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Ride-hailing service provider Little Ethiopia has partnered with Bank of Abyssinia’s neobanking platform Apollo to avail collateral-free loans of up to 120,000 birr for its drivers.

The partnership, which was announced today, October 27, 2023, also aims to provide insurance, asset financing, medical benefits, and other offerings in the near future.

“These loans have a repayment period of three months and a 7.5 percent (2.5 percent monthly) service fee” Barouk Almaw, country manager at Little Ethiopia, told Shega.

Drivers are expected to use apollo for their transactions and savings, which will build their credit score and help them unlock the maximum loans. The partnership will also see the drivers act as agents of the  end-to-end digital banking service, Apollo.

“We are happy to create more job opportunities for drivers in cooperation with Little Taxi. This partnership will help drivers improve their income streams and support the growth of the ride-taxi industry in Ethiopia,” stated Abay Seme, Director of Abyssinia Bank’s Customer Service.

Little Ethiopia, launched in March 2022, primarily serves corporate clients. Its core objective is to enable companies to avail ride-hailing services to their employees, eliminating the need for petty cash transactions and allowing payment at the end of the month.

Little has stated that it has onboarded 20,000 drivers and over 500 partner corporations like Safaricom, Ethiopian Airlines, Bank of Abyssinia, and Dashen Bank.

According to the ride-hailing company, its fleet management system for corporations helps them prevent the misuse of the transportation service they offer. This system allows them to track which employees have used the service, where they have traveled, and even manage the budget for its use, thereby enhancing transparency. This increased transparency has helped it create greater favorability among companies, states Little.

“Currently, we are providing an average of 6,000 trips daily,” added Barouk.

Little has a flag-down fee of 120 birr and charges 18 birr per kilometer. It has a rating system that rewards drivers with the highest rating with more jobs.

“Ride-hailing drivers are one of the most bankable segment of society in Ethiopia. Their daily income-generating activity is done online and could be evaluated. This is just the start. We want to increase the interaction between banks and drivers and add more features to our service in collaboration with partners,” Barouk added.

Operational in seven countries, Little App in Kenya is a super app that also provides event tickets and food delivery, among other services.


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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.