Transporting goods quickly and cheaply is vital for trade, but it’s a struggle in many African nations. Now a startup is hoping to change that. In 2017, Obi Ozor and fellow Nigerian Ife Oyedele II launched digital platform Kobo360. A self-styled “Uber (UBER) for trucks,” it connects truck owners and drivers with cargo companies, aiming to make supply chains more efficient, affordable and transparent. As measures to control the spread of the coronavirus are rolled out across Africa, restrictions on movement are having an impact on a supply chain that was already struggling. Kobo360 can help ease those delays, said Ozor, “Instead of having to visit a truck park to find a driver, cargo companies can choose one online. Once the match is made, drivers receive half of their payment immediately. Kobo360 also provides routes that avoid roads targeted by armed bandits.” Kobo360 has worked with around 50,000 truck drivers in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda to help them transport over 760 million kilos (1.67 billion pounds) of goods, worth an estimated $200 billion. The company will be expanding into Egypt, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and the Middle East and aims to get 1.2 million truck drivers using the platform within three years.
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