Little Cab, the ride-hailing app backed by Kenyan telcom's operator Safaricom, is set to begin operations in Lagos, Nigeria in October.

This will be Little Cab’s first expansion drive outside Kenya, in a move seen to step up its battle for customers abroad with rival firms Uber and Taxify.

“Our team is already in Nigeria ahead of the official launch set for October 8 and we are hoping to grow the business further in the continent.

Locally, we are the first to venture into Kisumu city and we will be rolling out the service to other towns that our surveys suggest need the e-hailing service,” said Little’s chief executive Kamal Budhabatti.

Since its launch in Kenya in July, the ride-hailing app, developed by the Kenyan tech firm Craft Silicon, has so far signed up more than 1,600 drivers, outnumbering Uber’s just over 1,000 drivers since it began operations in January.

While this will be Little Cab’s first venture outside Kenya, Uber already operates in 14 cities across 8 countries in Africa, including Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, and Abuja.

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Nonetheless, Little hopes to bank on its cheap pricing to woo passengers and gain market share in the populous nation that is Nigeria.

“Nigeria is where we have our biggest continental operations as Craft Silicon and so we believe we have leverage there. The same applies for Uganda where we are also based,” Mr Budhabhatti said.

He also said that recent features added in the app, which include a panic button to boost security of riders and drivers and a facial recognition system, will also be introduced in the Nigerian market.

The system improves security of its riders and cuts down cases of drivers sharing accounts or using unknown accounts.