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Bolt investment boost aimed at powering women

IFC has awarded the ride-hailing service a €20 million investment to increase access to mobility services in emerging markets

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Photo by Peter Fazekas from Pexels

Bolt has received a massive boost from International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, to promote access to its services in emerging economies, and to empower women.

IFC’s €20 million investment and advisory services are aimed at helping Bolt expand mobility solutions that create earning opportunities, stimulate small-scale entrepreneurship, and improve access to transportation in Eastern European and African markets.

Bolt launched South Africa – its first African market – in 2016, and now operates in over 34 towns and cities across all nine provinces, connecting more than 25,000 drivers with passengers.

Since its launch in South Africa, the company currently operates in seven African countries, providing earning opportunities for more than 400,000 drivers in over 70 cities across the continent. 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 female drivers with female passengers. IFC will support Bolt’s ongoing work to empower women riders and drivers by improving their access to safe and affordable transportation and creating new economic opportunities.

Markus Villig, Bolt’s CEO and founder, says: “We are 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 sizeable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognising the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies”.

Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC SVP of operations, says: “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”.

Gareth Taylor, regional manager for Bolt in Southern Africa, says: “Half of Bolt’s business is in Africa, and this investment will make it possible for us to stimulate entrepreneurship and enable progress for drivers and passengers by transforming transportation on the continent.”

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