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Uber Nigeria GM Ebi Atawodi: Nigeria leads the way promoting ridesharing in Africa

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Ebi UberAt the start of the last century, just one in seven people worldwide lived in cities. Today it’s half, and by 2050, the UN predicts another 2.5 billion people will be living in urban areas. This has brought huge benefits, with the growth of cities linked directly to economic growth, as well as improved health and education. Nowhere is this more apparent than across Africa, but it has also often come at the cost of creaking infrastructure, especially when it comes to transportation.

In response to this challenge we have seen governments across the world — from Mexico City to Sydney — embrace ridesharing. We are thrilled that Nigeria is now the first country in Africa to make a significant step forward towards building ridesharing into their transportation policies.

Obinna Chidoka, a member of the Federal House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Habitat, recently started an important conversation for Nigeria’s future in the Federal House of Representatives, looking ahead to how technology can enable safe and reliable rides and limit the negative effects of traffic congestion, a subject Chidoka is very passionate about. This culminated in a unanimous vote by the Nigerian House in favour of a resolution supporting ridesharing.

Chidoka says “This resolution is a pivotal step for Nigeria and the critical role technology will play in helping us achieve the ambitions set out in the 2015 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. This ridesharing resolution is an important development in reducing the number of cars on our roads, creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable businesses for our country.”

This matters, because Nigeria is at the very vanguard of urbanisation, expected to add over 200 million people to its cities in the next 40 years, more than tripling the size of its current urban population. Only China and India will add more.

This fast pace of change presents a serious challenge for the country’s transport system. As the African Development Bank notes, the average commuter in Lagos now spends over three hours in traffic every day.

Thankfully technology can help bring the answer. With just the smartphone in your pocket, ridesharing apps like Uber can now connect riders and drivers at the push of a button. This brings benefits for riders, drivers and cities. Riders find it easier, safer and more affordable to get around; drivers have access to new, flexible economic opportunities; and cities see their transit networks extended, emissions cut as we start to take cars off the road, and reductions in alcohol-related accidents.

This resolution is a great first step towards legislation that will allow the benefits of ridesharing to be felt across Nigeria, and ultimately we hope it encourages transport innovation for cities across Africa.

8 Comments

  1. Shola

    June 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Until we define Nigeria, beyond Abujaor Lagos. Foreign investors will continue to be warped and bamboozled by all this ‘information’ . We need transport development. Car sharing is just a drop in the ocean and ultimately serves the middle class. Of which that percentage is still significantly low. That is for all of Nigeria. Not just Lagos or Abuja. We need transport revolution. More trains, trams, sky transport. Which can be used and developed with technology adapted for our climate. Which is available for the mass population.You still ignore the reality that the more uber drivers we continue to have on our roads the increase in pollution is severe. If we want Uber to really benefit the Nigerian economy why not create a scheme that a percentage of the cars must be those manufactured in Nigeria?
    No doubt Uber has made getting a taxi efficient. However this idea you continue to project that Uber is here for the African people is getting boring. The reality is Uber is able to make millions from Africa as we don’t have policy’s protecting the mass audience. Nor do we have governments with the tech knowledge who are able to decipher the effects on the population as a whole. Uber UK is starting to understand that slowly.

    • Ephi

      June 10, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Valid points raised by Shola. I echo the following:
      – We need transport revolution. More trains, trams, sky transport
      – The more uber drivers we continue to have on our roads –> the increase in pollution
      – The reality is Uber is able to make millions from Africa as we don’t have policy’s protecting the mass audience.
      – If we want Uber to really benefit the Nigerian economy why not create a scheme that a percentage of the cars must be those manufactured in Nigeria?

  2. Naija Mansions

    June 10, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I thinks its quite laudable

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  3. Shola

    June 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Sorry also “how are you taking cars of the road” ??please provide the market research data. This must be for your other countries. The usage of Uber doesn’t debunk the need to buy a car. You will find that market data is only applied to cities which have a great public transport system. Also an increase in uber drivers means you are also putting more cars on the road.

  4. Kelechi

    June 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Tech remains one of the fastest ways to provide jobs. Uber demonstrates that our government will do well to invest in tech, it breaks borders and provides well paying jobs. That it is lead by a woman is also very empowering!

  5. Weezy

    June 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I’m confused. Why is Bellanaija writing an ad for Uber? Why is there a photo of the GM, yet no mention of her in the article, instead some politician is mentioned.

    Bellanaija, this is unethical. I expect better from you guys. It should either say “sponsored content” or you give the article a singular author with bio.

  6. Startupdemands

    June 10, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    @ Kelechi tech remains one of the fastest ways to provide jobs , Do you know the real reason why they got funds from Saudi Arabia to encourage entrepreneurship and empower women in the workforce to check out startupdemands.com for more reasons.

  7. Lanre

    June 16, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Uber is doing something big and Nigeria Transport system will benefit on a long term. Recall the introduction of BRT buses in Lagos slightly solved congestion problems in some areas. This Uber thing will surely have a bigger impact on the long run. Just wait and see.

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