Bolt, a ride-hailing company is partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to promote access to on-demand mobility services in emerging economies.
To this end, the company has received IFC’s €20 million investment and advisory services to expand mobility solutions that create earning opportunities, stimulate small-scale entrepreneurship, and improve access to transportation in Eastern European and African markets.
According to a joint statement issued by the companies, IFC’s funding will be targeted towards Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and African markets, such as Nigeria and South Africa.
Bolt is currently piloting a ‘Women Only’ ride-hailing category in South Africa – a new service aiming to address safety needs and improve women’s mobility by connecting women drivers with women passengers.
IFC will support Bolt’s ongoing work to empower women passengers and drivers by improving their access to safe and affordable transportation and creating new economic opportunities.
Reacting to the development, CEO and Founder, Bolt, Markus Villig, said the company was looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe. “Together with the investment from the European Investment Bank last year, we are proud to have sizable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognising the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies.”
The company’s Country Manager, Femi Akin-Laguda, also added that as leaders in ride-hailing, Bolt is committed to improving the way people move in Nigerian cities.
“Safety and affordability are at the core of our operations and with this partnership, we’re even more dedicated and committed to increasing earnings, and providing entrepreneurial opportunities for citizens.”
IFC’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Stephanie von Friedeburg, said: “Technology can and should unlock new pathways for sustainable development and women’s empowerment.
“Our investment in Bolt aims to help tap into technology to disrupt the transport sector in a way that is good for the environment, creates more flexible work opportunities for women, and provides safer and more affordable transportation access in emerging markets”.
Bolt launched Nigeria – its second African market – in 2016. The ride-hailing company currently operates across seven African countries, providing earning opportunities for over 400,000 drivers in 70 cities across the continent.