The Country That Bans Women From Driving Is Now Investing Billions In Uber

Technology / 29 Comments

Guess where this is happening.

How's this for a case of irony: Saudi Arabia, one of the top three oil producers in the world, has, via a fund, invested $3.5 billion in Uber which, as we all know, is a ride-sharing app designed to reduce the amount of cars on the road, and therefore less oil and gasoline. According to USA Today, Saudi Arabia's multi-billion dollar investment has helped raise Uber's valuation to $62 billion. But wouldn't investing in this be a sign the kingdom doesn't have long term confidence in its most valuable natural resource?

Kind of, yeah. Turns out, Saudi Arabia has something called its Vision 2030 plan, which "outlines ways in which the country can wean itself off a dependence on volatile oil revenues." What you also may not know is that Uber already has operations in 15 Middle Eastern countries, and has been in Saudi Arabia since 2014. Eighty percent of its ridership are women, which makes sense considering women are forbidden from driving at all there. So it's great a major oil producing country is financially planning for a future less reliant upon oil, and yet Saudi Arabia is of the belief women aren't worthy of driving. Some researchers do believe the phrase a "double-edged sword" originated in Arabic. Even more irony.

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