Uber Expands Into Ivory Coast, its 1st Francophone African Market

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Francophone African market
Silicon Valley-based ride-hailing firm Uber has launched operations in Ivory Coast’s capital city Abidjan, its first francophone African market. Image supplied by Uber

Global ride-hailing firm Uber has launched operations in its first francophone African country as people in Abidjan can now use the app-based service.

As of Dec. 5, Abidjan is the lastest African city to receive access to Uber’s ride-hailing platform as part of its expansion into African markets with low levels of car ownership and limited mass transport, according to Reuters.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s capital city — population 4.5 million people — is a popular business hub and tourist destination.

First Francophone African market

Uber now operates in nine African countries. The Silicon Valley-based firm has a foothold in East and South Africa, but only a handful of Nigerian and Ghanaian cities are supported by Uber in West Africa.

Ivory Coast is the first French-speaking African country to be added to the platform.

Uber said in a statement that more than 50,000 people had tried to use its app in the Ivorian capital during the past year, prompting it to launch in the city as part of its expansion into West Africa, IOL reports.

Dakar in Senegal is expected to be Uber’s next launch in Francophone West Africa.

Uber has identified West Africa as a target for potential expansion. Ivory Coast and Senegal have some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, growing at 7.5 and 6.9 percent per year respectively, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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Uber will now be competing with local ride-hailing firms including TaxiJet and AfriCab, which have been operating in Abidjan for the last four years.

TaxiJet’s operating model is similar to Uber but instead of competing against existing taxi drivers, it works with them, BBC reports. Taxis get to pick up their own customers but also get TaxiJet fares when riders are available.

Uber competes with Estonia-based ride-hailing firm Bolt across numerous African markets but the European firm, formerly known as Taxify, is not present in Abidjan.