, people with a very low income usually can’t afford to have a savings account. As a consequence, many people in Africa adopted the practice of putting their money into a common savings account. Needless to say this can cause problems, such as people withdrawing more from the common account than they are entitled to (Source: World Bank-Video via Youtube).
The good news is, that a project called The Partnership for Financial Inclusion has emerged, aiming to promote financial services amongst the not so wealthy in Africa. The project is developping and testing innovative business models for financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is stated on the project’s website that they aim to achieve universal financial access by 2020. In order to promote banking amongst poor regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the programme is cooperating with a banking system called FINCA. FINCA delivers financial services in developing countries and emerging markets, providing people of all income classes with a savings account, granting loans to small businesses and education loans to students. Together, FINCA and The Partnership for Financial Inclusion are trying to make a difference and to provide poor people in Africa with a banking account and loans. If you want to learn more about the project, watch the video – It’s worth it!