BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - On September 26, 2017, Saudi Arabia, known as the birthplace of Islam, lifted the desert country's long-established prohibition on female motorists that had been in place since 1990. The royal decree, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, gives women valid driving privileges, and is scheduled to take effect this year under the Kingdom's Vision 2030. The Kingdom's Vision 2030 is concentrating on expanding Saudi Arabia's economy, and walking away from its dependence on oil revenues. The Kingdom's Vision 2030 also includes youth empowerment, women's empowerment, and social organization.
AboutHer.com, an online lifestyle portal that covers the lives of influential Arab women and provides fascinating real-life stories, has been documenting the preparations of Saudi women as the official day to drive approaches in the month of June. In October, AboutHer.com reported that the death of the decades-old ban will open Saudi Arabia's auto market to about half of its over 30 million population, giving the Automotive sector a significant boost, and reduce the need for ride-hailing apps like Dubai-based Careem and American-based Uber.
One the other hand, ride-hailing apps like Careem and Uber may benefit from the royal decree, if, they recruit Saudi women for their car-hire service. Uber has already introduced a "female partner support center" to let Saudi women join their organization. Careem have begun targeting Saudi women with valid drivers licenses in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar, and offering them a series of 90-minute certificated training programs to join their company. Automobile manufacturers may witness a boost in sales in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom's Vision 2030 comes to fruition. Toyota has
Car manufacturers are also expected to benefit from the royal decree. Last year, Toyota Motor Corporation began looking into the possibility of opening an automotive assembly plant in Saudi Arabia, while Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Company have been toying with the same idea. AboutHer.com also reported on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's other ideas, including the establishment of driving schools and courses across the sparsely populated kingdom of the Middle East.
Shawn W. Anderson