It is no longer a rumor that Uber wants to launch its operations in two more Nigerian cities, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Well, it’s happening in Abuja this week.
It’s all part of what is gradually looking to be an aggressive African expansion drive. Recruitment notices for the city of Mombasa in Kenya was noted by media a few weeks ago.
The choice of Abuja is puzzling, because compared to Lagos, taxis are ridiculously cheap. Unless you are going to the airport, a N500 taxi fare would be considered expensive. Granted, the green and white-striped taxis are not sleek, air-conditioned, post-2009 cars. But are there enough people willing to pay a premium for relative style and comfort? I imagine Ebi Atawodi, who leads the Nigeria team, has done the pricing math. We wait to see how that will play out.
Now that I think about it, Easy Taxi expanded to Abuja last year. But that operation seems to have gone south. The only thing that comes to functional e-hailing in Abuja (and indeed, outside of Lagos) is Tiketmobile’s airport ferry service.
Uber has declined to comment. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.