Type of Investment

Risk Capital

Project Stage
Length of Investment


Investment Overview

A $230,000 convertible note in SafeBoda, a start-up company that is reducing motorbike accident deaths and injuries in Uganda through the creation of an Uber-like network of safe motorcycle taxi (‘Boda’) drivers.


The Development Challenge

Road accidents are the third leading cause of death in Sub-saharan Africa. In Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, there are 80,000 motorbike drivers, only 1% of whom currently wear helmets. More than 60% of the surgical budget at the main Kampala hospital is spent on treating motorbike crash injuries.


The Innovation

SafeBoda aims to create a commercially viable network of safe taxi motorbike (‘Boda’) drivers. Their key safety intervention is the use of helmets and provision of driver training. Behavioural change is generated through financial incentives whereby SafeBoda drivers attract more customers and increase their incomes by 50%.


Our Investment

A convertible note investment of $230,000 helped to fuel SafeBoda through their pilot phase, while they iterated their revenue model and proved demand for their services.


Investment Objective

Demonstrate that Safe Boda rides are safer than normal motorbike taxis and use results to sharpen the path to scale.


Why we invested

An innovative solution to an underfunded problem.

Despite receiving comparatively limited resources and attention, road traffic safety is ripe for innovation and disruption. SafeBoda is a high-potential innovation whose testing offers valuable lessons for the entire sector.

SafeBoda’s model creates clever incentives for behaviour change.

SafeBoda has adapted some of the lessons from the success of group lending in microfinance to road safety. Just as borrowers want to recruit safe money managers to their loan group, SafeBoda drivers want to recruit safe drivers to the network. SafeBoda uses financial incentives and peer pressure to fuel changes in motorbike drivers’ behaviour.


SafeBoda in numbers


Surgical budget at the main Kampala hospital that is spent on treating motorbike crash injuries


Increase of income for SafeBoda drivers


SafeBoda Impact Brief

SafeBoda is revolutionising safe transportation, payments, and on-demand services in Africa’s cities. SafeBoda, currently based in Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria, believes that everyone in African cities should have access to affordable and safe services at the click of a button.

In Kampala, Uganda, there are roughly 100,000 motorbike taxi drivers, making them one of the most common forms of transportation. SafeBoda is working to reduce injuries and deaths by creating a network of SafeBoda motorbike drivers by introducing two safety interventions. First, SafeBoda drivers are equipped with safety gear, including a reflector jacket to improve their visibility, and one helmet each for the driver and passenger. Second, drivers are given road-safety training in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ugandan Red Cross, amongst others.

Use of GIF Funds

GIF was a co-funder of SafeBoda’s seed round and was instrumental in getting the start-up running. GIF funding was used to cover 37% of SafeBoda’s costs between 2016 and 2017, including equipment costs for new drivers (helmets, reflectors) and operating expenses such as legal fees and marketing.

Impact to Date

There are over 15,000 SafeBoda drivers in Uganda and over 1 million downloads of the SafeBoda app. A peer-reviewed study conducted between 2017 and 2018 by Muni et al. (2018) found that SafeBoda drivers were 39% less likely to be involved in a road traffic crash than non-SafeBoda motorbike drivers. [1] We estimate that 160 deaths and 190 serious injuries were prevented between 2016 and 2020 due to SafeBoda’s innovation. Anecdotal evidence also suggests SafeBoda ranks highly with female users for time saving, security, and safety. This conclusion is supported by Social Development Direct. [2]

GIF provided a $230,000 convertible note to SafeBoda in 2016. The 2015 discounted value of GIF’s investment is $209,100. To estimate the social value created by SafeBoda due to its success in reducing the number of fatal motorbike accidents, the GIF methodology uses the estimate of the value of a statistical life for Uganda, which is commonly used in cost-benefit analyses. The VSL represents the economic value that individuals are willing to pay to reduce the risk of death. During the period of GIF’s investment (2016-2020), SafeBoda generated an estimated $13 million in discounted net social benefits. Accounting for the fact that other investors also invested in SafeBoda, an estimated $2 million in discounted net social benefits was generated by GIF’s investment. GIF’s investment in SafeBoda returned over $9.80 in net social benefits per dollar invested by GIF – taking into account the financial contributions of other funders. [3] Arguably, however, it was the GIF-funded seed round that supported SafeBoda’s ability to grow to attract the subsequent funders.

[1] Kennedy Muni, Olive Kobusingye, Charlie Mock, James P. Hughes, Philip M. Hurvitz & Brandon Guthrie (2019) Motorcycle taxi programme is associated with reduced risk of road traffic crash among motorcycle taxi drivers in Kampala, Uganda, International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 26:3, 294-301, DOI: 10.1080/17457300.2019.1594952


[3] Refer to GIF (2021) for more details on how the social benefits and GIF’s return on investment were calculated.


SafeBoda Completion Report