“Gabon is quite attractive as it’s a wealthier country as measured by GDP than our existing markets, and it’s significantly wealthier as measured by GDP per capita,” the startup’s CEO and Co-founder, Emeka Ajene, said.
The ride-hailing service will carry out operations similar to Uber and Bolt. Charges will be based on the distance covered. Payment can be made with cash, credit cards, Airtel Money, or the Moove Money Fintech platform.
“Our immediate focus is on providing a high-quality, reliable taxi service in that city, and then expanding the range of services we offer to Libreville’s population.”Emeka Ajene – CEO and Co-founder, Gozem
The ride-hailing feature is the only service Gabonese users will find on the app at the moment and it is only available in Libreville, the capital city.
“Our immediate focus is on providing a high-quality, reliable taxi service in that city, and then expanding the range of services we offer to Libreville’s population,” Ajene said.
Launching a taxi service in Gabon helps the company “diversify away from our beginnings as a 100% motorcycle-taxi oriented platform.”
“We’ve developed an in-house capability to operate effectively in secondary cities in the region and there are one or two additional cities that you might ultimately see Gozem operating in in Gabon,” he said.
One point of curiosity in this expansion is that Gabon is a smaller country by population compared to Togo (~8 million) and Benin (~ 12 million). Ajene acknowledges that but explains that purchasing power is another consideration that bears on expansion plans.
-Raphael Dana, Gozem co-founder, says the launch responds to the needs of the Gabonese population and aligns with Gozem’s long-term plan to organise transport and commerce in Africa around the ongoing smartphone and internet revolution.
“Our ambition is to consolidate our status as the premier super app in Africa, and this expansion to Central Africa, our first foray outside of West Africa, also allows us to prepare our upcoming expansion to Cameroon,” Dana said.
The expansion to Cameroon is on the calendar for this year; DR Congo is also being explored. Beyond moving into new countries to enable taxis however, Gozem plans to make its other verticals compete with incumbents in the markets they currently operate.
“We have robust food & e-commerce delivery verticals, we’re beginning to see a significant impact coming from our vehicle financing vertical as well, and our plans for our full-service wallet are still on track,” Ajene said.