Bolt, the mobility app in Africa, has announced plans to invest €500 million ($530 million) in its operations on the continent over the next two years. The funds will be used to expand Bolt services in Africa and create opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers to join the platform in 2023.
Having launched in South Africa in 2016, Bolt now operates ride-hailing and delivery services in six further countries – Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia – with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform. Bolt Business, Bolt’s corporate travel arm, has also been introduced in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya, offering local businesses safe and affordable ways for their employees to travel.
Bolt has also announced that it has surpassed 1 billion rides in Africa in just seven years and expects the number of drivers on the platform to hit over 1 million in the next six months.
Markus Villig, the Bolt founder and CEO, said: “Over the past seven years, we have built a strong team of 500 people in Africa and we remain committed to investing into local communities for the long-term. At a time when many countries are facing economic challenges, we will continue to grow our presence in Africa through this new investment which offers massive potential to create new jobs and income opportunities for drivers and couriers.”
Markus’ comments came as he arrived in Africa with Bolt’s global leadership team. The Bolt leadership is visiting local Bolt teams in South Africa and Kenya and meeting with senior government stakeholders, including the South African Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition; the Executive Mayor of Cape Town; the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development; Kenya’s Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi; Kenya’s CS for Trade, Investment and Industry Moses Kuria; the CS for ICT Eliud Owalo; the CS for Transport Onesmus Kipchumba Murkomen; and the Governor of Nairobi County Johnson Sakaja.
In 2021, Bolt introduced a new service which allowed female riders to choose a female driver for their journey. The new category not only increased safety for both drivers and riders in South Africa, but also provided women with a way to explore new earnings opportunities. Following the success of the ‘women-only’ category in South Africa it was also launched in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya.
Takura Malaba, Bolt’s Regional Manager for East and Southern Africa, said: “While many companies are scaling back investments given the macroeconomic environment, we recognise the transformational effect platforms like Bolt can have in Africa. We operate in markets where unemployment is often high and by continuing to expand our services we will offer people new opportunities to earn a good living by being a driver, as well as providing millions of customers with a safe, reliable and affordable way of moving around their city.”
Bolt is a super-app with over 100 million customers in more than 45 countries and 400 cities across Europe and Africa (list of locations here). The platform offers a range of mobility products for different services and needs including: Ride-hailing, Rentals (scooter and e-bike sharing), Bolt Food (delivering ready-made meals from restaurants), Bolt Market (a 15-minute grocery delivery service), and Bolt Drive (a car rental service).
Bolt first launched in South Africa in 2016. As of this year Bolt has operations in seven countries – South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia – and 70 cities on the continent. Bolt operates three of its core products in Africa – ride hailing, food delivery and grocery. Bolt Business, the company’s corporate travel arm, also has clients in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya. Bolt has over 47 million customers across the continent, 900,000 drivers and 500 employees across in seven African markets.