The digital economy is rapidly growing, more so in African countries where traditional job opportunities are scarce and unemployment continues to climb. For example, apps like Uber have the ability to enable economic revival while providing earnings opportunities to drivers with enhanced features, unique partnerships and structured support during these uncertain times.
Below we take a look at three Uber drivers, as they reflect on why they continue to drive with the app since it launched in Ghana.
Grace is a 39-year-old married mother of one female driver, prior to joining Uber, she worked as a facility manager in Accra. Grace explains that while driving is seen as a typically male job, she often receives mixed reactions from riders which shows that people are changing their perceptions about this industry, While some are shocked to see a woman behind the wheel, others encourage her to keep up the great work.
Grace adds that driving with the app has taught her a lot of things, firstly how to manage her expenditure and making sure she has enough money to provide for her family. She also highlighted that as a driver he has over the years learnt to ensure that she has a savings kitty to fall back on for any emergency car repairs as she spends a lot of time on the road and these are more likely to happen.
Grace mentions that she enjoys driving with Uber because the app exposes her to locations in Ghana she has never visited before and that driving has increased her confidence on the road. She hopes that other women will be encouraged by the work that she does, especially the women that are sitting at home with nothing to do.
Benjamin, a 51-year old father of two children, one of whom he is proud to say is a University student, was one of the first drivers that joined the Uber app in 2016 when it launched in Ghana. Before joining Uber, he worked at a car rental company where he had a dedicated client to which he catered to their daily travel needs. With this job, he worked from Monday to Sunday leaving little to no time to do things he loves the most like breeding rabbits.
Benjamin explains that driving is one of the things he enjoys the most, when he was younger he worked for a nationwide mapping company in Accra and this has helped him know his way around the city. He prides himself as a walking and talking GPS. This has been extremely advantageous for him because as an Uber driver one needs to know their way around even with the help of the GPS system.
He says that Uber has assisted a lot of people like himself and has enabled them to make a decent income. He believes that the app has given him the opportunity to set his own daily driving targets allowing a family man like himself to spend more time with his family
Benjamin concludes by saying, “around my community I am always encouraging people to join the Uber app. I always get asked how I managed to stay motivated, the answer is with my driving experience I have learnt that I will always meet different people with different personalities and I need to learn to best deal with them in a professional manner. I always advise other drivers on the best spots to receive trips and always encourage them to not cancel trips from riders without a valid reason.
Joseph joined Uber in 2016 after hearing about the app from drivers that had just signed up with the app. Word was that Uber would allow him to make a decent amount of money to provide for his wife and three children. Before driving with Uber Joseph ran a small business where he sold cell phones which he decided to pause to focus on driving with the app.
Like many other drivers, driving comes as second nature to Joseph and he calls it one of his best hobbies that he gets to make money out of. Josephs says that “I love that I choose when I want to drive and once I have made the amount of money I had planned to make, I know I can spend the rest of my day with my family. “
Joseph encourages other drivers to join Uber to experience how technology makes everything easier. He further adds that “for example, everything is transparent on the Uber app. The app records everything from the time the trip was requested and the route travelled, this takes the stress out of recalling intricate details regarding trips incidents with riders where this is required.”
Joseph says that he is able to make a substantial amount of money when the app applies the surge feature. He adds that this normally happens when demand is high due to bad traffic caused by severe weather conditions. He mentions that this is one way of encouraging drivers to be online and ensure that riders get home safely. Joseph adds that he doesn't plan on leaving the app and hopes to have more vehicles on the app to give other drivers an opportunity to drive with the app.