Cameroon suspends ride-hailing app Yango for alleged failings

YAOUNDE, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Cameroon has suspended Russian ride-hailing app Yango over its alleged failure to comply with transport regulations, the African country’s transport ministry said on Wednesday.

Yango, which is owned by Russian tech giant Yandex, entered the Cameroonian market in 2021 with operations in the main cities of Yaounde and Douala.

The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Wednesday.

The government’s move follows a warning in September to Yango after transport unions complained of unfair competition.

At the time, the government said Yango needed to obtain a license from Cameroon’s telecoms regulator, register with the tax department and open a local bank account.

“Activities of public transport operated via the Yango digital platform are suspended until they are brought up to standard,” Cameroon’s Transport Minister Ngalle Bibehe Jean Ernest Massena said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Yango was also asked in September to open an office in Cameroon, declare its fares and taxes and publish its terms of use to clients. Massena said at the time that failure to comply would breach Cameroonian law and lead to its suspension.

The company did not publicly respond to those demands.

Cameroon’s government has faced pressure to clamp down on clandestine taxi services since fuel prices rose this month.

The head of the national taxi drivers’ union, Ernest Zena, told Reuters they met with the transport minister on Tuesday and threatened to strike if Yango was allowed to continue operating.

“We also want the government to order the different mobile network operators to block the app from running on their networks,” Zena said.

However, several users in Yaounde said the app was still operating on Wednesday.

The head of the Cameroonian Consumer League, Delor Magellan Kamseu Kamgaing, criticised Yango’s suspension.

“Yango’s activities guarantee a quality of service highly appreciated by its users, notably the affordable cost of ride and the safety on board hired cabs,” he told Reuters. (Reporting by Amindeh Blaise Atabong; Editing by Sofia Christensen and Alexander Smith)

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