Uber jumps after saying it's looking to expand ride-hailing into West Africa, offer boat service (UBER)

Shares of Uber climbed as much as 5% on Thursday after a company executive said the ride-hailing service is engaged in talks with regulators in Western African countries about expansion opportunities.

TO GO WITH STORY Singapore-SEAsia-transport-Internet-taxi-Malaysia-Indonesia,FOCUS by Bhavan Jaipragas This photograph taken on October 10, 2014 shows a smartphone displaying the Uber app of the timing and availability of taxis within the area at Raffles place financial district in Singapore. Southeast Asia's notorious taxi market is undergoing a shakeout as Uber and homegrown mobile booking applications gain popularity in a region that has long endured inefficient cartels and price-gouging drivers. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Uber is looking to expand into Western Africa.

Shares of the ride-hailing company rose as much as 5% after an executive told Reuters that Uber is talking with regulators in the region about expanding its services in Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

Uber is allso 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 and South Africa, and 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 is currently 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," Brooks Entswistle, Uber's chief business officer, said in an interview.

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

Uber is down roughly 1% year-to-date.

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