Revenue from the boda boda sub-sector is estimated to have hit Ksh 219 billion last year, according to the Motorcycle Assemblers Association of Kenya (MAAK).
The association estimates that there are at least 600,000 commercial motorcycles in Kenya each taking home an average of Ksh 1,000 per day. In contrast, a 14-seater matatu brings in a profit of about Sh3,500 daily.
Last year’s earning mean the boda boda operators raked in more money than giant telecommunications company, Safaricom, which posted Ksh 212 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
The data released by MAAK on Monday indicates that boda boda operators make about Ksh 600 million every day moving people and goods over short distances charging as low as Ksh 50.
The association’s chairperson Isaac Kalua, while releasing the report, noted that about 4.8 million people in Kenya rely on motorcycles for their daily operations implying that each unit is attached to the livelihoods of not less than eight people.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data puts the number of motorcycles sold in the country last year at 159,100 as at October 2017, reflecting an 87% growth compared to the 85,073 bought over a similar period in 2016.
“Until there is a solution to mass transport, there shall continue to be a need,” said Kalua.
In areas with poor road networks, boda bodas are considered the most viable option while in Nairobi’s highways, they are used by those seeking to skip traffic snarl ups.
Yes, there are too many riders and while everyone wants to say the hustle has become the haven for the thousands of unemployed youth.
The riders have varied earnings depending how smart they can get on the job with some working late into the night to make a better catch from the odd our demand that always goes with more pay. Grievous statistics on accidents involving boda boda riders have made authorities watch the industry that is largely characterised by violation of safety requirements and traffic regulations.
Joseph Sosi is a reporter with Business Today. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Media Technology) degree from Maseno University. Previously, he was a sub-editor of Ureport and social media administrator at The Standard Group. He is passionate about politics, education and technology.