Transportation service Uber is already up and running in three major South African cities, Joburg, Durban and – barring some legal trouble – Cape Town as well as Lagos, Nigeria. That has been the extent of the company’s expansion into African markets until now.
Uber is launching in Kenya on the 22nd of January with its first port of call set to be in the capital and largest city in the country, Nairobi. Uber will be partnering with restaurant discovery platform EatOut to offer new riders 2000 Kenyan shillings off two rides during Nairobi Restaurant Week, which starts on the 22nd and ends on the 1st of February 2015.
While Uber’s rapid expansion worldwide saw the company’s value soar to almost unmatched heights in 2014, legal troubles in cities with entrenched market players around the world have been widely reported in the media. Similarly, the company will face an already settled taxi industry in Nairobi which our friends at Ventureburn point out, may not be the easiest of markets to take hold in.
One of the biggest challenges to face in Africa is still the widespread use of informal banking systems as well as a general lack of credit cards which Uber relies on for payments. Prepaid credit cards and the likes of Mpesa could be the answer to these problems but for now we’ll just chalk up another city on Uber’s impressive list.[Source – Ventureburn]