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Uber Launches New Products

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Uber
  • Uber Launches New Products

Uber has announced a powerful set of new features on the app that will make it even easier for driver-partners across Nigeria to choose when, where, and how they drive.

This is contained in a statement by Francesca Uriri, Communications – West Africa, which also said, “Driver-partners in Nigeria choose to drive with Uber because they can use the app on their own terms. With these new features, Uber is doubling up on what’s made Uber the first choice for flexible opportunities and making it even better.”

These new features follow the recent launch of Uber’s In-App Chat, a feature which allows driver-partners and riders to chat right in the Uber app without having to share their phone numbers with one another when they need to get in touch.

Lola Kassim, General Manager for Uber West Africa explains, “Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with over 7000 driver-partners across Nigeria, hearing what they need from the Uber app so that we can improve and transform the driver experience.

We are thrilled about the feedback we received as driver-partners have been very clear on what they need. Based on their responses, we will be rolling out products that can address three keys areas: more flexibility for drivers when it comes to when they want to use Uber, using Uber technology to create a stress-free experience, and building on safety.”

To start, Uber will be launching a number of products that drivers have asked for: Driver Share My Trip: Uber already offers a way for riders to share their trip status with their contacts, and so the Share My Trip feature now allows drivers to share the trip information with loved ones, without implicating the privacy of the rider or divulging personal information or specific drop off or pick up points.

Arrival Destination & Time: Drivers will now be able to set the time that they want to arrive at their final destination at any time of the day with the Arrival Time feature. As drivers go about their day with the destination and arrival time set, the app will notify them when it’s time to start heading toward their destination. At that time, they’ll be connected with a trip along the same path. This allows for more flexibility and allows them to make a little extra money on the way.

Long trip notification: Information will be sent to driver-partners to fit driving around their lifestyle, which means drivers will now get a heads-up when a trip is estimated to be 45 minutes or longer, so they can plan accordingly.

Rating protection: Sometimes riders might give their trip a low rating for reasons beyond a drivers control like an issue with the Uber App. With the new ratings policy, these type of ratings won’t count towards a drivers score. Uber will still get the feedback to help them improve but it won’t impact the driver’s overall rating.

‘No Thanks’ button: This new feature provides drivers the flexibility to turn down trips without worrying how it will affect their earnings. Currently, drivers can either confirm and take a trip request or wait for the request to timeout. However with this new feature, the ‘no thanks’ button, drivers can decline the trip right away – it’s good news for riders too as the request gets passed on to another driver sooner meaning shorter waiting times for riders.

What does this mean for driver-partners? Kassim explains, “When Chinonyerem goes online to start accepting rider requests, he can use the “Share My Trip” feature to share his information about his trip with his wife such as where he is on the map. He is in control to start and stop sharing with his wife or other contacts as he’d like, and she can easily see his whereabouts on a map with quick-dial contact details and his license plate number.”

“Or take, for example, driver-partner Adekunle, who has been driving for quite some time that day and wants to end his time on the Uber app in the next hour so. “Long trip notification” allows for him to know in advance if the next trip will be more than 45 minutes so that he can choose to accept it or it goes to the next available driver, allowing him to go home when he needs to.”

“Drivers play a key role in defining Uber’s future and we want them to know that we are committed to ensuring the app works best for them first. We believe these new features will create meaningful changes to their lives and driving experience,” concludes Kassim.

But this is only the start – by putting driver-partner concerns and dialogue at the heart of Uber’s strategy, Uber will continuously work on improving their experience with the app. This isn’t just about new features – it’s about a sustained commitment over time, and Uber is incredibly excited to apply the full strength of Uber to improve and transform the driver experience for the 7000 men and women who drive with Uber every week.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Gold

Gold Steadies After Initial Gains on Reports of Israel’s Strikes in Iran

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Gold, often viewed as a haven during times of geopolitical uncertainty, exhibited a characteristic surge in response to reports of Israel’s alleged strikes in Iran, only to stabilize later as tensions simmered.

The yellow metal’s initial rally came on the heels of escalating tensions in the Middle East, with concerns mounting over a potential wider conflict.

Spot gold soared as much as 1.6% in early trading as news circulated regarding Israel’s purported strikes on targets in Iran.

This surge, reaching a high of $2,400 a ton, reflected the nervousness pervading global markets amidst the saber-rattling between the two nations.

