Uber has re-emphasized that it is committed to doing business in Afrika. This comes after Uber's largest shareholder, SoftBank, signaled to the ride-hailing company that it should rather focus on its core markets, which exclude Afrika, if it wants to reach profitability faster.
The statement was made by SoftBank Director, Rajeev Misra when interviewed by the Financial Times (FT).
Misra told the FT that Uber can reach profitability faster if it returned to and focussed solely on markets such as the United States of America, Europe, Latin America and Australia. Short of saying as much, Misra was suggesting Uber pull out of Afrika and Asia.
"Uber is very much committed to our successful businesses across Africa. We are excited about our future growth prospects on the continent,” said Samantha Allenberg, Spokesperson at Uber, when speaking to iAfrikan.
Currently Uber operates in several countries in Afrika which include Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Egypt, which is their largest market on the continent when you look at the number of Uber partner drivers registered in the North Afrikan country. Although the company has generally been met with violent resistance from competing cab drivers in some of the markets it operates in like Kenya and South Africa, it has generally maintained a dominant position among ride-hailing services in Afrika.
It is very difficult to speculate whether Uber is making a profit or loss in the different markets it operates in on the continent given that it is not a publicly listed company, yet. Thus making it further difficult to determine whether the sentiment expressed by SoftBank's Misra is justified or not.
However, SoftBank, despite being the largest single shareholder in Uber, only holds 15% in equity. Misra and his colleagues at SoftBank would still need to convince other Uber shareholders that the ride-hailing company needs to pull out of Afrika. This is unlikely to happen anytime soon.