Ride-hailing company SafeBoda chooses Ugandan market over Nigeria

The company cited Nigeria’s harsh business ecosystem as the reason why it recorded thin revenue margins, in the two years the company had been in the country.

SafeBoda exited Nigeria last week and noted that it would focus on scaling its business in the more conducive and profitable Ugandan market.

Co-founder and CEO of SafeBoda, Alastair Sussock, disclosed that the ride-hailing company has generated significant profit in Uganda, and would be developing its business within the Ugandan borders.

“The unit value of our services [in Uganda] are significantly higher than in Nigeria and our brand has deep roots. In Uganda, our Boda, car [core transport] also work well with our parcel delivery, payments and financial services products. We see growing cross sell from our core transport use case,” he said.

Back in September, SafeBoda unveiled its subsidiary, SafeCar in Uganda, which has seen a 40% weekly increase. The brand has become a favourite amongst Ugandan drivers, and has demonstrated a potential to become the country’s foremost ride-hailing service.

The company also secured funding from Yamaha Motor Company, and other investors, which it would use to scale its business in Uganda, following its departure from Nigeria.

The company had made its entry into Nigeria back in 2020, when it launched in Ibadan shortly after the banning of commercial motorcycles in certain regions of the country.

The volatility of such government policies constituted an operational drawback which stifled the company’s ability to take advantage of the Nigerian market.

In its exit statement, SafeBoda admitted that its evacuation from Nigeria was caused by the commercial motorcycle transport system that was not economically practical, yet required substantial levels of investments.

The company failed to make returns in its investment despite Nigeria being a market where ride-hailing could potentially thrive, given the country’s wealth and population. Some ride-hailing companies like Uber, Bolt, Gokada and more, have and or continue to experience high levels of success within the heart of Africa, but SafeBoda couldn’t crack the volatile market.