Ride-hailing app Bolt, has announced plan to invest Sh66.9 billion (€500 million) in Kenya and the rest of Africa for its operations over the next two years.
According to the ride-hailing platform, the funds will be used to expand Bolt services in Africa, creating opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers in 2023.
Having launched in South Africa in 2016, Bolt now operates ride-hailing and delivery services in six additional countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tunisia, with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform.
Bolt Business, Bolt’s corporate travel arm, has also been introduced in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya, offering local businesses safe and affordable ways for their employees to travel.
Bolt has also announced that it has surpassed 1 billion rides in Africa in just seven years and expects the number of drivers on the platform to hit over 1 million in the next six months.
“Over the past seven years, we have built a strong team of 500 people in Africa and we remain committed to investing into local communities for the long-term,” the start-up Founder and CEO Markus Villig said.
“At a time when many countries are facing economic challenges, we will continue to grow our presence in Africa through this new investment which offers massive potential to create new jobs and income opportunities for drivers and couriers.”
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Villig is currently on an Africa visit, with Kenya and South Africa at the top of his bucket list.
He will be visiting local Bolt teams in the two countries and meeting with senior government stakeholders, including the South African Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, and the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development.
Others include the Kenyan Prime Cabinet Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment, and Industry, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, and the Governor of Nairobi County.
In 2021, Bolt introduced a new service that allowed female riders to choose a female driver for their journey.
This new category not only increased safety for both drivers and riders in South Africa, but also provided women with a way to explore new earning opportunities.
Following the success of the “women-only” category in South Africa, it was also launched in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya.
“While many companies are scaling back investments given the macroeconomic environment, we recognise the transformational effect platforms like Bolt can have in Africa,” Bolt East and Southern Africa Regional ManagerTakura Malaba said:
“We operate in markets where unemployment is often high and by continuing to expand our services we will offer people new opportunities to earn a good living by being a driver, as well as providing millions of customers with a safe, reliable and affordable way of moving around their city.”