Despite the recent violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, Uber remains incredibly bullish when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking to Reuters, Justin Spratt, Uber’s head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, said that growth in the region is still substantial, and that “given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better”.
“Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is because there is such deficiency in public transport … that talks to the latent need, the pent-up demand for citizens to travel more within cities,” he said.
Spratt said Uber was talking to governments, regulatory authorities and metered taxi associations across the continent to address grievances that have seen some of its contract drivers attacked from Kenya to South Africa.
“We realize that we need to work with cities and the regulatory framework to help build out ride-sharing regulation,” he said.
The ride-sharing service has also made a concerted effort to protect it driver-partners following the spate of attacks across Johannesburg.
On Monday, Uber announced that it had introduced a “paid wait time” feature, meaning drivers will be paid per minute if a rider keeps them waiting for more than five minutes after the driver arrives at their pick-up location.
Paid wait time follows a number of new features Uber announced for driver-partners in October (arrival time, long trip notification and rating protection), which Uber said have made it easier for driver-partners across South Africa to choose when, where, and how they drive.