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Uber launches quality vehicle initiative in Kenya

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  May 25, 2016

Boosting vehicle numbers as well as improving vehicle quality has seen Uber Kenya launch a new initiative which is now available for its contracted drivers.

Together with Sidian Bank and Zohari Leasing, vehicles will be made available for prices between 1 million Kenya shillings to 1.5 million Kenya shillings at interest rates of just over 10 percent and a repayment period stretched to a maximum of 36 months for drivers meeting the various criteria for participation.

Speaking in Nairobi, Sidian Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Titus Karanja noted that this partnership is well aligned to the lender’s mandate to support enterprises to thrive. “We are glad to be part of this deal, which is enabling enterprises to grow. In addition to financing, we will also provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries of this arrangement. This deal is part of our efforts to consolidate our new positioning that is focused on enabling individuals to own their tomorrow,” he said.

“To make this unique opportunity as widely available as possible, the qualifying criteria for both the finance and leasing options are focused more on the applicant’s proven Uber experience than on his or her credit history,” Karanja explained further before adding, “and the primary qualifying requirement is more than 500 trips and an Uber rating of higher than 4.6. We expect speedy uptake of this financing package, with the entrenchment of Uber’s services in Kenya.”

It is understood that even drivers with no experience or a track record on the Uber platform have the opportunity to benefit from the Vehicle Solutions Program, because provided their credit record is in good standing, they can apply for classic financing from Sidian Bank for up to 90% of the purchase price of vehicles that are of sufficient quality and reliability to give them entry into the Uber driver-partner network.

Anderson also pointed to the launch of the UberFinder platform in Kenya as a way to help those drivers and fleet partners not operating on the platform gain access to vehicles that they can use to build up their Uber track record in order to eventually qualify for the Sidian finance or leasing solutions. “Through the UberFinder system, fleet partners are able to rent their vehicles to drivers on the platform rather than employ full-time drivers, while drivers have a unique opportunity to rent the vehicle they need to gain the required Uber experience needed to eventually qualify to finance their own.”

Anderson went on to add: “The Vehicle Solutions Program is an excellent example of the power of collaboration and partnership across industries as a means of driving economic opportunity in Kenya, and it is another way in which Uber and Sidian are demonstrating their commitment to being proactive in developing business people and consumers in the country by making accessible and affordable transport a reality for all.”

Considering the challenging start Uber experienced with hostile reactions from taxi drivers and association, this is a remarkable step forward and it will no doubt also be made available in new markets Uber had signaled it will enter soon, like Uganda and Tanzania.

Uber launches quality vehicle initiative in Kenya

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