I just read about a really interesting development that is currently going on in the taxi industry in Africa and the Middle East. As venturesafrica.com announced a few days ago, the infamous taxi company “Uber” is expanding its business into more African and Middle Eastern countries. According to the article, Uber currently operates in seven Middle Eastern and in two African countries, including Morocco and Egypt.
What I find most interesting about Uber’s expansion is the way, in which the company is apparently trying to address social issues in these respective countries. For example, the company successfully provided about 40% of Egypt’s unemployed taxi drivers with a new job, thus improving the lives of thousands of families. With the ongoing expansion into more African and Middle Eastern countries, Uber will potentially impact even more people’s lives.
But however noble Uber’s contribution to fighting unemployment in the respective countries may be, one must not forget that the company’s expansion will also cost many of the currently employed taxi drivers their jobs. Uber has been widely known for destroying the market for other taxi companies due to its business model and the low taxi fares. Also they are far from providing their drivers with fair working conditions, as is stated in this article.
To sum it up, I am sure that Uber will improve the lives of many once it expands to other cities in Africa. But first and foremost it will also challenge the existing taxi market and it might cause currently employed taxi drivers to lose their jobs. It is important to put the good news into perspective here.
For more information on how Uber is planning to address social issues in Africa and the Middle East, read the article on venturesafrica.com.