Rwanda techpreneurs turn to transport industry

Saturday March 12 2016

Rwanda's transport sector is increasingly attracting tech innovators who offer solutions for convenience and profit. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

Tech innovators have turned to the transport industry to create convenience, comfort and ease.

In recent months, three Uber-style apps have been developed, some are being tested while others are used by riders in Kigali.

Despite the new platform’s potential to revolutionise transport in the country; similar solutions provided by technology startups known as “disruptive” have faced regulatory issues in some markets.

“We are not like Uber which allows anybody with the car to drive,” said Afshon Wallace Ngige the CEO and founder of 250 Taxi, a taxi app. Its peer “Gawana” is a tech startup that seeks to introduce a concept called “ridesharing” which is popular in the West and in some developing countries.

Co-founders Darcy Dwyer and Rachel Howell have recently pitched their new app at Klab, to hear views from developers and potential users. Gawana a platform to share journeys with long distance travellers, hopes to introduce the concept of sharing a comfortable ride in Rwanda.

“For example I have four seater car and I am driving to Gisenyi. I can go on the app, create a profile that shows who I am, my car model and other information.” Ms Howell said.


“Then I post, 4 seats I am driving from Kigali to Gisenyi on this day this time. I am willing to stop in Musanze on the way, and then the app will calculate a price per seat,” she added.

Young innovators say the fare price is based on fuel cost sharing, it is competitive with the bus, the model is faster and more comfortable.

Gawana app is still in testing process and founders said they will approach the regulator in future. SafeMotos is a relatively new app which described itself as a safer Uber for Rwandan moto taxis.” The startup hopes to promote safer riding in popular moto transportation that is often involved in road accidents.

The startup has recently announced about 20 per cent price reductions from Rwf129 to Rwf110 per km. Like in other developing markets, Tech entrepreneurs say they were compelled by increased use of smartphones in the country. Recent data from RURA shows 665,684 mobile subscribers use smartphones.