After operating in Nigeria for over two years (January 2020 – November 2022), the motorcycle transport company, SafeBoda, has announced plans to end operations in Nigeria for economic reasons. SafeBoda would, however, continue to operate in Uganda, a country in east Africa where it has a large market.

Why this matters 
African startups are taking precautionary measures such as trimming of workforce and closing down bases of operations to extend runway at a time global inflation is biting hard. For example, Lazerpay announced earlier in the week a reduction in the number of staff after an investor pulled out in a round of funding. 

What they are saying 
According to SafeBoda CEO, Alastair Sussock, “the core unit economics of the okada business [in Nigeria] was very challenging, they were positive, but the margins were too thin.”

SafeBoda also said in a statement that the “current state [the motorcycle transport industry in Nigeria] is not economically viable and unfortunately requires significant investment at this challenging time in the global economic landscape.” 

By the numbers 
SafeBoda within the period of operations completed more than three million rides made by over 10,000 riders and more than 100,000 passengers in Nigeria. The Ugandan bike transport company also conducted logistics services of 50,000 deliveries within the same period.

The big picture 
This is the second time SafeBoda is exiting an African country, as in November 2020, the bike company ended operations in Kenya citing the economic impact of Covid-19 as its reason. 

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