Young Moroccan entrepreneur digitizes the road

February 22nd, 2017 by

Issam Darui, top youth African entrepreneur and founder of lagare.ma

Ten years ago, Moroccan entrepreneur Issam Darui started work as his bus-driver brother’s assistant. In the humming bus stations of the country’ cities, the then 13-year old Darui saw a gap in the public transport market, and the seeds for his company Lagare.ma were sown. Lagare.ma is Morocco’s first electronic bus station where the country’s growing number of bus users book tickets online, instead of wasting time and resources standing in long queues. Mr. Darui combined his passions for transport and technology and the 2.4-million people who’ve used his service can thank the young man for the seamless and convenient ways in which they can travel to and from Morocco’s towns (even remote ones) and several European cities.

Lagare.ma caters to local residents as well as the overwhelmed international tourist trying to navigate a city’s transport system. The transport app is available in 10 languages with the option to pay for tickets in 25 currencies.

Notably, Mr. Darui’s business grows at a time as Morocco rapidly urbanises with the increased need for transport services. World Bank data, as quoted here shows the country’s urban population has doubled from 1960 to 2015 (29% to 60%) .  Over the next 10 years, government will drastically improve the urban transport sector with projects to reduce traffic congestion and increase connectivity.

Lagare.ma is perfectly placed to take advantage of Morocco’s long-term transport plan, which aims to “strengthen and modernise the main infrastructure and superstructure networks so that Morocco can act as a strong link in north-south trade between Africa and Europe as well as among the Mediterranean countries.”

Mr. Darui also intends to expand Lagare.ma into other markets, such as Tunisia. Should this be successful, the entrepreneur has his sites on the Middle East. Currently, Lagare.ma has three employees and 25,000 registered and frequent customers.  The company has been widely acclaimed as a start-up and as an innovative e-commerce platform.

Mr. Darui was selected as a 2016 Anzisha Prize Fellow. He serves as an inspiration to other young North African entrants. Application for the Anzisha Prize are now open. Apply here.

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