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  • on 30.03.2015
  • at 01:56 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Africa Tech Trends: Taxi app wars 0

Africa’s taxi-hailing app industry is getting far too busy. Initially South Africa gained all the attention, with Uber taking on local incumbents Snappcab and Zapacab for customers. Uber won, Snappcab clung on, and Zapacab died. The taxi wars are now spreading across the continent. In Kenya, Uber has arrived to battle Easy Taxi, and the much-smaller Maramoja has picked the worst possible moment to join them. The same is happening in Nigeria.

The trouble is, rather like Africa’s e-commerce industry, the size of the market is just too small for so many companies operating in the same space. That isn’t to say it will always be this way, as more people own smartphones and become comfortable with using alternatives to cash. But right now it is the case, and with so many taxi apps launching there will be inevitable casualties. What is for certain, however, is that their deep, deep pockets mean the casualties will not be Uber or Easy Taxi. Competitors beware.

Tech for social change is firmly on the agenda

It is all well and good that tech start-up businesses are springing up across Africa, and occasionally seeing some success. But it has been satisfying in recent weeks and months that the ability of new technologies to cause social change and tackle major issues is back on the agenda.

This renewed focus hasn’t been at the expense of profits, either. Most of the new initiatives are looking to support businesses that can tackle longstanding problems on the continent but also reap financial rewards for their founders. At the end of last month, San Francisco-based Hack for Big Choices held its first event in Africa, in Accra, Ghana. The event ended up being the biggest hackathon ever seen in Africa, and produced potential businesses tackling problems related to healthcare, fires, and rural education.

The Spring Accelerator in East Africa is also on the lookout for sustainable businesses with solutions that improve the lives of adolescent girls living in poverty, with the accelerator aiming to help 200,000 girls by 2019. Profit for the companies involved remains a motive. In addition, the Smart Villages initiative has launched an Energy Innovation Challenge for young entrepreneurs.

Continue reading on: How We Made it in Africa

by Tom Jackson

Photo Credit: Flickr/Drax WD

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