Visa partnership in Cote D’Ivoire combines urban mobility with upward mobility
Visa and an Ivory Coast innovator, Moja Ride, are working together to transform the country’s transit sector and promote financial inclusion for working-class commuters and drivers. Our collaboration with Moja Ride in the country’s capital, Abidjan, is introducing the benefits of being part of the formal economy through a project with both technological and social significance. This work exemplifies our purpose as the trusted engine of commerce that provides the safe and secure movement of money for everyone, everywhere, and in so doing unlocks individual and collective potential.
A significant percentage of Abidjan’s five million residents rely on public transport such as buses, vans, taxis, and ferries to get them around the city. The cost of transport is high for commuters and is a significant contributor to urban poverty. Moja Ride estimates that under the informal transit network, the cost of transport can amount to 41% of income for a low-income worker, making it harder for many to rise out of poverty. The transit system does not only drain their finances, but their time and energy too. A 25km daily commute, for example, is estimated to take up to three hours each day. 
One of the main causes of high transport costs in Abidjan are the inefficiencies of the transport networks in the city. 85% of drivers are informal operators, and only 1% are owner-operators. There is also no traveler or trip data, which could provide information for route planning and improving transport infrastructure.
To combat the inefficiencies of this transport system, a group of entrepreneurs founded Moja Ride to provide an affordable ride-sharing app that would deliver “mobility as a service” to residents in Abidjan. The aim of this app was to bring both urban mobility and upward mobility to consumers by providing a simple, affordable, and effective solution.
Catalysing change in the transit system
Jean-Claude Gouéssé, Co-Founder and CEO of Moja Ride, says that a key element of their business plan was partnering with a global digital payments leader like Visa that would enable them to bring their app to more people, provide a secure platform for transactions, and be a trusted name for consumers.
“We’re really excited about this partnership with Visa and see them as a technological partner and an economic system enabler, particularly in the transit sector. Visa has been doing a lot of work in the mobility space and has built tools tailormade for transit,” Gouéssé says. “We value Visa’s expertise and experience, which will help make our app a reliable platform that can seamlessly address some of the transport industry’s challenges here in Abidjan.”
Visa’s success in bringing much-needed change to payments for transport systems in CEMEA countries can be seen in our work in Moldova and Belarus. Transit operators in these countries are using Visa Tap-to-Phone technology to enable contactless payments by tapping a card or wearable device on a bus or trolleybus conductor’s smartphone, while also eliminating the need for standalone ticket machines and additional validation hardware.
With Moja Ride, when commuters tap their Moja Ride prepaid Visa card on a transit driver’s card reader, one feature that comes in handy is deferred authorization. This means payment will be approved even if it cannot be immediately confirmed, which avoids slowing down a ride while the driver awaits approval.
Driving financial inclusion for the people of Abidjan
The Moja Ride prepaid Visa cards enable drivers to access their earnings almost immediately, through an ATM. Before the Moja Ride app, many drivers in Abidjan’s transit system were not part of the formal economy and so could not benefit from the advantages that financial services can offer. Moja Ride has provided an entry point for these drivers to open a bank account and join the formal economy. Similarly, for many of those using the Moja Ride app, the co-branded Moja/Visa mobility card is their first payments card. When people are able to access financial services, they are able to participate meaningfully in their country’s economy, through planning for recurring expenses and managing financial risk.
“We are proud that Moja Ride, with Visa’s support, is able to be a vehicle for financial inclusion and help empower Abidjan’s drivers and consumers,” notes Michelle Alladé, Moja Ride’s Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “When we announced the Visa card, people got really excited about it. As Visa is a global digital payments leader, the people of Abidjan are more open to using the service.”
Now that the Moja Ride app has been available for nearly two years, our partnership with them is yielding valuable insights from users’ payments data. For example, the data shows that stopovers that used to be the norm for specific routes are no longer necessary. Moja Ride has now arranged for drivers to begin offering routes directly from Bingerville to Plateau, a service that they started in early July.
Our local Visa team participates in the continuing education process for drivers, with our representatives in Abidjan joining in Moja Ride’s discussion groups with drivers on a weekly basis.
As Moja Ride prepares to expand – by geography into new countries such as Burkina Faso, by technology into new formats such as Visa Tap-to-Phone, and by sector into finance by offering access to advanced financial services – we at Visa will continue to play a key role in bringing the benefits of financial inclusion to people in Abidjan and across CEMEA.
 Visa Narrative and Messaging draft v2, and Visa: The Story of Access, Weiden+Kennedy/Publicis, 06/15/21
 Moja Ride pfd, INCLUSIVE MaaS FOR EMERGING MARKETS
 Info provided by Jihane B in July 5 email.
 Visa Tap to Phone press release, bullet points