Bringing micromobility to Africa
If you look at maps of micromobility around the world, there doesn't seem to be much to do in all of Africa. That's because it doesn't, said Tony Adesina, founder and CEO of Gura Ride, at TC Sessions: Mobility.
There are "very few" micro-mobility operators in Africa, Adesina said. "Almost nonexistent."
For this reason, it is strategically important to launch bicycle and scooter stocks in Africa and in Rwanda in particular. Kigali has many bike paths and cycling is very popular in Rwanda, Adesina said. But bikeshare and scooters are "completely new to them".
Gura Ride has been in operation for a number of years and says people are generally receptive to the idea. Still, it hasn't attracted the same type of market activity as other places.
"Africa is pretty unique," said Adesina. "I don't think you can bring an existing model anywhere, maybe it worked in the US or the UK and just dumped in a country like South Africa or Rwanda. You have to understand the culture and the people you are dealing with It has to take time. You have to study the terrain and make sure the model you are using in the US or UK actually fits. Another thing is the price. Purchasing power is not as high as the US. So the numbers have to make sense and you have to make sure that the market you are entering can achieve your planned goals. "
This is partly why Voi, which has conquered a stronghold across Europe, has not yet been introduced into Africa. Frediik Hjelm, CEO of Voi, noted that the cost of delivery and operation is pretty much the same wherever it "makes it very, very difficult to be profitable in markets where drivers are less willing to pay higher costs." work, "he said.
Once Voi can cut operating costs, it will be easier to get started in more markets and operate profitably there, said Hjelm.
"So there is definitely a time when we can make lower-paying markets like Africa profitable if we go there," he said.
According to Adesina, the key to the spread of micro-mobility in Africa is infrastructure.
"I think the biggest problem [in Kigali] is that the streets are pretty narrow. How do you divide the road so you don't hit a lot and run," he said.
On the other hand, micromobility is thriving in Europe because of the infrastructure, said Hjelm. So infrastructure can really make or break the industry.
"The infrastructure is better than anywhere else," said Hjlem. "Culturally, too, we are much more used to bicycles, mopeds, Vespas and scooters - all kinds of alternatives to cars. So I think Europe is basically the most attractive market in the world."
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