On 9 February 2023 Reuters announced that the Cameroonian Transport Ministry suspended the activities of Yango the previous day.
Yango positions itself as an international rail-hailing service, it is owned by the Yandex Group and provides software solutions for taxi services in many African countries, namely, Côte-d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Zambie, Angola, DR Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Namibia, Mozambique, and Algeria and seeks to expand business in the region.
Since its launch in Cameroon in 2021, the company has been widely criticised both by the Ministry of transport and the local transport unions.
Regular taxi drivers are said to have threatened to go on strike citing that Yango drivers in Cameroon don’t comply with the regulations and don’t pay the taxes they pay. Yango was also accused of promoting clandestine transport services. The absence of stand-by services to contact in case of mishaps poses a problem as well.
At first, Yango did not publicly respond to the ministry’s warnings and demands and left the situation uncommented.
Reuters stated that according to the Ministry’s representative the suspension was caused by the previous non-compliances with the local road-hauliers regulations and Yango’s disregard for the requirements of the Ministry. It was also said that the company’s activity will be fully resumed after being brought into conformity with Law No. 2001/015 of 15/07/2001 regulating the professions of road transport operators and road transport auxiliaries in Cameroon.
However, on 9 February 2023, company’s representative refuted the news about Yango’s suspension in an exclusive comment for the Russian telegram channel Afrikanistika. According to the comment, the Cameroonian Ministry of Transport only warned the company’s partners (taxi owners) about the necessity of additional licences required to use Yango’s technologies. The suspension of its activities was not implied.
Yango also suggested using its case as a model for future regulations of ride-hailing apps in Cameroon and reiterated its commitment to cooperation with Cameroonian ministries, including the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of communications and telecommunications. Commenting on the situation, Andrey Maslov, the director of the HSE Centre for African Studies, noticed that the way Yango operates in Cameroon is different from the one Yandex Taxi operates in Russia. It does not own vehicles, nor does it provide software directly to the taxi drivers. It is not a road transport operator and it does not fall under mentioned regulations. It works with the car park operators providing them with B2B solutions and these operators are the ones being responsible for the transportation itself.