Considering the chaotic nature of the taxi system in most African states, some analysts say the newly launched Easy Taxi app service is bound to excel in the Nigerian market.
Brazil-based Easy Taxi last week announced a global expansion into Asia, the Middle East and a whole new market, Africa, starting first in Nigeria following a US$10-million investment boost from African Internet Holding, a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Millicom, a digital services company.
"The app market is still low in most parts of Africa," said Al Turay. Easy Taxi could be poised to succeed in Africa, he said. "It will succeed because it will bring about the needed system that ought to be in place for road users, especially Africans from the Diaspora who visit on a short term basis without their cars."
The Easy Taxi app, which would be available for both iOS and Android users, is designed to equip drivers with devices that will be preloaded with the app so that they can get taxi calls and respond.
Though Turay noted that there may be a challenge for most of the drivers who would be unable to work with the app until they have been trained, he added that the service will tap into the continent's growing smartphone users.
"Smartphone use is growing in Africa. Take Sierra Leone as an example. As at 2010, what most people know to be a smartphone was the Blackberry," Turay said. "But today, you have the Android and other touchscreen phones. The market for smartphones is shifting and the demand is getting higher. In fact, people no longer depend on their relatives either in the U.S. or U.K. for such phones. They buy them here."
Easy Taxi is expected to be launched in eight more African countries -- Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia and Angola -- by the end of the year.
Easy Taxi started in Brazil in 2011 to connect taxi drivers and passengers. The company says that with more than 45,000 taxi drivers on the network and over 1.5 million downloads, it plans to bring its service to markets outside South America.