On resumption of the activities of boda bodas following a suspension as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, operators were, on Monday, ordered to stay away from the 6 million strong Kampala Metropolitan Area which the government has termed boda boda-free zones. The law was already in effect with law enforcement impounding boda bodas before the suspension was announced to allow the creation of stages (similar to bus parks) out of the restricted zones.
The idea for boda boda-free zones isn’t new. Earlier in May, Ricky Rapa Thompson co-founder of SafeBoda, one of Kampala’s major ride hailing operators told TechCabal that the restrictions were part of the plans the government was mulling over in its bid to regulate a largely cluttered sector. Like Lagos, the government in Kampala is facing challenges of rider identification, user safety and urban planning with the boda bodas.
One of the recent measures it came up with which was lauded as forward-thinking contrary to what was obtainable in Lagos was asking informal operators to register on ride hailing platforms like SafeBoda to address identification and safety challenges.
Also part of the new regulations from the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is the compulsory registration of operators at documented stages and with the KCCA through the ride hailing companies or the stages. The government says these are measures to curb the spread of the virus and to allow for effective contact tracing as activities gradually return to normal.
REGIONAL MOBILE MONEY
The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) has launched a financial service ecosystem called GIMACPAYwhich brings together card, mobile and money transfers that users in its six member states can access interchangeably. Approved by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the bloc’s central bank, the financial service was piloted in partnership with a number of financial service providers both traditional and digital and processed over 100,000 transactions valued at 1.7 billion CFA (about US$3 million). A mobile money user in Cameroon can transfer funds to an individual in the Central Africa Republic on another mobile money service as long as both are available within the GIMACPAY ecosystem. Airtel Gabon, MTN Cameroon, UBA and ORANGE Cameroon are among the operators on the platform.
Egyptian online furniture company Drowzy has raised an undisclosed six-figure funding from a UAE-based angel investor. Founded in 2017, the platform offers speedy delivery of affordable quality furniture in a market where it says customers are often subject to long wait times when furnishing their spaces. The company says the funding will be directed towards expanding its reach, product catalog as well as increasing efficiency to further reduce wait times for users purchasing furniture through its platform.
Startups from Ghana and Tunisia are invited to apply for the African European Digital Venture Programme (AEDV), which offers participants access to know-how and connections in the European market. Applications are open till August 15.
Safaricom has launched a new smartphone financing plan where users can make a down payment (US$9.3) to receive a 4G enabled feature phone and pay up the balance in daily (US$0.19/day) or weekly instalments (dependent on the phone purchased). For now, only the Neon Ray Pro 4G is available to users but more devices will be unveiled, according to CEO, Peter Ndegwa. The Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Campaign is open to active customers who have been on the network for at least a year and are at least 18 years of age. Much of Africa is still covered by 2G and 3G networks. Only 7% of Africa’s 774 million mobile connections is 4G and for Safaricom’s user base, only 17%. The company is low looking to add a million 4G subscribers before year end and is working with companies like Google to make this happen. Access to affordable devices will make a significant impact in driving 4G penetration across the continent.
Francophone West African ride hailing company Gozem has launched e-commerce delivery operations in Benin and Togo. In addition to the ability to order rides over the Gozem app, users can now shop and and have the items delivered to their doorsteps. Gozem is on its path to building a Super App. ”We don’t just want you to use our app once or twice, we want you to use it on a daily basis,” co-founder Emeka Ajene says. The company first launched with two-wheelers as dictated by the predominance of this mode of transport in Togo where it launched first. They gradually added tuk tuks and taxis. In May, the company added a mobile payments feature to its platform for users in Benin in partnership with Etisalat. After expanding into Benin in 2019, Ajene says the next countries in line are Cameroon and Gabon, the rest of Francophone Africa and eventually the Anglophone region.