The first online taxi-hailing service within Ethiopia is moving outside of the country.
ZayRide, which launched in July 2016, is expanding to the Liberian capital, Monrovia. In collaboration with the Liberian web solutions firm Hak Technologies, the Ethiopian on-demand taxi service will introduce 200 cars by August this year, says founder Habtamu Tadesse.
The expansion is a noteworthy move for ZayRide, which was the first to introduce Uber-style ridesharing services in Ethiopia. While ZayRide wasn’t the first taxi-hailing service in the Horn of Africa nation—that credit goes to RIDE—it was the first to launch bookings via an app instead of text messages or calls. Alongside ZayRide and RIDE, there’s also ETTA: over the last few years, the three companies have all stepped in to offer smart transportation options and modernize the city’s old and rusty blue and white cabs.
E-hailing services like Uber and its rival Bolt (formerly Taxify) are yet to tap into Ethiopia even as they have introduced low-cost to premium products in smaller African nations including Uganda, Mauritius, and Ghana. The over 100-million people nation remains Africa’s largest untapped market, mainly because the government has for decades instituted a centralized economic model and restricted private sector operations to a few lines of activities.
Even with a fast-growing economy, the landlocked nation has remained poor and faces foreign currency shortages. Investors and global tech giants have also sidestepped Addis Ababa even though it’s home to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters, boasts a new urban metro, and is undergoing massive construction of skyscrapers and roads undertaken by Chinese companies.
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