Safaricom-backed Little Cab taxi service. [Photo/] 

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The Safaricom-backed taxi-hailing company, Little Cabs, through its chief executive Kamal  Budhabatti, said that it had paid out Sh1 billion to partner drivers in the 13 months since its launch in the Kenyan market.

The partner drivers had withdrawn over Sh650 million through M-Pesa.

This was after an initiative was launched allowing the drivers to withdraw their money through M-Pesa instead of waiting for end week reconciliations with the company.

Since its entry into the market last year, Little has proven a challenger for the American based-hailing company Uber which entered Kenya in 2015.

The company has 5,000 partner-drivers on its mobile app, who clock over 13,000 rides during peak periods on the weekends.

Its success in the Kenyan market has seen Little expand to other countries and is piloting the service in Lagos, Nigeria.

Statistics from Uber indicate that the Nigeria taxi hailing market is the third largest in the continent after Kenya which is second and South Africa coming in first.

Estonian-owned Taxify, expanded into Uganda in late October with a 15% discount on all rides.

This came after Little had indicated plans to enter the Ugandan market last year.

Mr. Budhabatti says the plans have been put on hold and the main focus is on the entry of the Nigerian market.