DR Congo taxi service puts women in the driver's seat

In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital of Kinshasa, the first all-female, high-end taxi service is putting women exclusively in the driver's seat, challenging what traditionally has been a male-dominated area of the transport sector. Launched by a businesswoman two years ago, the service has been so successful it is now setting up an academy to train up to 100 drivers. FRANCE 24 has this report.

On any given day in Kinshasa, women can be seen behind the wheel of a number of bright pink cars whizzing around the city streets. These cars belong to a ride-hailing service, Ubizcabs, which is the brainchild of Patricia Nzolantima. The Harvard-educated entrepreneur has big ambitions for the company and the women she employs.

“Ever since I became an entrepreneur, I've always invested in women, because I believe in women," Nzolantima says. "I believe that African women will succeed where men have failed. Believe me: Put women in positions of power, and they'll change the world."

One client, Christelle Dibata says Ubizcabs are a more comfortable and safer way of getting around.

"I've always been a bit scared to drive in Kinshasa because it's complicated," she told FRANCE 24. "But seeing a woman behind the wheel, it really gives you confidence. It makes you realise, that yes, we can!"

Most trainees, like Maricia, are recent graduates and like many of the other women drivers were previously unemployed.

"First of all, there was no such thing as female taxi drivers here in the DRC. So when I saw they were hiring women, I thought to myself: Well, this could be an opportunity for me."

For Nzolantima, the sky's the limit. She now wants to expand internationally and compete with the likes of other ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber.

Click on the player to watch FRANCE 24's report.