Strive Masiyiwa's Econet gets into ride-hailing with Vaya Lift

Econet - through a subsidiary Cassava - launched a ride-hailing service in Harare, Zimbabwe. Called Vaya Lift, the service has been under testing phase for at least the past one and a half months.

Vaya Lift's app is already available on both Android and iOS. Eddie Chibi, the Cassava Smarttech Zimbabwe CEO, said that they already have drivers on the app.

"As we speak, we already have over 500 active drivers and the number is growing on a daily basis, but we have stepped up our recruitment drive,” he said.

As part of a promotion to lure more drivers, they are now offering 10 liters of free fuel and US $5 worth of airtime. Eugene Gorimani, from Cassava, added that they are also offering "free comprehensive EcoSure mobile cover."

On top of that, new riders will also receive "at least US $5 for each day you're working on your Vaya." They also coupled this with the promise that the riders can actually make up to $1,000 a month. A claim some existing drivers on the app backed in their testimonials.

For the new individual riders, the company is offering 5 free rides. While the number goes to 100 free rides for new corporate clients. Of course, they will make payments through EcoCash.

Vaya Lift carries the latest security features that Uber unveiled recently across EMEA. These include the option of using a panic button when in danger as well as adding a number for the next of kin.

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In a market where Uber and Taxify - Africa's leading ride-hailing companies - have shunned, there remains an opportunity for a leader to emerge.

Being the leading telecom in the country, Econet is looking to leverage its position. In the process, they are creating an ecosystem of interdependent products. The same things MTN, Safaricom and all other leading telecoms have done.

Safaricom launched a ride-hailing company, Little, and an e-commerce marketplace, Masoko. They followed this with a music streaming service, Songa and a platform for farmers to access finances, M-Farm.

While MTN recently partnered with Tidal to launch its service in Uganda. As well as with Mastercard to allow its mobile money users to make online payments.

Cassava smart-tech Zimbabwe is a subsidiary of Cassava Smarttech international. Which in turn is a subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group, which was founded by Strive Masiyiwa. EcoCash, EcoSure, and EcoFarmer are all roofed under Cassava Smarttech.

Within Cassava Smarttech, Econet has also created another subsidiary called Cassava On-demand Services. Vaya Lift is the first of the many services that the company is looking to launch.

"We are launching a piece of a lot of other things which [we] are going to see in the next couple of weeks if not days," Chibi said. While Eugene added that their aim is an app that can allow one to access anything on demand.

"Maybe tomorrow you might be looking at getting a gardener on demand," Eugen said. Adding that; "Maybe I can even get to request a make-over for my wife from the comfort of our home."

According to reports from both TechZim and The Standard Zimbabwe, either Cassava Smarttech Zimbabwe or Cassava On-Demand Services will be listed on its own on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

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