Ride-hailing company Uber has decided to suspend its operations in Morocco, where the U.S.-based firm has been serving customers in two cities over the last few years, due to regulatory concerns.
After three years of operation in Morocco, Uber sited a lack of clarity with regards to the regulatory environment as the reason for a decision to suspend service in Casablanca and Rabat with immediate effect, according to ITWebAfrica.
The company used the term suspended as a means of communicating their willingness to return to the market should things change in their favor.
The decision leaves 300 partner drivers in Morocco without the ability to make money from the service, while around 19,000 Uber users in the country will no longer be able to hail cabs from the company, according to Techcrunch.
Last year Uber celebrated four years spent serving customers in Africa, with the ride-hailing company beginning its African journey in Johannesburg in September 2013.
From a simple start in South Africa’s financial hub, Uber grew to offer its services in 16 cities across the continent, including Cairo in Egypt, Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, Nairobi in Kenya and Kampala in Uganda.
Morocco was another of the markets Uber attempted to break into, but the last few years were difficult for the company and its partner drivers, who had to deal with anti-Uber protests and intimidation tactics from competitors, according to TheArabWeekly.
Announcing the decision via the company’s online blog, Uber explained their reasoning for the departure.
“Unfortunately, since our launch in Morocco almost three years ago, we have not had any clarity about integrating applications like Uber into the existing transport model. That’s why we make the difficult decision to suspend our activity in Morocco,” the blog read.
“Although we are no longer active in Morocco, we remain available to define a favourable environment, allowing our technology to deploy its potential and Moroccans to have access again to a secure, accessible and efficient service to move and earn their life,” it added.
“So, as long as there is no real reform and a favorable environment for new mobility solutions, we are forced to suspend our operations… our priority: support drivers who use Uber in Morocco. We will accompany the 300 drivers for whom our application has been a source of income, with individual support time to make this difficult transition,” the statement revealed.
After explaining the decision and pledging their support to the 300 or so driver partners in the country, Uber ended their blog post by suggesting that changes should be made in the transport industry in order for Morocco to remain innovative, and to attract Uber’s future return.
“We want to be present in Morocco. Morocco is ranked among the 50 most innovative countries according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index. So why not innovate in the transport sector?” the company concluded.