In March, Uber and Careem had reason to set aside their competition when both ride-hailing companies were barred from operating in Egypt. This week they now have reason to celebrate after Egypt’s parliament ratified legislation regulating the two companies and their operations in the North African country.
Egypt is a unique market for both U.S based Uber and its Dubai based competitor as it gives them both strategic access to the Middle East region. “This is a major step forward for the ride-sharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations,” Uber said in a statement. They can continue expanding in the region without fear of legislative backlash following their brief ban in March
Forty-two taxi drivers had petitioned Egypt’s Administrative Court to rule in their favour regarding the preferential treatment shown towards Uber and Careem. The ban was then subsequently lifted by Egypt’s Court of Urgent Matters to offer them a brief reprieve.
According to Abdellatif Waked, Uber’s General Manager in Egypt, Uber has in the last year contributed to more than “157 000 job opportunities” to the Egyptian economy. He continues to add that the company is working hard to ensure that “millions of Egyptians are benefiting from its transportation services through smart applications. We are committed to work with all parties in the transport system, including the white taxis, to develop this sector in Egypt.”
The proportion of investment outlaid by Uber in Egypt has no doubt played a significant factor in winning the government’s support. The U.S based ride-hailing platform in October 2017 announced a USD 20 Mn investment to build a new support center in the Cairo based office – not to mention the drivers employed. Nevertheless, in addition to regulating the companies, both Uber and Careem will be expected to collate and retain data over a 180-day period, to be shared with authorities upon request.
A spokesperson for Careem has welcomed the bold move by parliament and considers the “vote and passage of the ride-hailing law as a remarkable step for Egypt, Careem and our region. it is the first time in any of Careem’s operating markets that a regulatory framework for ride-hailing has emerged from a consultative legislative and parliamentary process.”
The two companies have ridden through the turbulence in Egypt and are poised to work hand in hand with government officials to ensure the finalization of the project. “We will continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months as the law is finalised, and look forward to continuing to serve the millions of Egyptian riders and drivers that rely on Uber,” Uber said in a statement.
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