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Taxify bets on motorcycles and rickshaws in East Africa

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NAIROBI – Taxify, an Estonian ride-hailing company aiming to take on Uber in emerging markets, will invest millions of euros in East Africa in the next five years with a strategy focused on motorised rickshaws and motorcycles, it said on Thursday.

The company, which already operates in five cities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and will continue to offer regular car rides, said it saw the best opportunity for growth via taxi services in locally popular forms of motorised transport.

In East Africa, that means “boda bodas” and “bajajis”, also called “tuk tuks”, – local terms for motorcycles and rickshaws, respectively.

“Our focus is on providing the most appropriate means of transport for the customers and in East Africa we can see that ‘boda bodas’ are getting the highest value for us,” said Karl Aru, Taxify’s Expansion Manager for Africa, in an interview.

Taxify has picked off business from Uber in central and eastern Europe and major African cities. It raised $175 million (R2.4 billion) in May in a funding round that included German carmaker Daimler and brought its valuation to $1bn.

The company said it had hundreds of thousands of drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, with roughly a third in East Africa.

It also operates in Nigeria and South Africa, and has a total of 5 million active users on the continent as a whole. Close to half of Taxify’s business was in Africa, the company said.

It recently expanded to Mwanza, a northern city in Tanzania, a country of 55 million people.

Aru said the company was exploring other markets in the region. “We are looking into Ethiopia, and a number of other countries also in East Africa,” he said in a phone interview from Tallinn, Estonia, where Taxify is headquartered.

He did not give a timeline, but said the immediate focus was on expanding in markets where Taxify already operated.

Challenges the company faces in East Africa include low smartphone penetration, internet connectivity and safety, he said, adding Taxify’s safety features included a “share your ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)” function.

In Kenya, East Africa’s richest economy per capita, Taxify also competes against Little, which has a partnership with telecoms operator Safaricom, and the Nairobi-based Mondo Ride.

Taxify differentiates itself from rivals by offering locally popular modes of transport, and also working to take less commission from drivers, Aru said.

“Of course, we have several different products, we have the regular cars, sedans, we have a comfort service or like a premium service and we also have an affordable option, called ‘GO’ which is small vehicles for deliveries and daily pick-ups.”

Aru said Taxify on average took a commission of about 15 percent from drivers, which he said compared with 25-30 percent at competitors.

– REUTERS

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Nissan SA’s Whitfield given Egypt portfolio

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CAPE TOWN – Nissan South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield has been appointed managing director of Nissan Motor Egypt.

The Japanese-based group said yesterday that Whitfield would also serve as chairperson of Nissan in Africa South as it announced changes in its senior management structure in Africa to drive growth.

Africa is seen as the last frontier for global carmakers. The group said Whitfield would be based in Cairo and his appointment would be effective from June 20.

Whitfield, a former president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee.

Since then he has held a variety of senior positions before being appointed as Nissan SA’s managing director in 2008. “Under his leadership, Nissan posted a record market share in South Africa of more than 10 percent in the last financial year, the highest this century,” the group said.

It said Shinkichi Izumi would succeed him as the managing director of Nissan South Africa.

“Nissan has a plan for rapid and sustainable growth in Africa. We were the first to assemble cars in Nigeria and our ambition is to lead the way in developing automotive manufacturing on the continent,” said the chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, Peyman Kargar.

BUSINESS REPORT

 

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Smile Telecoms Appoints Ahmad Farroukh As New Group Chief Executive Officer

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Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, May 21, 2019 – Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO; Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman.

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd.

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General Electric appoints Eric Amoussouga as GE Francophone Africa CEO

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Eric is also Sales Director for GE’s Grid Solutions Business across Sub-Saharan Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April, 2019 — General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Eric Amoussouga as the Chief Executive Officer for Francophone Africa. In this position, Eric will play a pivotal role in steering the next phase of strategy and growth for GE in Francophone African markets.

Based in Abidjan, Eric will lead the development of diverse programs with public and private sector projects and partnerships across Francophone Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Africa, reiterated GE’s commitment to work together with government and private sector order to develop public private partnerships and sustainable outcome-based solutions.

“We are optimistic about Francophone Africa and the opportunities to develop breakthrough solutions in power, healthcare, aviation and renewable energy. We believe that the appointment of Eric is a further step in making our vision a reality. We are also glad to bring on board someone with the experience and passion required to drive our growth in this region,” he said.

Eric brings onboard 19 years of experience in the energy sector with the major players like AREVA, ALSTOM and GE and has strong expertise in energy business development and sales strategy especially in West and Central Africa.

“I am very excited to be leading GE’s regional growth in Francophone Africa and driving innovative initiatives to support the needs of GE stakeholders within the region.” Eric Amoussouga said.

Partnership with Governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Francophone Africa and across the continent. Through these collaborations, GE has made significant investments to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions, provide efficient and reliable transportation as well as improve access to quality healthcare.

– GE

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