Uber Invests $250 Million in the Middle East and and North Africa to Expand

Apart from obstacles Uber has faced in many cities around the world Uber is not stopping its expansion and is now investing $250 million to get to the Middle East and North African countries which is an attractive market for the ride sharing service. The investment will go toward paying drivers, expanding staff and enhancing Uber’s mobile application.

Within next few years Uber service will begin to function in cities in Saudi Arabia and Egypt countries. The company will then plans to expand in Pakistan. The money will be used to pay drivers, expand staff and improve the application, which is the tool used to order rides and have products delivered.

Jambu Palaniappan who is a regional manager for the areas in expansion said that they’re really bullish on where they’re headed. He also said that succeeding is a really important stake for the business.

Uber entered the region two years ago and operates in nine countries overseen by Palaniappan: Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Its app is available in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and English languages. The company’s service in Israel is run through Uber’s Western Europe office and isn’t part of the new investment.

Cairo the Egyptian capital is known for its snarling bottlenecks has become the Uber’s fastest-growing city in Europe, the Middle East and Africa less than a year after the company began service in the country. Around 40% of the drivers using Uber in Egypt were unemployed beforehand and the app has really helped entrepreneurs build a business Palaniappan said.

Female Uber drivers are fairly common in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. But in Saudi Arabia where women aren’t allowed to drive, women make up more than 70% of passengers, Palaniappan said.

Palaniappan said Uber has worked with HarassMap, an Egyptian service that tracks such incidents, to train drivers in Cairo about sexual harassment.

The company also plans to launch UberPool in the region very soon which will allowing several riders to share a car to the same destination.

Uber faces competition in the region from local apps such as Careem which operates in same countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco and Pakistan.