Uber: Cairo fastest growing city in MENA with 30,000 drivers

30,000 drivers are now using Uber in Cairo as a source of income, making the Egyptian capital the fastest growing city in the region for the car-hailing application since its launch in late 2014, a press release by the service showed Sunday.

Uber is an on-demand car-sharing service, where users can request a ride using a smartphone application. The app connects their request to the nearest available car. Payment is then automatically deducted from the user’s credit card after the ride is completed. Founded in March 2009 in California, U.S., the service was launched in Egypt in November 2014.

The company also spoke about growing opportunities for drivers, with some who started with one car in the past were now “small business owners employing others.”

Launching Uber in Egypt gave so many people the opportunity to make money by driving their own cars for the company. Uber drivers don’t actually have to adhere to specific working hours.

“Seventy-percent [of drivers] now use Uber part-time to supplement their income from elsewhere, although 40% had been completely unemployed beforehand,” the service’s press release stated.

“Uber transformed urban mobility for millions of Egyptians when we launched in Cairo, introducing a safe, reliable and efficient way to move around the city” said Anthony El-Khory, Uber Egypt’s general manager.

With low wages and high rates of unemployment, Egypt is an ideal playground for the Uber business model. El-Khoury estimates the minimum wage in Egypt to be 600 per month Egyptian pounds (around $US 76), and asserts an Uber driver can easily make three to four times this amount.

The company pledged to invest 500 million pounds over the next two years in one of their fastest growing markets as part of 2.2 billion in investments in the MENA region.

“Our goal is to invest more than ever before in Egypt — providing more work as well as a better way to travel for Egyptians,” Khoury added.

The investments will be used to “provide more resources and training to grow the driver network as well as a continuing development in the country so the service can reach more people and cities in Egypt.

Uber has been operating in the coastal city of Alexandria since December 2015, while the company also provides services in Gouna and Sahel offering cars — and tuk-tuks — during the summer season.

El-Khoury added that the Egyptian government was encouraging discussions that are currently under way regarding “regulations” for the ride-sharing application, though he did not provide more details.