It is estimated that by 2050, Africa’s population would have reached almost 2.5 billion. Within the continent’s many countries, the majority of these populations are likely to be concentrated within the business-friendly urban centres – cities.
As Africa enters a technology revolution, particularly within services, the pace of urbanisation will only increase, and the ever-pressing issue of mobility in Africa will increase with it.
With more people comes more road users and a greater need for speedy and efficient means of transportation. And with them comes consumerism and the need for more FMCG goods, to serve their needs, but getting these products to the cities is just as difficult as navigating around them.
Africa is estimated to now be home to 8 of the 15 fastest-growing economies in the world. However, poor infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to economic growth, and many of those barriers exist at the basic level of adequate roads and ports. In 2014, only a quarter of African road network was paved, and in 2020, poor roads, rail and port facilities continue to delay the social and economic transformation of African societies.
The urban centres have not enjoyed enough infrastructural upgrades to accommodate the influx of people and their need for goods. Some foreign and home-grown tech solutions in the form of ride-hailing, car-sharing, and vehicles-on-demand came to address these very big problems. They are infiltrating the mobility sector, spurring its evolution and addressing the needs that arise as a consequence of rapid urbanisation.
Although Uber dominates the global ride-hailing market since it entered the continent in 2013, the latter half of the previous decade saw the rise of home-grown car-sharing start-ups such as Jekalo and Gozem, making car ownership and cars per capita in Africa amongst the lowest in the world.
However, it was not long before Estonia-based Bolt (formerly Taxify) took the lead in Africa’s ride-hailing market. Its rebranding in 2019 came as a means of signalling their broader focus on covering transport beyond car-sharing.
Where congested roads are the reality in the majority of urban centres, Bolt quickly pivoted to include bike-hailing as part of its offering, firstly in East Africa – a strategic investment to achieve its goal of dominating the African market by entering an additionally prolific means of transportation.
However, it is not the only one to move beyond cars in the transport sector. Lagos witnessed the two-week trial of UberBOAT in October 2019, and while not much more has been seen on this front, there is no doubt that the competition for ride-hailing in Africa is far from over.
[READ MORE: Aviation: A boost to Africa’s development)
Like Bolt, many companies have chosen to combine long-standing transport solutions with tech, with a rise in start-ups focused on Africa’s ride-sharing on two wheels. Max and Gokada are just two mobility challengers within the bike-hailing market, and there are likely to be more to come.
Investors have recognised that having more cars on already poor roads proves a less efficient means of improving transport and have poured funds into navigating city traffic by bike. Yet, regulatory issues have arisen at the same pace as these start-ups, affecting the impact of these solutions.
Notable examples include the ban on motorcycles in Addis Ababa announced in July 2019 by the city Mayor, Takele Uma, citing concerns around the involvement of these vehicles in violent crimes, as well as, Lagos state government’s ban on the activities of commercial motorcycle, effective from February 1st 2020, which will have a significant impact on these start-ups, their contractors who rely on their vehicles and riders as their primary source of income, and of course, commuters.
These solutions have also been leveraged to improve logistics and provide urban populations and businesses with the goods and services required to help their economies function and grow. Companies such as Kobo360 and Lori Systems, winners of the Apps Africa Best Enterprise Solution 2018 and the Apps Africa Best Mobility Solution Award 2019 respectively are providing solutions to inefficient supply chain systems in order for Agriculture and e-Commerce businesses to scale. Both Lori Systems and Kobo360 have expanded across the continent at breakneck speed.
Speaking with Kagure Wamunyu, CEO, African Region at Kobo360, ahead of the Africa Tech Summit, she says, “Using technology, we are providing an efficient solution for all the key elements in the supply chain, while ensuring reliability, transparency and cost savings.”
Swvl, Kobo360 and Lori Systems collectively raised $102 million in 2019, hardly an insignificant number, even if it isn’t fintech. And with the news of East African logistics company, Sendy raising $20 million, 2020 will undoubtedly be another big year for logistics. Where people are looking to inject speed in congested cities, and efficiency into supply chains that are disjointed and opaque, start-ups are providing solutions that help businesses beyond themselves.
Progress in the mobility sector will not only improve transport but access to goods, services, education, employment and overall economic growth. We can expect to see more investment – in terms of infrastructure and technology – into the mobility space, because Africa and Africans, need to move. At scale.
According to McKinsey, the future of eCommerce is huge with the market predicted to be worth $75 billion by 2025. These predictions are contingent on a number of other supporting factors, one being improvements in mobility and delivery infrastructure, resulting in a blurring of boundaries between logistics, mobility and e-commerce.
[READ ALSO: What Iran’s war with America means for Africa)
With the implementation of AfCFTA and the lowering of many customs barriers in Africa on the horizon, we can also expect more demand within the mobility sector. This almost guarantees that there will be more challengers arriving on the tech scene, while many of the current players expand into new cities and countries. These solutions are not only more efficient but greener, safer and more sustainable, and governments will have to take more action in providing the physical and legal infrastructure to support and regulate these innovators.
For further information or to register, visit www.AfricaTechSummit.com/kigali
Why Okonjo-Iweala should win the WTO DG role – Prof. Moghalu
Professor Kingsley Moghalu has thrown support behind Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to win the World Trade Organization top job.
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has publicly canvassed support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to win the World Trade Organization (WTO) top job.
The former professor of public policy at Fletcher School, Tufts University, made the disclosure via his official Twitter handle, as seen by Nairametrics
Prof. Moghalu made a strong case for why Africa’s candidate should be considered for the top shot, noting that the need for Africa to get a better deal in the world trading system should be a major criterion in selecting the next WTO DG. He also believed that correcting this negatively skewed trade deal will help tackle poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.
The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-general of @wto https://t.co/G4Fyxd1z91
— Kingsley Moghalu (@MoghaluKingsley) October 26, 2020
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee have emerged as the last two candidates for the top WTO job.
Prof. Moghalu also disclosed that the final selection decision is expected this week or very early next week.
Prof. Moghalu said, “The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn, I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-General of @wto.
“The final selection decision is expected this week or very early next. Alongside the case for why the African candidate Okonjo-Iweala is best placed to lead WTO, I make the case for the continent more broadly as to how and why it must get a better deal in the world trading system.”
What this means
If finally selected for the top job, the opportunity will present Dr. Okonjo the platform to solve some global trade-related issues, one of which is Africa’s trade position with the rest of the world.
Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state
President Buhari is presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.
According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.
This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.