Inside Politics

Kenya’s Little eyes Ethiopian market in expansion drive

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 12:00 |
Little eyes Ethiopian market.

Bernard Sigei

MARKET: Little, Kenya’s leading super-app platform has finalised plans to expand services to the Ethiopian market this month in a move aimed at stamping its authority in the continent.

It plans to invest about $5 million (Sh543 million) in the next five years, with a provision to inject a similar amount later based on the growth projections. 

This will be the fifth country after Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania where the first growing Pan African company operates.

With a population of more than 112 million people and one of the fastest-growing countries and economies in Africa, investors consider Ethiopia as a unique market with massive opportunities for growth.

“Ethiopia has always been on our sight but we have been very cautious to get in there because of the nature of business,” said  Kamal Budhabhatti, Little Chief Executive Officer in a statement

Budhabhatti added that the move by Safaricom to Ethiopia in May this year gave them courage to do the same for an opportunity to extend its services.

Under the new strategy, the company will start with Ride-hailing services in Addis Ababa where it has several corporates lined up to pick up its services.

It is hopeful that before the year ends, it would open up Food delivery and financial services in the country. 

The expansion plan into the country has been on the company’s to-do list for a long period although Covid-19 pandemic which slowed businesses across the globe since March 2020 delayed the dream. 

Exuded confidence

The company said it will start with 2,000 drivers with a focus on scaling up the number to 10,000 in three months. 

Budhabhatti exuded confidence that the company will be a significant player in the new market. 

“We have some great Ethiopian partners. We felt that it is a very large market, and for us to succeed there, we need to work closely with Ethiopian companies who would bring a wealth of local and cultural knowledge.

We have always understood the power of localisation of our products,” he added.

“Having Ethiopian partners would help us to ensure the product is customised to meet the local needs of Ethiopians.”

Currently, Little controls Kenya’s market share in corporate clients with around 100,000 drivers on the platform. 

The company has been adding products and services to its app over the past few months.

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