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Accepted Paper:

Start-ups and the State in Lagos: motorbike-hailing, digitalisation, and future technology adoption  
Shaan Pattni (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

Since 2015, motorbike-haling technology firms have hailed their transformation of the Lagos motorbike-taxi (okada) sector while raising millions in funding. Yet, the Lagos government banned okadas in 2020 citing safety concerns. This paper examines the true ‘impact’ of these firms in Lagos.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last five years, motorbike-haling firms have touted their transformative effect on Lagos’s motorbike-taxi (okada) sector. Upon their arrival, they predicted a new dawn for okada drivers and customers alike, and their visions were backed with tens of millions of US dollars in investor funding. However, on January 27, 2020, the Lagos state government announced via Twitter that commercial motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (keke) would be banned in six local government areas (LGA) from February 1, 2020 and onward. This is not the first time Lagos has banned both types of vehicles. However, this ban not only removed motorbike-taxis, but effectively removed motorbike-hailing firms from their largest market. The six affected LGAs encompassed a significant percentage of Lagos traffic, and unable to ferry customers in high-demand areas of Lagos, the firms lost large volumes of rides and the ability charge higher fares. It is no surprise that the firms engaged in intensive negotiations over the 18 months prior to the ban with state government and other stakeholders to avoid the outcome. Subsequently, half-a-decade after the firms’ market entry, the state government’s motorbike-taxi ban delivered a crippling financial blow that has put the survival of these firms into question. Therefore, the period between 2015 and 2020 provides a discrete window of time to analyse the ‘impact’ of the bike-hailing technology firms in Lagos and their relationship with the state government. Understanding their impact requires an in-depth look at the firms’ relationships with drivers, regulators, customers, and each other.

Panel P13b
The precarious New Deal: inclusive development and precarious workers II
  Session 1 Thursday 1 July, 2021, -