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Rising megacities: A superhighway for Africa’s shared mobility market

todayJanuary 18, 2024 7

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Johannesburg, South Africa, Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images


By Conrad Onyango, bird story agency

As Africa’s urban centres continue to grow and with an increasing number of cities now expected to surpass 10 million residents, the shared mobility sector is expanding fast too, raising prospects of more income for cab-hailing companies and drivers.

Global management firm, Oliver Wyman, has revealed in a new report that ride-hailing, scooter or e-bike rentals, and car-sharing, which together make up the shared mobility sector, could double in size on the continent by 2030, generating an additional 550,000 employment opportunities.

The report, ‘Shared Mobility’s Global Impact,’ supported by data made accessible for the first time by global mobility operator Bolt, predicted that the sector’s impact would be especially significant in Africa, where growing urbanisation and a rising middle class will drive growth.

“While its market size is currently small, Africa will be home to much of the future potential. Its urban population is the world’s fastest-growing, and it has the world’s largest percentage of population under 30,” said the report’s authors.

Coming off a low base, with an estimated market size of US$4.2 billion in 2023, the African market is expected to grow by 9% per year on average – a higher growth rate than any other region – to 2030 and nearly double its value, to US$7.8 billion.

“Growing populations and increasing urbanisation are driving the demand for mobility, especially in developing economies,” said experts in the report.

The research – which examines the existing and future global economic, social, and environmental impact of the growing shared mobility sector – projects that Africa will be home to five out of the world’s 41 megacities by 2030.

Currently, Africa has three so-called megacities – urban centres with at least 10 million residents. The three cities are Cairo, Kinshasa, and Lagos.

Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Khartoum, Luanda, Johannesburg and Cape Town are also expected to grow into megacities by 2050. By then, the United Nations projects, the continent will be home to some 1.4 billion people.

A separate report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, a global think tank, has shown that populations in these cities will skyrocket, with some more than doubling. Cairo is expected to maintain its lead as the biggest African city, with a predicted 32.6 million people by the end of the decade, followed by Kinshasa with 29 million and Lagos with 28.2 million.

Africa currently has the lowest income opportunities of all regions because less than half of its population (33%) has convenient access to public transport, compared to the US and Europe, both of which have 75% coverage.

The expansion of the shared mobility market, especially to underserved areas, will increase both ride-hailing jobs and income, with the number of ride-hailing drivers in Africa projected to increase by 113% – compared to 84% in Asia.

The report suggested that driver earnings in Nigeria and South Africa would increase by 134%, while drivers in Kenya will experience a 102% rise above the national minimum wage by 2030.

According to a survey conducted by Bolt in 2023, 75% of South Africans and 71% of Nigerians consider ride-hailing driving a reliable and predictable way to earn a living. These rates are higher than those in developed countries like the Netherlands (57%).

But there is a caveat. The report notes that higher income levels will only be experienced by those who own their taxis.

“It is crucial to actively engage in partnerships to support vehicle ownership as a way to capitalise on the economic opportunities presented by the ride-hailing sector. These partnerships can be with local and central governments and with key private sector stakeholders such as car manufacturers, asset financing companies, and developmental agencies,” the report said.

bird story agency

Written by: Contributed

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