Did Uber Squeeze Easy Taxi Out Of Africa?

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Before Uber came to Africa there was Easy Taxi and it was doing well. At least that’s what their figures showed.

But at the beginning of this year word started circulating in Africa’s tech circles that the company, that started in Brazil in 2011, was about to exit the continent.

This was confirmed last week when its parent company, Africa Internet Group (AIG) — also the holding company for Jumia, Jovago and Kaymu –, announce that it would be winding up Easy Taxi’s operation in Africa to concentrate on its home markets in Latin America — where it already operates in 16 countries, Techpoint reported.

For many, this did not come as a surprise as the company had exited India in December 2014 and eventually the rest of Asia in January 2016.

When its Nigeria CEO, Bankole Cardoso, exited Easy Taxi earlier this year and its taxi hailing app became unresponsive in Kenya, the writing was on the wall and it was clear that the company would not last long in Africa.

Just like Uber, Easy Taxi connected drivers with passengers using a mobile app.

The startup boasts of over 1.5 million app downloads and more than 45,000 taxi drivers on its network, but it is not clear how much of these are in Africa.

Unlike it San Francisco-based rival, Easy Taxi has been rather quiet in the African continent and did little to fight the pompous entry of Uber in Africa. As Kenyan blogger Bankelele puts it, they were good at “flying under the radar”.

There were not even complains from traditional taxi driver about its operation on the continent. For Uber, on the other hand, there has been a vicious battle from other taxi drivers from all corners of the continent.

Could Uber’s aggressive marketing strategy and stronger financial backing have contributed to the Exit of Easy Taxi from Africa?