After the $10 million partnership between the International Finance Corporation and West African super app Gozem, six-thousand motor-taxi drivers can now get vehicle finance.
Moto-taxi drivers have the option to rent or buy electric bikes, with the ultimate goal of increasing income. Petrol motorcycles are still the most popular mode of transportation in this area. The Gozem/IFC partnership will allow drivers to learn about the many benefits of electric bikes, which can drastically reduce carbon emissions.
According to a media release issued by Gozem, there are about 12 million moto-taxi drivers in West and Central Africa’s informal economy. The majority of drivers are not able to access traditional banks or microfinance institutions to finance the vehicles. They rely instead on money lenders who charge higher interest rates, sometimes exceeding 70% per year.
Gozem is a super app that offers a variety of services including transport, ecommerce, and financial services. It has many programs in Francophone Africa to assist drivers in increasing their income, decreasing their operating costs, and gaining education.
It was founded 14 months ago to provide vehicle financing to its drivers. More than 2 000 drivers have been able to purchase vehicles with affordable financing.
Through the new partnership, Gozem and IFC will finance new vehicles for a further 6 000 drivers with “millions more” said to be in the pipeline. Gozem will test electric bikes under moto-taxi conditions over the next year and IFC will build a network of green battery swapping stations in Benin and Togo to show that electric bikes can be cost-effective.
“Gozem has truly changed my life,” says Yaotse Francis Eteh, a moto-taxi driver in Lomé, Togo. “With their app, they have allowed me to better manage my finances which allowed me to finish building my house.
“They have trusted me like no one else before by lending me money to buy two bikes, and they have given my wife the opportunity to participate in their entrepreneurship programme for women.”
Gregory Costamagna, co-founder of Gozem and co-CEO of Gozem, said that moto-taxi drivers in West Africa and Central Africa will need credit facilities of $3 billion annually to replace their vehicles. “We are excited that IFC is placing their trust in Gozem to be at the forefront of providing affordable financing solutions to these underserved communities.”
“By working with Gozem, we will increase affordable and green financing solutions for moto-taxi drivers to shift to electric bikes. We hope IFC’s investment for these underserved communities will encourage other investors and accelerate the reduction of poverty and greenhouse gasses emissions in these markets,” adds Aliou Maiga, IFC’s regional director for West and Central Africa.
Gozem is widely known as Francophone Africa’s leading super app. It’s currently in operation in 13 cities in Togo and Benin, Gabon and Cameroon. The app has a million users, who have completed more than 10 million trips in the past year since its launch in November 2018.
The IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. It is present in more than 100 countries and has committed record amounts of $31.5 billion to private financial institutions in developing nations last year.