Ride-hailing mobility tech company Bolt has announced plans to recruit an additional 200,000 drivers in Africa in 2022 as demand for its services surges across the continent.
Bolt currently has more than 700,000 drivers catering to about 40 million riders across its existing seven markets in Africa.
The company’s regional director for Africa, Paddy Partridge, said the firm has experienced a spike in on-demand transportation services, and that the current drivers — especially in Ghana and Nigeria where “there’s a real shortage of cars” — are not enough to meet this growth.
“One of the challenges we have with our growth at the moment is that on the ride-hailing side, the demand for our services is growing faster than we’re able to onboard drivers, particularly in West and Southern Africa. We’re just not able to continue keeping up with that growth because drivers are not able to access vehicles at an affordable rate,” said Partridge.
“We are having to find ways to really attract as many drivers as we can… like make their earnings potential as good as possible so that we can bring people (drivers) onto our platform…to solve this issue around access to cars.”
Partridge said that Bolt already has vehicle-financing partnerships with banks in markets like Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, and its planning to form additional collaborations, and explore the expansion of the current ones to reach more markets and drivers.
The ride-hailing firm is also looking to tap Africa’s increasing smartphone penetration, willingness to take-up new technologies, a youthful population and the overall demand for on-demand transportation services.
As international e-hailing companies tap the African market, they are also increasingly having to bear with growing competition from homegrown e-mobility companies like Kenya’s Wasili and Little, and South Africa’s NextNow.
Mass transit operators like SWVL, the Egyptian ride-sharing company with operations across Africa, South Asia and Middle-East, are breaking barriers by formalizing public transport in emerging markets. – Original article appeared first on TechCrunch.