Uber Eats, Gauteng pact to create 10K digital economy jobs

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 04 Aug 2023
Thousands of young people will be trained in e-commerce skills.
Thousands of young people will be trained in e-commerce skills.

Uber Eats South Africa has invested R200 million to help create 10 000 jobs for youths through its last-mile delivery platform across Gauteng’s townships over the next three years.

The initiative is part of a strategic partnership forged with the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), to create digital economy employment opportunities and upskill youth in e-commerce skills.

According to Uber Eats, the two-fold partnership seeks to recruit and contract 2 000 motorbike courier drivers, who will undertake deliveries for the Uber Eats app, for the duration of the memorandum of understanding.

In addition, 2 000 township merchants will be on-boarded and listed on the online marketplace. These will include restaurants and enterprises with products suitable for e-commerce platforms, as well as informal traders with licences and certificates of acceptance.

Furthermore, the collaboration will identify and place another 2 000 township-licensed liquor traders onto the Uber Eats platform, with the objective of fostering compliance within the industry.

The combined effort is anticipated to result in a total of 10 000 participants benefitting from income-earning jobs during the partnership's duration.

The R200 million investment over the next three years will go towards hardware, skills training, campaigns and account support.

“This memorandum of understanding aims to stimulate township economies through digitalisation,” said Nakampe Molewa, GM for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa, speaking this morning at the announcement in Vosloorus, Gauteng.

“Uber Eats is perfectly positioned to deliver on this goal, harnessing our technology to uplift township economies and transform the lives of township residents. Our commitment will also make township markets more viable for local technology platforms, with more delivery people and merchants online.”

Nakampe Molewa, GM for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nakampe Molewa, GM for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Molewa, the job creation initiative is set to open opportunities for the youth in township economies in the country’s economic heartland. It also aims to break barriers to entry into the economy, while creating direct jobs, fostering economic growth and promoting responsible driving in the province.

According to Statistics SA, the youth remain the most vulnerable in SA’s labour market, with the total number of unemployed youth (15-34 years) increasing by 241 000 to 4.9 million, in the first quarter of 2023. During the same period, 32.9% (7.9 million) South Africans were unemployed.

“We have launched this initiative in line with the Township Economic Development Act of 2022, which aims to unlock economic development for SMEs in township communities,” said Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for economic development.

“This is an outstanding example of the power of public-private partnerships, and we are proud to be working together on a project which is certain to change the lives of thousands of South Africans.

“By facilitating access to the e-commerce market and the digital economy, the initiative aims to unlock the untapped potential of township economies and empower young entrepreneurs with modern business practices.”

According to Motara, the initiative has positive implications for economic opportunities. It will also help to grow the economy of Gauteng and empower township enterprises by providing them with e-commerce market access opportunities, enabling them to reach markets beyond their immediate communities, he noted.

Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for economic development.
Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for economic development.

In addition, the GPG will work in collaboration with Diageo Empowerment Trust to help young people obtain driving licences, as the initiative aligns with the goal of promoting responsible driving and enhancing road safety across the province.

Uber Eats has been ramping up its strategy to transform into a digital mall. The food delivery app has added new verticals to its category offerings, to include merchants and products such as florists, beauty products, women’s apparel, alcohol, stationery, jewellery and pharmacy.

The number of stores listed across the various categories increased by 1 860% since 2021, it says.

In SA, over 10 000 active delivery people make deliveries per week. They have collectively travelled over five million kilometres delivering groceries and essential goods in 2023, says Uber Eats.

Since 2013, Uber and Uber Eats have collectively reached over 30 million riders and eaters in Sub-Saharan Africa, it adds.

To support merchants listed on the app, Uber Eats partnered with the African Management Institute, to offer learning opportunities for Uber Eats restaurant partners through the institute’s Growth2Go Academy.

The Growth2Go programme offers a two-week bootcamp, to equip participants with the necessary business planning and strategy tools that will enable them to begin mapping out and measuring the key next steps to meet their business goals.

The Uber Eats and Gauteng tie-up was announced this morning at an event in Vosloorus.
The Uber Eats and Gauteng tie-up was announced this morning at an event in Vosloorus.