The Middle East and North Africa are relatively new markets for ride-hail companies like Uber and homegrown player Careem, but in the past year both companies have seen incredible growth across the region — specifically in Egypt.
Jambu Palaniappan, Uber’s general manager of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa is confident that after Uber invested $250 million in the region, the company is the leading app. But easily the biggest takeaway from all this data is: Egypt’s ride-hail industry is booming.
In the past year, Cairo has become the company’s fastest growing market in the Middle East and has seen 200 times growth in its total business. In Cairo alone, Uber is adding 3,000 new drivers a month. For comparison, in Brazil, Uber’s second-largest Latin America market, it plans on adding about 4,000 drivers a month over the next year.
As for Careem, which is in 26 cities across the region and Pakistan, the company saw 330-times growth in active users in Egypt between December 2015 and January 2015. In that same time period, the company saw nearly 20 times more active users in Saudi Arabia and nearly four times more growth in active users in the UAE.
The growth numbers in Egypt alone paint an interesting picture. With a population of more than 89 million, Egypt is a huge and therefore incredibly important market for global ride-hail players. The population in Saudi Arabia and the UAE combined pales in comparison. That’s all to say: There’s a huge potential market yet unclaimed by either Uber or Careem in Egypt and plenty of room for both to grow.