Meet ‘Captainah’ Enaam, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia

Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad
Updated 16 May 2018

Meet ‘Captainah’ Enaam, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia

  • Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad was selected to become the first “captainah” — the female version of the Careem “captain,” as the firm calls its drivers
  • The 43-year-old learned how to drive in her native Syria

Careem, the Middle East’s ride-hailing firm, has named its first female driver in Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom prepares to allow women behind the wheel from next month.

Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad was selected to become the first “captainah” — the female version of the Careem “captain,” as the firm calls its drivers — from among around 3,000 women looking for employment with the company. “When the authorities announced in September that women would be allowed to drive, I wanted to be the first and contacted Careem straight away,” Al-Aswad told Arab News at a media event in Dubai.

“It is wonderful to think that after all this time we will have the freedom to drive. It will help all of us build the future together in accordance with the Vision 2030 strategy.”

The 43-year-old divorcee learned how to drive in her native Syria, and has a driving license from that country. She expects to be able to obtain a Saudi license when she has completed 10 hours of driving tuition under the new laws. 

“I already have my own car, a Kia I bought in 2013, and I hope to be able to do the 10 hours of lessons in a few days,” she said.

She has already received all the necessary training from Careem to enable her to become a “captainah,” having been hand-picked by the Dubai-based company soon after last year’s royal decree on women driving.

“It is good for women’s career enhancement, and for their social lives. But also I think it is our national duty. It is a job to do for the Kingdom,” she said.

Al-Aswad trained as an airline flight attendant in Saudi Arabia before studying management science at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, where she lives. She expects that being a Careem driver will be the stepping stone to a better life for her and her two sons.

“For a woman on her own, it is a good way to earn a living and pay the bills. My sons are excited and very supportive of me. Careem drivers earn good money, I know. I am telling lots of my female friends to think about it too. I would like to be a guide as well as a driver,” she said.

Mudassir Sheikha, the co-founder and CEO of Careem, said that he expected new business to eventually make up for any short-term fall-off in revenues when women — who previously formed a majority of the firm’s passengers in the Kingdom — are able to take to the roads themselves. About 95 percent of drivers in the Kingdom are Saudi nationals, he added.


G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

Updated 44 min 9 sec ago

G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

RIYADH: Finance officials from the Group of 20 major economies agreed on Sunday to continue monitoring the risk from the coronavirus outbreak and to adopt appropriate policies to limit the global economic impact, Saudi Arabia's finance minister said.
The two-day gathering in Riyadh was dominated by growing concern over the widening fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, with the International Monetary Fund predicting it would shave 0.1 percentage point off global growth. 
During the meeting, which also included central bank governors heads of international and regional organizations, under the Saudi G20 Presidency, was chaired by Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan and the Saudi Central Bank
governor Ahmed Al-Kholifey.
They also discussed the global economic outlook and possible policy responses to support growth and safeguarding against downside risks, as well as the priorities of the Saudi G20 presidency, under the theme of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.” 
They also addressed the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy, utilizing the benefit of technology for infrastructure, developing domestic capital markets, and framing supervisory and regulatory issues for the digital era.