Uber is aiming its next investment at Egypt and will reportedly invest $20 million in a support centre in the capital Cairo in a bid to reiterate its commitment to Egypt as the country goes through turbulent economic times.
Uber unveiled its new Cairo Centre of Excellence earlier this week and revealed it would spend $20 million on the centre over the next five years as it enhances its influence in the region.
The American company currently employs 60,000 drivers in Egypt with two million Egyptians signed up on the Uber app.
Questions have arisen regarding the company’s future in Egypt since concerns that the Egyptian pound has lost half its value and fuel prices have soared by up to 50 per cent as a result of Cairo floating the currency as part of demands by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $12 billion loan.
However the concerns have done little to discourage the multi-billion dollar company from its latest ventures in the North African country.
“Those reforms don’t change in any way Uber’s commitment to Egypt. We’re here to stay and we’ll continue to invest to be able to serve citizens over here,” Uber’s Middle East and Africa chief Pierre Dimitri Gore-Coty told Reuters.
Those reforms did create a number of challenges, very clearly, and in particular for drivers… the cost of driving a car and running a business has increased a lot.
Since the uprising in 2011, Egypt’s economy has continued to spiral with its poorest suffering the most. The government has attempted to deal with the tepid economy by introducing various economic reforms and encouraging businessmen to lure investment from foreign investors.
Uber is also in talks to launch a national bus service with the aims of reducing Egypt’s major road congestion issues.
According to a World Bank study in 2014, Cairo’s severe traffic costs Egyptians $2 million in losses every year with the number expected to rise to nearly $6 million by 2030.
The main problem and difficulty of driving in Cairo comes as a result of poor urban and traffic planning and management as well as a lack of order on the streets and beyond in the country.
According to the World Bank’s report Cairo has only 4 kilometres of metro lines for every million inhabitants in Cairo and accounts for just over 231 buses compared to cities like London which has 753. Meanwhile transport like taxis and microbuses copiously crowd the city’s streets to compensate for the lack of metro lines and buses which only adds to the congestion problem.