Africa poised for arrival of the sharing economy

Paul de Villiers

Director, Africa, Amadeus IT Group

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As the sharing economy disrupts the travel industry around the world, it’s now also loudly knocking on Africa’s door.

africa sharing global

This year, Uber has gone on an aggressive expansion drive in Africa. Just last month, the company proudly announced it had entered Ghana, as well as Uganda and Tanzania. The taxi hailing service is now available in nine African countries, and has even adapted its offering to the continent. African travellers for example can elect to pay cash even though it goes against the concept of Uber.

Also Airbnb, which has recently stepped into the corporate space, is gaining ground in Africa, and especially in South Africa. The company claims there has been a 250% increase in travellers on Airbnb in South Africain 2015 compared to 2014.

Both Uber and Airbnb are reporting impressive numbers in Africa. This shows that no matter how much travel providers are hoping that the sharing economy might go away if they just close their eyes long enough, this isn’t going to happen. The sharing economy is here to stay and is even expanding.

Have you heard of WeWork, GrubHub, DoorDash, Shyp, or UberEats? These companies are lining up to attend to the needs of the lucrative corporate travel market and are offering convenience services such meal deliveries, parcel deliveries, and quick laundry services. Taking the sharing economy one step further, are companies such as MealSharing and EatWith, technology platforms that bring people together for shared meals.

As these new services and platforms take over the market, corporate travel managers are faced with numerous challenges relating to risk management, duty of careand expense reporting. They are racking their brains to figure out how these new ‘sharing’ and ‘convenience’ services fit into the overall travel policy, as they know that the next generation of business travellers will expect unified integration of these services in the travel process.

At Amadeus, our role is to work with early adopters and help the travel players find the balance between flexibility and control. This is such an exciting time for the travel industry in Africa as the sharing economy enters the market and we look forward to helping our partners take advantage of it.

This post was originally adapted from the Amadeus Sub-Saharan Africa Blog.


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