Uber’s Middle East business Careem sees ride-hailing recovery next year

A customer uses the Careem application with his smartphone in Mosul, Iraq. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 28 June 2020

Uber’s Middle East business Careem sees ride-hailing recovery next year

  • The company has seen its overall business recover at an almost double-digit rate week-on-week over the past two months, Sheikha said
  • Careem shed nearly a third of its workforce as a result of the pandemic

DUBAI: Careem, a unit of Uber Technologies, expects ride-hailing demand to recover to pre-pandemic levels “sometime” in 2021, encouraged by a better-than-expected pickup as countries started to ease coronavirus-related curbs.
“It’s been a tough couple of months,” Careem Chief Executive Mudassir Sheikha told Reuters on Sunday.
“It’s really anyone’s guess. We have planned for a recovery (in ride-hailing) sometime next year but ... the recovery has begun and the recovery has been faster already than our initial projections.”
The company, which primarily operates in the Middle East, has seen its overall business, which also includes delivery services such as take-away food, recover at an almost double-digit rate week-on-week over the past two months as countries eased restrictions, he said.
“I’m actually quite bullish on the rest of the year and the next few years as a result of some of the restrictions that were put on our movement and the growth it led to in the adoption of digital platforms.”
Dubai-headquarterd Careem will fast-track plans to add more features to its ‘Super App’ that has expanded to also include some payment services.
It announced on Sunday it had signed a multi-year agreement with Visa that will see Visa push payment services become available through the app.
Careem, which was bought by Uber last year for $3.1 billion, shed nearly a third of its workforce as a result of the pandemic, laying off 536 staff.
“We did a lot of things in our business in the last three months that now position us well for any future disruptions were they to come,” Sheikha said.


Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

  • Policy recommendations to G20 aim to counter effects of pandemic

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”

But he warned that the leading economies of the world had to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of global lockdowns and to address the possibility of a “second wave” of the disease.

“Cooperation and collaboration between governments, global governance institutions and businesses is vital for an effective and timely resolution of this multi-dimensional contagion transcending borders,” Al-Benyan said.

“The B20 is strongly of the view there is no alternative to global cooperation, collaboration and consensus to tide over a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis,” he added.

The six-point plan, contained in a special report to the G20 leadership with input from 750 global business leaders, sets out a series of policy recommendations to counter the effects of the disease which threaten to spark the deepest economic recession in nearly a century.

The document advocates policies to build health resilience, safeguard human capital, and prevent financial instability.

It also promotes measures to free up global supply chains, revive productive economic sectors, and digitize the world economy “responsibly and inclusively.”

In a media question-and-answer session to launch the report, Al-Benyan said that among the top priorities for business leaders were the search for a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than half-a-million people around the world, and the need to reopen global trade routes slammed shut by economic lockdowns.

He said that the G20 response had been speedy and proactive, especially in comparison with the global financial crisis of 2009, but he said that more needed to be done, especially to face the possibility that the disease might surge again. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” he warned.

“Multilateral institutions and mechanisms must be positively leveraged by governments to serve their societies and must be enhanced wherever necessary during and after the pandemic,” he said, highlighting the role of the World Health Organization, the UN and the International Monetary Fund, which have come under attack from some world leaders during the pandemic.

Al-Benyan said that policy responses to the pandemic had been “designed according to each country’s requirements.”

Separately, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said that it was “too early” to say if the Kingdom’s economy would experience a sharp “V-shape” recovery from pandemic recession.