At first, work as an Uber driver seemed to offer Harrison Munala everything he’d hoped for when he moved from a town in the western part of Kenya to its capital, Nairobi.
Uber seemed like the answer to Munala after he had spent nearly 15 years of informal employment as a house cleaner and school bus driver. Many of the energetic hustlers with middle-class aspirations who flock to East Africa’s economic hub thought so, too.
Work with Uber was so good that, about three years ago, after a year having driven a car he rented privately for 15,000 shillings a week (at the time, about $150), Munala, who is now 34, borrowed money from his sister for the down payment on a Toyota Passo, a compact car. And he took out a loan from Izwe, a pan-African microfinance and loan company.