Two prominent ridesharing companies Uber and Careem hailed a new Egyptian law passed on Monday that will permit and regulate their operations in the country nearly two months after their services were put at risk by a court order suspending their activities.
In an official statement on Monday evening, San Francisco-based Uber described the passing of the law by the Egyptian parliament as one that "marks an important day for the ridesharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to vote for progressive regulations that support part time, flexible work for hundreds of thousands of drivers."
In April, a Cairo court of urgent matters blocked the implementation of a March court order that was set to suspend the activities of the two companies in Egypt following a lawsuit by a taxi drivers' association that alleged the two companies were operating in the country illegally.
April's court ruling permitted Uber and Careem's continued operations pending a ruling on the matter by the High Administrative Court, which is set to continue hearing the case on 12 May.
"We are excited to continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months to finalize the details of the law, and look forward to providing more Egyptians with the benefits of Uber's technology," the statement concluded.
UAE-based Careem also praised the new law, calling it the first of its kind passed in the company's countries of operation, and designating it a "major move for Careem, Egypt, and the whole region."
"The issuance of this law sends an important message: that Egypt aims to attract major investments and continue to be a technological innovation hub," the company said.
The law mainly addresses licenses granted to the companies and drivers, as well as data-sharing regulations.
According to the legislation, the ridesharing companies must acquire five-year renewable licenses from the Egyptian government for a fee of EGP 30 million (approximately $1.71 million).
According to Article 2 of the law, ride-hailing services that use private vehicles or mass transport systems should adjust their legal status pursuant to the provisions of the law within six months.
Article 9 stipulates that the companies are obliged to provide information on users to national security bodies upon request, with respect to privacy as mandated by Egypt's 2014 constitution.
In late 2017, Uber announced it would invest $20 million over the next five years in its Cairo support centre, saying Egypt is one of its fastest-growing markets with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and four million users since 2014.
Careem also launched its operations in Egypt in 2014.