Uber closes above its IPO price for the first time after announcing plans to expand into West Africa

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  • Shares of Uber rose 6.2% on Thursday, closing above the company's IPO price for the first time.
  • The gains came after a company executive told Reuters the ride-hailing service was engaged in talks with regulators in West African countries about expansion opportunities.
  • Uber also mentioned it might introduce a boat service in Lagos, Nigeria, according to Reuters. The company recently started offering boat rides in Mumbai, India.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Uber is looking to expand into West Africa.

Uber closed above its IPO price of $45 (R635) for the first time on Thursday after an executive told Reuters that Uber was talking to regulators in the region about expanding its services in Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

The ride-sharing giant is also exploring the possibility of offering boat rides on waterways in Lagos, Nigeria, to alleviate street traffic, according to Reuters. The company started offering boat rides in Mumbai, India, earlier this year.

Uber already launched a ride-hailing service in Lagos, a city with 20 million people, in July 2014.

The company also already operates in East Africa and South Africa, and it has 36,000 active drivers spread across sub-Saharan Africa. West Africa represents a largely untapped market for Uber, with the exception of Nigeria and Ghana.

Brooks Entwistle, the chief business officer at Uber, told Reuters the company was working with regulators in Senegal and Ivory Coast to launch its services.

"We have talked about West Africa today as being a big growth priority for us and launch priority for us moving forward," Entwistle said.

He also said the population growth and congested nature of the cities in West Africa make them appealing for the company.

Uber is now up 0.3% from its IPO price.

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