However, as the day progressed, media reports from both countries appeared to downplay the impact and severity of the alleged strikes, contributing to a moderation in gold’s gains.

Analysts noted that while the initial spike was fueled by fears of heightened conflict, subsequent assessments suggesting a less severe outcome helped calm investor nerves, leading to a stabilization in gold prices.

Traders had been bracing for a potential Israeli response following Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, raising concerns about a retaliatory spiral between the two adversaries.

Reports of an explosion in Iran’s central city of Isfahan further added to the atmosphere of uncertainty, prompting flight suspensions and exacerbating market jitters.

In addition to geopolitical tensions, gold’s rally in recent months has been underpinned by other factors, including expectations of US interest rate cuts, sustained central bank buying, and robust consumer demand, particularly in China.

Despite the initial surge followed by stabilization, gold remains sensitive to developments in the Middle East and broader geopolitical dynamics.

Investors continue to monitor the situation closely for any signs of escalation or de-escalation, recognizing gold’s role as a traditional safe haven in times of uncertainty.

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Commodities

Global Cocoa Prices Surge to Record Levels, Processing Remains Steady

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Cocoa futures in New York have reached a historic pinnacle with the most-active contract hitting an all-time high of $11,578 a metric ton in early trading on Friday.

This surge comes amidst a backdrop of challenges in the cocoa industry, including supply chain disruptions, adverse weather conditions, and rising production costs.

Despite these hurdles, the pace of processing in chocolate factories has remained constant, providing a glimmer of hope for chocolate lovers worldwide.

Data released after market close on Thursday revealed that cocoa processing, known as “grinds,” was up in North America during the first quarter, appreciating by 4% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, processing in Europe only saw a modest decline of about 2%, and Asia experienced a slight decrease.

These processing figures are particularly noteworthy given the current landscape of cocoa prices. Since the beginning of 2024, cocoa futures have more than doubled, reflecting the immense pressure on the cocoa market.

Yet, despite these soaring prices, chocolate manufacturers have managed to maintain their production levels, indicating resilience in the face of adversity.

The surge in cocoa prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, including supply shortages caused by adverse weather conditions in key cocoa-producing regions such as West Africa.

Also, rising demand for chocolate products, particularly premium and artisanal varieties, has contributed to the upward pressure on prices.

While the spike in cocoa prices presents challenges for chocolate manufacturers and consumers alike, industry experts remain cautiously optimistic about the resilience of the cocoa market.

Despite the record-breaking prices, the steady pace of cocoa processing suggests that chocolate lovers can still expect to indulge in their favorite treats, albeit at a higher cost.

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Crude Oil

Dangote Refinery Leverages Cheaper US Oil Imports to Boost Production

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Crude Oil

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is capitalizing on the availability of cheaper oil imports from the United States.

Recent reports indicate that the refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day has begun leveraging US-grade oil to power its operations in Nigeria.

According to insights from industry analysts, the refinery has commenced shipping various products, including jet fuel, gasoil, and naphtha, as it gradually ramps up its production capacity.

The utilization of US oil imports, particularly the WTI Midland grade, has provided Dangote Refinery with a cost-effective solution for its feedstock requirements.

Experts anticipate that the refinery’s gasoline-focused units, expected to come online in the summer months will further bolster its influence in the Atlantic Basin gasoline markets.

Alan Gelder, Vice President of Refining, Chemicals, and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie, noted that Dangote’s entry into the gasoline market is poised to reshape the West African gasoline supply dynamics.

Despite operating at approximately half its nameplate capacity, Dangote Refinery’s impact on regional fuel markets is already being felt. The refinery’s recent announcement of a reduction in diesel prices from N1,200/litre to N1,000/litre has generated excitement within Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.

This move is expected to positively affect various sectors of the economy and contribute to reducing the country’s high inflation rate.

Furthermore, the refinery’s utilization of US oil imports shows its commitment to exploring cost-effective solutions while striving to meet Nigeria’s domestic fuel demand. As the refinery continues to optimize its production processes, it is poised to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s energy landscape and contribute to the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.

Moreover, the Nigerian government’s recent directive to compel oil producers to prioritize domestic refineries for crude supply aligns with Dangote Refinery’s objectives of reducing reliance on imported refined products.

With the flexibility to purchase crude using either the local currency or the US dollar, the refinery is well-positioned to capitalize on these policy reforms and further enhance its operational efficiency.

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