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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Is Uber really going to invest USD 100 mn in its support center in Egypt?

INVESTMENT WATCH- Is Uber really going to invest USD 100 mn in its support center in Egypt? Uber is reportedly planning to invest USD 100 mn in its Cairo support center in the coming five years, according to statements attributed to Uber COO Barney Harford by Al Mal. Harford, who is reportedly visiting Egypt, supposedly said that the company plans to grow its regional support center employees to 1,000 in two years from a current 600. He added that the company is hoping to expand to half of Egypt’s governorates by the end of the year.

The Uber official also commented on the proposed Ride-hailing Apps Act, saying that clauses that would require the company to provide the government with access to its passenger and driver data would severely impact ride-hailing in Egypt, adding that it would be technically unfeasible. He also called on the law to allow prices and fares to be determined by market forces. Nonetheless, Harford applauded the government for trying to regulate the industry. The government had been rushing to get the law passed after the Administrative Court ruled to suspend licenses of Uber and Careem. A court of Urgent Matters had suspended the ruling. The Supreme Administrative Court will hold and appeals hearing on the ruling on Saturday, 28 April.

The proposed act was also attacked yesterday by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which says the bill would grant state agencies real-time access to user data.

Data-sharing clauses to be written out of the act? The House of Representatives is waiting on feedback from the Interior Ministry on amendments it made to the data-sharing clauses, House Transport Committee deputy chair Mohamed Abdullah Zain tells the newspaper. A House subcommittee reviewing the law suggested scrapping the requirement that user data be stored in Egypt and made available to state agencies.

Meanwhile, regional rival Careem said it will appeal a decision to ban the app in Amman. “We are working with the government of Jordan to obtain the license and in the meantime time we are appealing the recent ruling to ban us,” a Careem spokesperson told Reuters. Jordan’s telecommunications regulator said that the app was blocked after a court ruling last week to suspend the services until Careem obtains a formal license.

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