Interview With Lorraine Onduru, Communications Lead for Uber in West and East Africa

Last week, we had a chance to sit down for a one on one interview with Lorraine Onduru, the current communications lead for Uber in West and East Africa.

Lorraine Onduru

Prior to joining Uber, Lorraine spent almost six years as an Account Director at Hill + Knowlton Strategies in Ghana and Nairobi, where she provided strategic communications support. She was responsible for growing the agency’s footprint in that market and she was able to provide strategic communications advice to clients such as Access Bank, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Twitter, and MasterCard.

We discussed Uber in West Africa, the changes made by Uber during the pandemic, and their recent partnership with Moove Africa.

Here are a couple of takeaways from the interview:

Uber Adapting To The Pandemic

As different countries experienced lockdowns at different times, Uber had to adapt to a new situation in which there was a dramatic slowdown in rides and driver activity.

For safety purposes, Uber added a verification feature for their drivers where they would have to make sure that they were masked up during trips with riders.

Another way Uber adapted was to help provide drivers with a “safety net” if they had to quarantine. Uber would pay drivers their average earnings for 14 days in which they were quarantined in order for them to keep making a living.

Lastly, Uber introduced Uber Connect, a feature that allowed riders to request for Uber cars for delivery of items to different destinations.

Uber + Moove Africa Partnership

This year, Uber announced its partnership with Moove Africa. This partnership was to provide potential and current Uber drivers in Ghana with long-term access to vehicles. Drivers have the option to pay for vehicles in different installment packages whether weekly or monthly.

Currently, the partnership is ongoing in South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. Drivers just have to sign up for the Moove Africa program and accept the terms and conditions after application.

How Uber Chooses Different Cities

Currently, Uber is active in four cities in Ghana: Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, and Cape Coast. In choosing which city to be active in, Uber considers different factors including population, the current infrastructure, and any data on the ground which can inform their internal team on establishing a base in those cities.

Currently, Uber has no plans to move to other cities at the moment but their team are always on the lookout for any opportunities.

Raising Prices, Driver Commissions And Incentives

Recently, Uber raised prices in Accra, adjusting fares upwards by 10%.

Uber regularly holds driver feedback sessions to get more understanding about their driver current needs and implements the feedback accordingly. With fuel prices on the uptick and some economic hardships, Uber likely factored everything in with their recent price adjustment.

Although there has been much driver pushback on Uber’s 25% commission, the company offers incentives and rewards to drivers for achieving certain milestones to satisfy driver concerns.

Possible Uber Eats Expansion And Mobile Money Integration

Uber Eats is a product where Uber integrates with restaurants and eateries for users to order online and get delivered to their location. Uber Eats is currently available in South Africa and Kenya at the moment. There are no immediate plans to launch in Ghana as of yet but Uber will provide updates on this.

On Mobile Money integration for making payments, Uber is still looking at the option of integration for riders and drivers and will provide updates on when this option will be available locally.

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