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Unlike Many other African Countries, Ride-hailing Apps are not Yet Common in Senegal

Tech has been slow to take off in the former French colony—a general trend for Francophone Africa compared to Anglophone equivalents. But this is beginning to change as several startups make inroads into the untapped market over the last year—and the competition is heating up. Companies have erected giant billboards overlooking many of Dakar’s raised motorways, offering discounts for first-time users. Paris-based Heetch, Russian firm Yango, and Algerian ride-hailing app Yassir have all started operations in Senegal over the last 12 months. One of the main problems, however, is recruiting drivers. Many of Senegal’s traditional cab drivers do not own smartphones and some do not speak French, which is the language used on the apps. There is also hesitancy among local drivers who do not see the need to use technology when they have worked independently for years. For this reason, Heetch sets up workshops to train its drivers how to use smartphones at its office in Dakar’s upper-class neighborhood, Les Almadies.