Uber and Saudi Arabia

Which nations are Uber thriving in? What nations are best for Uber? You would probably say the United States, China, Germany, Canada. What about Saudi Arabia?

It’s not that far fetched. Uber announced it got $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. It’s one of the all-time largest investments into a private owned business. Uber leaders are convinced the Middle East is a critical part of the company’s global expansion. Saudi Arabia would win too. Uber would help create jobs and reduce oil dependence. You never heard of Saudi Arabia making capital investments? That’s because they rarely do. This is how revolutionary this is. This investment was born in March 2016, when Uber leader David Plouffe visited the oil rich nation and the negotiating began. Now, the it’s official. Uber coming to Saudi Arabia may have a deeper meaning: the meaning of social justice. There is no legal law against women driving. But women drivers are strictly forbidden by religious customs. Uber didn’t say they would hire Saudi Arabian women drivers, but one spokesperson hinted they’d love to break that barrier. Around 80% of Uber Saudi Arabian customers are women. And the country wants to double women employment by 2030. Could female Uber drivers assists them in that goal?

This part of the world is really good to Uber. The Middle East has nearly 900,000 riders and nearly 20,000 drivers. Uber is now running in 69 countries. But in Saudi Arabia, Uber has a good opportunity to break centuries old social barriers. Once again, I’m reminded not every nation have the freedoms we virtually take for granted here in the US. But Uber can change that. Uber should start hiring women drivers in Saudi Arabia. I know it’s controversial for Saudi Arabia. Change usually is controversial. But you know what: It’s always worth it! Uber is one of the fastest growing and most powerful companies in the world. Shouldn’t they use this power to bring social justice and break barriers?

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