The end of ban 'will have a positive effect on the economy'
Women drivers in Saudi Arabia will lift kingdom's demand for petrol
The end of Saudi Arabia’s driving ban for women will have a positive impact on the economy and increase petrol consumption, the energy minister said.
The oil-rich kingdom has allowed women to drive from Sunday, ending its status as the only country in the world to ban half the population from getting behind the wheel.
“There will be more cars on the road,” Khalid Al Falih said in Vienna, where he was attending an Opec meeting. "Women will be more empowered and more mobile, and I think they will participate more in the job market over time, so I think it’s going to contribute to employment of females in Saudi Arabia. A secondary effect will probably be higher gasoline demand.”
The plan to allow women to drive is one of the most dramatic moves in the government’s efforts to open up Saudi society and modernise the economy.
When asked if he was looking forward to his daughters being able to drive, Mr Al-Falih said: “Absolutely.”