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We’ll Continue To Open ‘Support Hubs’ Across Africa- Lits

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Alon Lits, Uber GM SSA

By peter oluka

September, Uber celebrated four years on the African continent, and with more than 1.8 million active riders using the app since Uber’s launch in Johannesburg in September 2013, it’s clear that Uber has achieved a lot in a short timeframe.

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has certainly benefitted from Uber’s arrival. Citizens have a new, reliable way to get around, entrepreneurs have found a new way to earn an income and cities have also benefitted – with possibly less cars on the road and therefore less carbon emissions.

A Look At Driver-Partners

In a region of high unemployment and stagnating economic prospects¹, Uber’s business partnership approach provides an accessible means for entrepreneurs to not only supplement their own income, but also to become small business owners, thereby helping to improve the lives and futures of individuals, families and communities.

The steadily growing number of Uber driver-partners in countries across the region is testament to the appeal of the model, because it creates real opportunities for local entrepreneurs. And as demand for rides also grows, so does the demand for driver-partners.

“Currently we have more than 29 000 driver-partners taking advantage of Uber’s earning opportunities. Drivers love being as flexible as they like; earning what they want, when they want, whether it’s a full-time entrepreneur or someone looking to supplement their income,” said Alon Lits, Uber general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Ongoing commitment to our driver-partners is a key priority; ensuring they receive the latest in technological innovations means they can be at the top of their game,” added Lits.

Uber continues to open support hubs across the continent to ensure driver-partners are well-equipped. Apart from existing hubs across the continent, three more of these state-of-the-art Greenlight Hubs were opened in Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala, Kumasi and Lagos this year and, in addition to offering driver-partners technical and app support, Uber also offers information sessions and workshops to driver-partners.

A Look At Riders

The 1.8 million active riders using the app since Uber’s launch on the continent is testament to the new mode of transport that riders are embracing. Which is not hard to believe when with Uber, riders have access to safety features such as driver and vehicle identification, In-App help, GPS and feedback post each trip.

Uber has brought many benefits to riders that did not exist before Uber – from its GPS tracking and 24/7 support, to new technologies being added, such as ‘scheduled trips’, as the business develops.

Repeat Uber usage in South Africa is a prime example of shifting private transport perceptions. This month more than 25 000 South Africans each used Uber more than 10 times a week, which points to the increasing adoption of this tech-driven solution, not just as a leisure transport option, but also for work and business purposes.

And while riders and drivers benefit, Uber continues to keep social and environmental needs at the fore

This year alone, Uber has used its network to support and assist those in need. In March UberCommunity was quickly activated for the thousands of victims of the terrible Hout Bay fires in Cape Town, South Africa. UberCommunity allowed riders to request a car to collect items for donation to the people and animals impacted. In June, UberCommunity again assisted the thousands affected by the Cape storms and the Knysna-Plett fires in South Africa.

Similarly, in September last year, Uber assisted a local Nigerian business in Lagos after devastating destruction, by uniting with the local community to help Nuli Juice continue its operations. And across East Africa in early December, thousands of riders contributed to SOS Children’s Villages through an app donation dive dubbed UBERGIVING.

Importantly, Uber’s approach to shifting perspectives of how people in sub-Saharan Africa move around their cities is one of partnership with all stakeholders. Uber strives at all times to collaborate closely with local regulators to understand the challenges they are grappling with in their cities and then help them to develop workable and accessible solutions that benefit people and economies. It’s with this in mind that Uber has just launched UberMovement in Johannesburg, a new website to help urban planners, city leaders, third parties and the public better understand the transportation needs of their cities.

“Four years have gone by incredibly quickly. We’ve learnt and grown; we look back at our time in sub-Saharan Africa with pride because we’ve achieved so much and look forward to what’s next to come”, concludes Lits.

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Nigerian-Canadian, Lola Kassim Appointed New GM for Uber West Africa

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Lola Kassim as its new general manager for West Africa

By peter oluka

Uber, Monday, announced, the appointment of Lola Kassim, a Nigerian-Canadian, as its new general manager for West Africa.

Most recently, Lola worked as a Management Consultant with McKinsey and Company where she led teams providing strategic business advice and implementing organizational and operational improvements in the energy, public, and financial services sectors in West and Southern Africa.

A seasoned professional with over 10 years of global experience working at senior private sector and government levels in Africa and Canada, Lola will be responsible for driving Uber’s overall strategy for West Africa, which includes improving reliability and service levels for uberX and creating additional value adds for driver-partners.

