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Swvl, the public transport application that solves urban mobility problems in Egypt

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It is the middle of the afternoon. The heat is suffocating. The temperature seems to have reached a particular peak this day. Crammed into a bus, the passengers are getting impatient, annoyed. The traffic jams are at their worst, the users can't take it anymore, but they have no choice. To get around, it is the only accessible alternative for some people.

This kind of scene is the daily life of many city dwellers in Africa and Egypt is not left out. Faced with such a situation, three young Egyptians, Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, decided to take the problem head-on and put an end to it. Without delay. They came up with an alternative transport service to public transport: Swvl, a carpooling system that allows you to book a bus journey via an application. Spotlight on this Egyptian start-up that is conquering the African continent.


Swvl, an African Uber?


When we talk about carpooling, we usually think of Uber. So what makes Swvl so special?

Swvl is far from the basic concept of Uber, which provides private drivers to individuals and companies. Swvl's concept goes further into the needs of the population.


An affordable and convenient technology-based transport service committed to enabling cities, people and businesses to move anywhere."

This is how the company presents itself.

For Dina, Swvl is almost an answer to her prayers. She can get to her workplace easily, without the pressure of traffic jams. And the best part? The fare is fixed, so she can plan her budget exactly and she can even enjoy the internet connection on the bus.

Swvl has therefore managed to bring some respite to the lives of Dina and several other Egyptians.

The basic concept of the start-up created in 2017 is thus simple: to allow people to reserve seats in buses with fixed routes. This represents a real financial advantage compared to renting a dedicated car.


Swvl and the environmental issue


If Swvl has been able to meet a primary need of the population, that of getting around, there is another aspect that is not neglected. That of the environment.

The environment is an issue that affects all areas, but especially cars. Public transport emits large quantities of carbon which, when released into the environment, gradually destroys the ozone layer.

With Swvl, Mostafa Kandil claims to have reduces an emission of almost 240 million pounds of carbon. 

Swvl is therefore a real ecological alternative to traditional means of transport.


Mostafa Kandil, the story of a man with a surprising background 


Mostafa Kandil cannot be considered anything other than the right man for the job.

Swvl's success is no accident. It was led by Mostafa Kandil, an Egyptian elite with an atypical background.

He has, among other things:

  • Received the High Achiever award from Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) as a reward for its prodigious results;
  • Launched Careem Turkey, an application that allows its users to book drivers;
  • Led Swvl's expansion project in Egypt (Mansoura, Tanta, Damanhour and Hurghada) in 4 planning days;
  • Led Swvl's expansion project in Pakistan (Faisalabad, Hyderabad and Peshawar)
  • Managed all launched cities as interim general manager until they all reached over 300 bookings per day;
  • Restructured Otlob's operations, increasing efficiency by over 370%, resulting in a potential cost reduction of 35% to 40% of overall company expenditure.


Mostafa Kandil could be considered a superman in terms of his achievements and accomplishments.

He defines Swvl as "a reliable, affordable and convenient high-end alternative to public transport and intends to popularise its concept.


Swvl: exponential growth and full coverage of the whole of Africa 


While Swvl has adapted to the realities of Cairo, the problem is no different in other African countries. Traffic jams are at the heart of transport and are a real problem.

To address this, Swvl is present in 10 cities in six different countries including the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Pakistan.

Swvl's figures are proof of its great success. With 600 employees and a network of almost 5,000 buses, Swvl intends to expand to 30 cities in 20 countries by 2025, including Southern and Western Europe, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Its recent merger with Queen's Gambit, an all-women's finance and investment company, increases its capital from over $100 million to $550 million and Swvl may even go public.

By 2025, Swvl expects to be able to reach 2 million trips per day.

Swvl has apparently not finished surprising and has enormous potential.