The FINANCIAL-- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing in the global mobility platform Bolt to help expand access to mobility and delivery services in underserved urban areas in Africa and Eastern Europe—including in South Africa, Nigeria, and Ukraine. IFC's €20 million investment and advisory services will help Bolt expand mobility solutions that create earning opportunities and improve access to safer and more accessible transportation in emerging economies according to IFC.
"We are looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe. Together with the investment from the European Investment Bank last year, we are proud to have sizable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognizing the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies." said Markus Villig, CEO and Founder of Bolt.
Bolt's expansion in emerging markets has the potential to create new earning opportunities, while also increasing access to affordable urban mobility services for riders through greater price transparency, improved convenience, and enhanced safety. This will benefit women in particular by tackling some of the barriers hindering their participation in the workforce, such as lack of access to adequate and safe transportation and flexible earning opportunities.
"Technology can and should unlock new pathways for sustainable development and women's empowerment," said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Senior Vice President of Operations. "Our investment in Bolt aims to help tap into technology to disrupt the transport sector in a way that is good for the environment, creates more flexible work opportunities for women, and provides safer and more affordable transportation access in emerging markets."
As IFC notes, increasing digitalization and growing urbanization are transforming urban mobility and last-mile logistics. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital platforms and services, particularly last-mile delivery, by providing faster distribution channels and helping businesses to continue to operate and reach customers amidst lockdowns. In addition, with 68 percent of the population expected to live in cities by 2050, challenges like traffic congestion and pollution are forcing local authorities to limit the number of cars in urban areas, creating opportunities for climate-smart transportation options such as e-scooters, which Bolt has rolled out in over 45 cities across Europe.
As the first mobility platform worldwide to sign on to a zero-carbon pledge in European markets, Bolt will further promote climate-smart transportation in fast growing cities where green growth is essential for sustainability.