“I am immensely pleased to be joining Uber at a pivotal point in the company’s growth and expansion curve. My vision for West Africa, in particular, is to ensure that we are aligned with Uber’s overall objective of creating sustainable, alternative modes of mobility. In addition to creating value for driver-partners and riders, I will also be focused on ensuring that we continue to engage with our key stakeholders and relevant partners with a view to continued positive impact across West Africa.”

Speaking on Lola’s appointment, Alon Lits, general manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber said: “As a company that is deeply committed to diversity and inclusiveness, we are excited to have Lola join the team of other incredible women at Uber – who are pushing the envelope towards achieving the global vision of creating value for riders and driver-partners alike. In West Africa, Lola will be supported by a highly skilled and enthusiastic team covering Operations, Marketing, Communications, Legal and Policy. As we often say at Uber, we are #superpumped.”

Prior to joining Uber, Lola spent 3.5 years as a Management Consultant at McKinsey and Company. She also worked as a Governance Advisor with the Liberian Presidency through the

Africa Governance Initiative, supporting a unit driving delivery of Presidential infrastructure priorities. She began her career with the Canadian government where she served as Policy Advisor to senior officials and managed units developing policy, strategy, and business cases regarding socio-economic development programming for Canada’s Aboriginal communities and foreign policy.

A Nigerian-Canadian, Lola holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MSc from the London School of Economics where she was a Chevening Scholar.

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NIPOST to Begin Banking Services Soon

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The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), will soon introduce agency banking services in its operation, according to Mr Godwill Magulike, district manager (Ilorin).

 

Magulike, said that the agency’s banking services would enable Nigerians to send money across the country and beyond, thereby complimenting its courier services.

 

He said that NIPOST had earlier introduced other products aimed at reviving the postal system, serving the people better and increasing patronage.

 

He listed the products as money order, electronic stamps and address verification, among others.

 

“We have come to an era in NIPOST where we have to re-examine the activities of postal service in line with modern technologies.

 

“We also try to showcase our new products in the market apart from our core posting responsibility.

 

“For instance, with the introduction of agency banking, people can easily send money to their loved ones, across the country.

 

“We target bringing out new potentials of the service to meet the present demands in the country.

 

“This effort requires strong collaboration with the private sector whose investment capital and expertise are crucial.

 

“We are indeed getting back on track as we are reinventing, embracing digitization, redefining our value proposition and developing new product services”, he said.

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Airfrance KLM Partners Jumia Nigeria To Reward Passengers

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By peter oluka

Determined to give customers additional value for their money, Jumia Nigeria and AirFrance KLM have announced a unique partnership to reward Nigerian-based flyers registered with the airline’s Flying Blue loyalty programme.

The Flying Blue initiative which is tailored to give additional benefits to customers will also expose them to over 1,000,000 product assortment on Africa’s largest online store, Jumia.

Usually when Air France KLM Flying Blue members earn miles, accumulated miles can be used to pay for tickets, upgrades, hotel stays, and excess baggage allowance. However, with this new partnerships, miles can now be used to purchase items on Jumia Nigeria website.

This seamless process requires AirFrance KLM Flying Blue members to visit www.flyingblue.com then – spend miles – blue store – leisure – shopping voucher to retrieve their vouchers. The vouchers are of 3 values, each indicating the cash value and miles value. Members can buy the voucher of their choice and have the miles deducted from their Flying Blue account. An email will be sent to them with an online shopping code for jumia.com.ng.

Alternatively, members can also combine the value of the voucher with cash to pay for the item of their choice. Members who have insufficient miles for an airline award or who have miles expiring soon can convert these miles into vouchers to shop on Jumia.com.ng.

In a statement by Juliet Anammah, the CEO of Jumia Nigeria, she stated that “Jumia is proud to unveil a driving partnership with AirFrance KLM airlines to reiterate its commitment to customers. This collaboration will create unparalleled opportunities for the passengers and also allow customers to enjoy the convenience and wide selection available through shopping online with Jumia.”

“Air France and KLM continue to pursue new ways of adding value to our customers. At different occasions, when customers provide us with feedback on how to make the customer loyalty program flying blue more attractive, the question often asked is if it would be possible to use flying blue miles on more products, especially products customers need in their day to day life. As we like to listen to our customers and try as much as possible to improve on the services we offer, we decided to look for a partner to turn this dream into a reality. Today we are happy to announce that we are joining forces with the biggest online retailer in Nigeria – Jumia! “Arthur Dieffenthaler, commercial director, Air France KLM, Nigeria & Ghana.

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