Ride-hailing startup, Gozem, has signed a $10-million partnership deal with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), seeking to enable moto-taxi drivers in Togo and Benin to access vehicle financing.
Through the new partnership, Gozem and IFC will finance new vehicles for 6,000 drivers with “millions more” said to be in the pipeline.
Over the next year, Gozem and IFC will also test electric bikes in moto-taxi operating conditions and build a green battery swapping station network in Togo and Benin to demonstrate electric bikes can save drivers money.
According to a media release issued by Gozem, there are about 12 million moto-taxi drivers in West and Central Africa’s informal economy. Most of the drivers do not have access to traditional banks and micro-finance institutions to finance their vehicles. Instead, they rely on money lenders that charge higher interest rates, often above 70% annually.
Gozem co-CEO and co-founder Gregory Costamagna says moto-taxi drivers in West and Central Africa are estimated to need access to $3 billion of credit facilities annually to finance the replacement of their vehicles.
The firm currently operates in 13 cities across Togo, Benin, Gabon, and Cameroon with a million registered users that have completed 10 million trips since its launch in November 2018.