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Tackling unemployment via ride-hailing technology

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Adapting to local conditions, transport apps are enabling Nigerian users to cut through gridlocks while creating massive jobs on a driver-partner scheme. Ibukun Igbasan writes

One year ago, Nigeria’s Emmanuel Akpan became a driver for Taxify, a ride-sharing app that connects drivers with customers who want a ride. In that time, he said he has seen his monthly salary nearly double. The 44-year-old driver makes about 16 trips per day.“The experience has been good, especially compared with other taxis,” he said. “There’s more money, and the clientele has more trust in you.”
 
Taxify is aggressively expanding its African footprint. In addition to its presence in Lagos, and Abuja it is present in over six African cities and Over 30 cities accross Europe, the Middle East and Central America.A particularly inspiring story of the Taxify revolution in the country is that of Ayo Johnson.
  
Johnson was a banker with one of Nigeria’s biggest banks and was laid off in the heat of the recession in 2016. With a family of four to feed and no other source of income, he turned to Taxify. In his first week he made ₦95,000, a figure he wasn’t even making in the new generation bank where he worked.

 
“I am now able to provide for my family, keep my kids in good schools and because of the flexibility of the platform, still make it home everyday to spend time with them,” he stated.There are so many Ayos’ who for one reason or another have chosen to either supplement their income with Taxify or make Taxify their primary source of income.
  
Driver partners on the Taxify platform talked about the ease of driving, the flexible hours that makes it an option for not just the unemployed but also for the underemployed.One of the driver partners, Kehinde Adegbite, said, “I was on another ride-hailing platform before now and we were badly treated and we were down. So, the coming on board of Taxify has been awesome.
   
“It came when we were down. It has empowered us. Working with Taxify is the best for any driver partner now. The commission is just unbeatable.
  
“Taxify takes only 15 per cent commission in contrast to competitions 25 per cent and also constantly provide drivers with bonuses to further supplement their earnings.”A female driver partner, Victoria Igein, said, “I’ve been working with Taxify for a year now; it has been the only e-sharing driver’s platform I have worked with since I lost my job in Abuja as a banker and came back to Lagos. It took me a while to get my current job, which I shuffle with being a Taxify driver, but I have been able to manage both thus far.”
   
She added: “The platform has met 8/10 of my expectations as it favours drivers because they give more percentages and bonuses for working long hours, weekends and holidays. So I make as much as I need on Taxify and I haven’t ever bothered thinking of moving on to other platforms.”
  
For Chuks Izedinuor, he drove on Taxify for a week, and then decided to drive professionally after losing his job.“I can’t say so much about it for now but it has been extremely productive to work with the platform and I’d definitely recommend it to other people”, Izedinuor says.
  
Findings from a three-month research conducted by indigenous communications and public relations company, Plexus Media Interlinks Limited, showed that about 2,000 people who are out of school and seeking employment have taken to Taxify as a viable platform to be self-employed.
  
The study shows that a further one in 10 unemployed graduates are considering getting on the app to earn a living, or may have commenced the process to be signed on the platform as driver partners.”
  
With this ecosystem, Taxify has managed to create something many governments struggle with – a dignified, efficient, flexible and effective vehicle to create jobs.

 


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