Three years after beginning its operations in Morocco, Uber announced this week that it will suspend its operations in the country due to regulatory concerns.
The multinational peer-to-peer ridesharing, food delivery, and transportation network company explained in a blog post that a current regulatory uncertainty in the North African country does not allow it to provide a safe and reliable experience that meets the requirements of its customers, both drivers and passengers.
"Unfortunately, since our launch in Morocco almost three years ago, we have not had any clarity about integrating applications like Uber into the existing transport model. That's why we make the difficult decision to suspend our activity in Morocco," the firm's blog notes.
The company says it hopes to return as soon as new rules are in place. "Although we are no longer active in Morocco, we remain available to define a favourable environment, allowing our technology to deploy its potential and Moroccans to have access again to a secure, accessible and efficient service to move and earn their life."
"So, as long as there is no real reform and a favourable environment for new mobility solutions, we are forced to suspend our operations... our priority: support drivers who use Uber in Morocco."
Uber says nearly 19,000 regular users travel with Uber and 300 drivers use its app. "We will accompany the 300 drivers for whom our application has been a source of income, with individual support time to make this difficult transition."
The ride-hailing company has faced bans, restrictions and protests throughout the world as it disrupts conventional taxi services.
According to Reuters, it has already halted services in Norway and Finland as it waits for the regulatory framework to change in those countries, "a sign of the less pugnacious approach the company is taking toward local authorities."
In various parts of the continent, including Kenya and South Africa last year, the firm experienced internal protests as drivers complained about better payment. Around Africa, the firm competes with the like of Taxify, LittleCab and Mondo Ride.
Uber says a successful transformation requires being a responsible partner for the cities, drivers, and users that it serves. "That is why we have done everything to work with the authorities and public authorities in Morocco to find a solution that would suit everyone."
"We want to be present in Morocco," Uber added, saying the North African country should have 'modern' innovation and competition-friendly regulation. "Morocco is ranked among the 50 most innovative countries according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index. So why not innovate in the transport sector?"