Careem’s first ‘Captainah’ ready to hit the road

A video made for the big day also features Captainah (the female version of captain) Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia, sharing her thoughts on the historic event
Updated 23 June 2018
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Careem’s first ‘Captainah’ ready to hit the road

  • Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem, said the historic moment was set to drive economic and positive social change in the country
  • Careem, which plans to open 100,000 jobs to female drivers in the wake of the decree, said that far from losing business, the company stands to benefit from an energized economy. 

As the largest mover of people in the Kingdom, the ride-hailing app Careem has been preparing for women driving by investing almost $80 million over the past five years in its Saudi operations. 

The money has been spent on infrastructure, call centers and affordable on-demand transportation services across the country.

Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem, said the historic moment was set to drive economic and positive social change in the country. 

“We created this committee whose basic job was to figure out the changes that we need to make in our platform to make it more open and acceptable to women,” he said. 

“We have invested more than $100 million in Saudi Arabia. We are truly excited to be part of this 2030 change. We made a pledge that we will have 20,000 captains (drivers) on our platform by 2020,” Sheikha added.

A video made for the big day also features Captainah (the female version of captain) Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia, sharing her thoughts on the historic event.

“I’m very glad. Finally, I got my license from Saudi Arabia. I wished a long time ago to have these things in my country. I have freedom now to ride anytime I want to drive … with income! It will help me financially (and) socially to feel alive again, go out to drive, meet people and have income. I think it is a nice opportunity in this life and it is going to be in the history also,” Al-Aswad said.

Careem even set up a women’s captain committee to better understand what barriers might exist for women wanting to drive.

Throughout 2018, $30 million has been invested in Careem’s Saudi operations alone as the company shows its support for Vision 2030.

Careem, which plans to open 100,000 jobs to female drivers in the wake of the decree, said that far from losing business, the company stands to benefit from an energized economy. 

“While it’s true that 70 percent of our users in Saudi are female, our success and growth in the country is mainly because we offer a safe, reliable and affordable service,” said Abdulla Elyas, co-founder and chief people officer at Careem.

“When we have more women who are employees and entrepreneurs, and the whole country has increased mobility, the domestic economy gets energized and that’s when transportation services will be in more demand.

“As with the possibility of registering women captains (drivers), we will be able to welcome new female customers who feel more comfortable riding with another female.”

 

 

 

 

 


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.