Uber: Innovation and Investment in MENA

Our goal at Uber is simple: we want to make it possible for anyone in any city to push a button and get a ride…within minutes.

It’s partly about technology. Our app connects drivers with riders in ways that were simply impossible six or seven years ago. And we continue to develop new services such as uberPOOL, which enables riders going in the same direction to share the trip. This helps to cut the cost of a ride and reduce congestion overtime. But it’s also about investing in cities: in local teams to run our service and in drivers to get them going on the platform.

This is particularly true in the Middle East and North Africa, where we now have teams on the ground in 13 cities across nine countries.  And it’s why we’re committing to invest $250M in the region to bring Uber to more people in more cities across MENA.  Our experience since launching in Dubai two years ago has shown that there’s tremendous potential to improve the lives of riders and drivers, as well as the quality of life in cities in the region. Our goals for that investment are simple: to increase the number of drivers who use the Uber platform, expand access to the Uber platform to new cities and launch innovative new products that can shift the transportation landscape across the cities in which we operate.


In Saudi Arabia over 70 percent of our riders are women. They tell us that Uber has made it so much easier for them to get around, which in turn has helped with their employment and education.


In Egypt almost 40% of the drivers using Uber were unemployed beforehand. And the app is really helping entrepreneurs build a business.  Mahmoud Nadi Hussein, for example, has gone from being an Uber driver partner himself to employing over 80 drivers in ten months–using Uber to generate business. We’re currently investing in training to help more people enjoy entrepreneurial success like Mahmoud.


This summer Beirut went through a trash crisis, with garbage piled up on the streets. Uber helped pickup 2.2 tons of waste and get it to the city’s recycling centers.

It’s still very early days for our business in the Middle East and North Africa. But we are excited by the long term positive impact our technology and continued investment can have in the region–for riders, drivers and cities.

Jambu Palaniappan

Regional General Manager

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