Careem, Uber's fierce rival in the Middle East, has entered the Sudanese according to Reuters. The company has so far hired 10 employees and already signed up 'thousands' of drivers to launch operations.
It is also looking to grow its number of employees in the country to at least 30 as well as expand to at least one other city in the northeast African country by the end of the year.
This move makes the company one of the few that have entered Sudan a few months after the US lifted economic sanctions on the country.
Yet, even with that, due to a foreign currency shortage, remitting cash from Sudan can be difficult due to the country’s hard currency shortage. It is perhaps for that reason that Careem said they will re-invest the revenue earned in Sudan back into the country over the next two to three years
Careem's entry into Sudan makes it the only second big player after the country's Tirhal Taxi. Tirhal, Arabic for Trip, saw an opportunity in Sudan since Uber wouldn't operate in there due to sanctions.
Founded in 2012 by Abdulla Elyas (CPO), Magnus Olsson (MD) and Mudassir Sheikha (CEO), Careem has raised at least $571 million in funding to date. The company's latest round was undisclosed and came from Chinese ride-hailing company, DiDi Chuxing.
Some of Careem's other notable investors include Rakuten, Saudi Telecom and the struggling Abraaj.
In February this year, they acquired RoundMenu - UAEs restaurant discovery platform - at an undisclosed fee. This was their first attempt at entering into food delivery which Forbes Middle East said they will be investing $150 million into.
Less than a week ago, Careem announced that it had hit the 1 million driver mark. This is from across its 14 markets of operation.
It was also rumored that Careem and Uber were in merger talks in the Middle East. But, Egyptian authorities came out a week ago and warned them against such a move.
With Careem's entry into the market, one can also assume that Uber is on its way. Given that the country had a population of around 40 million by 2016 according to World Bank