Uber-rival Careem expands services into Sudan

Dubai-based Careem is Uber’s main Middle East rival, competing in most of the region’s major cities including Cairo, Dubai, and Riyadh. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 September 2018
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Uber-rival Careem expands services into Sudan

  • Careem, which said its services were now available in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, has hired 10 Sudanese employees
  • Sudan has the potential to be one of Careem’s biggest markets in terms of number of trips taken

DUBAI: Middle East ride-hailing firm Careem said on Sunday it had started a service in Sudan, one of few international companies to enter the country since US economic sanctions were lifted last year.
Sudan is grappling with an economic crisis as a foreign currency shortage and an increasingly expensive black market for dollars weakened its ability to import and made prices soar.
Careem, which said its services were now available in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, has hired 10 Sudanese employees and signed up hundreds of drivers to its app to launch operations.
The company expects to have as many as 30 employees in Sudan and be present in at least one other city in the northeast African country by the end of the year.
“My goal and aim is to cover as many (cities) as possible in the next one or two years,” Careem’s Managing Director for Emerging Markets Ibrahim Manna told Reuters by phone.
Sudan has the potential to be one of Careem’s biggest markets in terms of number of trips taken due to the population size and demand for transportation services, he added.
Careem will compete against several local ride-hailing apps, such as Tirhal, but not Uber Technologies itself, which does not operate in the country.
Dubai-based Careem is Uber’s main Middle East rival, competing in most of the region’s major cities including Cairo, Dubai, and Riyadh. Last year it became the first ride-hailing firm to operate on the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Careem plans to reinvest revenue earned in Sudan back into the country over the next two to three years as its grows its business there, Manna said.
Remitting cash from Sudan can be difficult due to the country’s hard currency shortage.
International banks remain cautious about doing business with Sudan which remains on the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism — alongside Iran, Syria, and North Korea — despite the US lifting economic sanctions.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 44 min 12 sec ago
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”