San Francisco based transport network company, Uber has announced plans to expand into the Middle East and North African region. According to the company’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Jambu Palaniappan, Uber’s plan to expand into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is to increase its staff base and enhance the company’s mobile application.
Despite bans in Thailand, Netherlands, and Spain, protest in Slovakia and France, “Uber is launching into a new city every other day”, said Uber’s head of global expansion. With Uber’s presence in over 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide, its plan for world domination seems unstoppable.
Uber currently operates in two North African and seven Middle Eastern countries including, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Morocco .
Here are the ways Uber Technologies Inc. is addressing social issues in the Middle East
Uber, no doubt, has successfully transformed the face of transportation worldwide, however its impact on the sector has been staggering. Despite revolts from local taxi drivers, Uber has made significant impacts in the lives of drivers partnering with them. In Cairo, for instance, Uber’s fastest growing city in Africa, about 40% unemployed drivers have joined Uber’s service which has caused Uber drivers in Cairo to increase about six fold.
Drivers in this region have opted for a safe and affordable option provided by Uber. The Uber platform creates multiple jobs across different countries in the Middle East and North African region.
Sexual harassment is a major occurrence in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the UN’s survey on sexual harassment, about 99 percent of Egyptian women are sexually harassed, noting that harassment also includes body contact. While some have attributed the high rate of harassment to lack of education and public safety, Uber plans to address this issue by announcing its partnership with Harassmap in Egypt. Uber’s partnership with Harassmap is the first of its kind in Egypt and every-driver partner on the Uber app would be trained on how to recognize, prevent and take positive actions against such occurrences.
In the Middle East where female drivers are fairly uncommon, Uber seeks to address this issue by enrolling female drivers on thier platform. For instance, In Saudi Arabia where females make up to about 70% of the passenegers, Uber announced plans to enrol about one million female drivers by 2020.
“We’re trying to understand how women drivers are interacting with our system. So far the results have been really interesting. They want to work part-time, and they’re juggling a lot,” said Uber head of global expansion, Austin Geidt.