Thursday, December 7, 2023

Careem Stands Unfazed Amid the Economic and Political Crisis

The tech sector all over the world has been crumbling lately, with more than 200,000 tech jobs lost in the past year, the industry is confronting one of its worst crunches in history with tech-giants like Meta, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Amazon announcing mass layoffs.

And just like the rest of the world, Pakistan, too has been struggling to keep up. With the inflation at its highest since the past 4 decades, the country is also going through a political turmoil and an even greater economic crisis that is on the verge of effecting the supply chains to several industries.

Pakistan like several other economies was well on its way to flourish until the COVID-19 pandemic bought the world to a halt. A major chunk of the business sector shut down due to uncertainty and daily-wagers struggled to make ends meet, but life did start getting back to the new normal. And then came the Ukraine-Russia conflict which is still testing the global economies forcing companies to recalibrate and, in some cases, wholly reconsider their long-standing supply chain and partner ecosystems. Pakistan, along with the Ukraine-Russia conflict was being tested politically as a wave of unrest jolted the ruling leaders, things to-date, remain the same for the country as inflation reaches a whopping 27.3%.

This caused the booming start-up sector in Pakistan to collapse and several start-ups like Airlift, SWVL, Retailo, VavaCars, Truck It In and UBER shut down operations in major cities of Pakistan making 2022 a dismal year for Pakistani startups. Foreign investors pulled out of the Pakistani market amid rising interest rates and a sharp fall in the venture capital-backed stocks. But amid all the chaos, Careem managed to not only stay afloat but also became a household name facilitating not just its customers but also their captains.

But this feat did not come easy to Careem, the organization had to take a step back, recalibrate and re-strategize its operations and policies to adapt to the constantly changing crisis in the country. Last year, while other startups were unable to raise funding and find a feasible revenue model, Careem announced an investment of $25 million to further simplify and improve their captains’ and customers’ experience in Pakistan. Careem also announced a significant reduction in its commission fees charged to captains, making it their all-time lowest. To further facilitate its captains, Careem has recently partnered with Gas and Oil Pakistan Limited (GOPL) to provide lucrative discounts on fuel and lubricant products to its captains operating in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, and Peshawar.

They also launched their fintech affiliate, Careem Pay, with the aim to invest $50 million in Pakistan. Having a network of more than 800,000 registered Captains across Pakistan, Careem has always been at the forefront when it comes to providing safe, secure, reliable, and affordable means of transportation to its customers and a flexible working environment to its captains.

If anything, this proves that it takes resilience and strong determination to survive in the constantly-transforming world that we live in today. As businesses respond to the current crisis, they must also prepare for a new reality that focuses on agility, digitization, and multistakeholder collaboration.

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