A new income creation opportunity has come up through Vaya lift services which is an Uber-type ride hailing service that can be easily booked by riders via the convenience of a mobile app. The new service is targeted at individuals and business customers. This development has largely been a result of the growing usage of smartphones and mobile apps.
The success of Uber and UberEats in countries such as South Africa and Kenya has been a motivating factor for Vaya in Zimbabwe. Uber South Africa has seen huge growth given that the ride-hailing app now has around 1.0 million active riders in South Africa and over 12,000 active drivers. Also related to Uber is the food delivery service; UberEATS. According to Uber Africa, over 550,000 people have downloaded the UberEATS app in South Africa and the business is getting over 10,000 additional downloads every week.
In Zimbabwe, the Vaya app has been gaining traction amongst riders and a number of drivers have also joined the platform. The impact has been on creating income generation opportunities for individuals in a country with an unemployment rate of over 80%. At a time when the labour unions and other independent bodies have pegged the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe at between 80% and 90%, there is clear evidence that the major problem is joblessness. There has also been a proliferation Road-Side Businesses (RSBs) in the country. These type of businesses are largely informal, mostly operate without fixed premises and in most cases on road sides or in open spaces. This has also led to the growth of a large informal economy in Zimbabwe.
Vaya for Business Owners, Drivers and Customers
Vaya is not only a relevant product offering in Zimbabwe but is a platform for individuals to set up viable small businesses in the country. According to a research by Symbiotics entitled “Small Enterprise Impact Investing, Exploring the “Missing Middle”, more than 95% of registered businesses in the world are small in size. Together, they constitute the largest employer in any given private-sector economy, whether of high- middle- or low-income levels.
The best bet is setting up a Vaya service in Victoria Falls
Vaya has seen phenomenal growth in tourist towns such as Victoria Falls. We highlight that there has been an increase in the number of tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe on the back of various marketing campaigns. In 2017, Zimbabwe attracted more than 2.4 million tourist arrivals which was an increase of 12% on 2016. In the first quarter of 2018, tourist arrivals went up 15% to 554,417 from 480,510 as tourism receipts also grew 20% to USD190m. Victoria Falls recorded an increase in average occupancies from 37% in January 2018 to 44% in March 2018, which was highest in the last 5 years. Victoria Falls is one of the world’s largest waterfalls and is ranked as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The growth has been attributed to a surge in international arrivals with 75% of the occupancies in Victoria Falls being foreign tourists. This means that Vaya drivers operating in Victoria Falls have an opportunity to generate the much-needed foreign currency from international travellers.
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