The adoption of digital work in Kenya has been impressive and has resulted in a massive shift in opportunities from traditional and informal labour to online work. This shift has been fast-tracked by apps such as Uber which offer earning opportunities and allow locals to become small business owners. Currently, the Kenyan online gig economy is valued at $109 million and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 33%, with the total size of the gig economy reaching $345 million by 2023.
Uber recently celebrated its sixth anniversary in Kenya with over 47million completed rides highlighting how locals have embraced the app with its local products like UberChapChap and UberBODA. With over 12,000 drivers across Kenya, the contribution of these dedicated men and women each reflect on how the app’s commitment to Kenya continues to benefit the lives of locals.
Below we take a look at three drivers, as they reflect on their journey with Uber over the past six years.
Johnson Gicheha, is a 35-year-old proud father of four girls and is an optimistic man who believes that the grass is greener where you water it. After driving with Uber for five years, Johnson has evolved and has shown resilience as the app responds to new rider needs. He is excited to see the app celebrate six years and hopes the app continues to grow to open more opportunities. Johnson was attracted to Uber by the flexibility option that it offers and the ability to be his own boss and set his own working hours.
Before joining Uber, he worked as an administrator at a local school and due to the long working hours, he did not have the option of exploring other ways of making money. The decision to join Uber made sense as this would free up his time to allow him to set his financial targets. While 2020 was by far a financially difficult year for many, Johnson shares that he is grateful that he was able to work during the lockdown as many had no means of earning an income. Even though trips had declined as Kenyans movement was restricted, he learnt to be more financially savvy with his money to ensure his family was looked after. As the world slowly gets back to normal and more movement is allowed with eased restrictions, he is hopeful that 2021 will be an even better year.
When Stephen was referred to Uber by an existing driver three years ago, he did not anticipate that his life would change the way it did. As a family man, making sure that his family is well provided for is a priority, even more so with a child in University, studying towards a civil engineering qualification. Stephen who drives on UberCHAPCHAP, a low-cost option, knows the importance of stretching his money to cover the most important essentials in his family. Stephen also highlights the incentives that the app provides to drivers go a long way to supplement our earnings.
For Stephen, the lockdown was difficult as this threatened his livelihood, however as the situation eases and traffic remains the only obstacle he is hopeful that the future will be brighter. He also adds that with the positive news about the vaccine he is optimistic that the world will go back to normal soon.
As Uber turns six in Kenya, he is thrilled to be a part of an innovative company that puts the safety of its riders and drivers first.. This includes reminders for hand sanitising as well as the wearing of masks.
John, a 41-year-old married father of two daughters has been with the app for five years and admits that the first question most people ask him if it is financially rewarding to drive with Uber. His answer is simple and says that joining Uber has changed his life. Before joining Uber he was driving local taxis in Kenya and is grateful for the opportunity that the app has provided me with to earn an income on my terms.
John was previously an UberX driver, however he is now a UberCHAPCHAP driver. He made this decision due to the popularity of this option and lower vehicle maintenance costs, which means he gets to keep most of his earnings for the things that matter the most. As Uber celebrates its sixth-year milestone, he is proud to have been part of this journey that has positively impacted how people in Kenya move around as well as earn an honest living.
Uber is available in sixteen cities in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cape Town, Durban, Joburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, East London, Nairobi, Mombasa, Lagos, Abuja, Benin City, Kampala, Ivory Coast, Accra, Kumasi and Dar es Salaam). Overall, the Uber network is available in over 600 cities in over 65 countries. To request a ride, users must download the free application for Android, iPhone, Blackberry 7, or register online for Uber services.