Ride hailing service, Uber, is planning to launch a boat service in Lagos, Nigeria to beat traffic congestion.
According to Uber’s Chief Business Officer, Brooks Entwistle in an interview with Reuters in Lagos, “We are looking at the waterways here, which are very interesting to us as it relates to a potential service.”
Uber launched a boat service in Egypt in 2017 and recently in the Indian city of Mumbai and and along the Croatian coast
“We did launch Uber Boat in Mumbai and we have watched the product develop. It’s in its early stages and we think there is high relevance here,” he said, referring to Lagos.
Entwistle said Lagos was “one of the great growth opportunity cities in the world”, and the company has also held discussions with a bus firm and regulators in the city.
He said the talks were in line with a global push by the company to develop products that can work alongside public transit systems.
Entwistle said the combination of population growth and congestion made Lagos, and other cities in the region, attractive.
This will be the second company in recent times that has been attracted to the economic potential of the Lagos waterways. Just recently Gokada launched a boat service, Gboat, in conjunction with Lagos Boats.
In another development, Entwistle also spoke about the company’s expansion into West Africa.
“We have talked about West Africa today as being a big growth priority for us and launch priority for us moving forward,” said Entwistle.
He specifically mentioned Ivory Coast and Senegal as possible next locations for possible launch of services.
“Both Abidjan and Dakar are logical opportunities for us,” said Entwistle, adding that discussions were at an early stage. He did not disclose further details.
Uber, which said it has 36,000 active drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, operates in a number of countries in East and South Africa but is largely absent from West Africa, aside from Nigeria and Ghana.