Cameroon : Government Suspends Ride-hailing app Yango
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Yango, a Russian ride-hailing, delivery and e-grocery service operating in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, available via a mobile application, has been suspended from operating in Cameroon by Minister of Transport Ngalle Bibehe Jean Ernest Massena. The government’s move follows a warning in September to Yango after transport unions complained of unfair competition.
Yango, owned by the Russian internet company, Yandex, however, says it is not suspended from the Central African country. As of 2022, the Yango service operates in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Finland, Cameroon, Senegal, Norway, Zambia and Israel.
“Activities of public transport operated via the Yango digital platform are suspended until they are brought up to standard,” Cameroon’s Transport Minister Ngalle Bibehe Jean Ernest Massena said in a statement issued on February 8.
The head of the national taxi drivers’ union, Ernest Zena, told Reuters they met with the transport minister on Tuesday and threatened to strike if Yango was allowed to continue operating. “We also want the government to order the different mobile network operators to block the app from running on their networks,” Zena said.
Delor Magellan Kamseu Kamgaing, head of the Cameroonian Consumer League criticised Yango’s suspension. “Yango’s activities guarantee a quality of service highly appreciated by its users, notably the affordable cost of the ride and the safety on board hired cabs,” he told Reuters.
“The suspension letter is addressed to the partners of Yango, who are local transportation services providers using Yango Digital Platform, and it states that they should obtain additional licenses to work with the digital platform,” a Yango spokesman said in an email response to Reuters.
“We at Yango were surprised by this ministry of transport decision and consider it a result of misinterpretation of the business model we bring to Cameroon,” the spokesman said, adding that the firm had been working with authorities including the transport ministry.