Alwaleed bin Talal urges Saudi Arabia to lift ban on women drivers

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2015. In a four-page letter posted on his personal website, the prince argued that “it is high time that Saudi women started driving their cars.” Credit Fayez Nureldine/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2015. In a four-page letter posted on his personal website, the prince argued that “it is high time that Saudi women started driving their cars.” Credit Fayez Nureldine/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BBC – An influential Saudi prince, the billionaire investor Alwaleed bin Talal, has called on his country to lift its ban on women driving cars.

He said it was a matter of economic necessity as well as women’s rights to lift restrictions.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive, and women’s rights activists have been arrested for defying the ban.

“It is high time that Saudi women started driving their cars”, he said.

Prince Alwaleed is an outspoken member of the Saudi royal family who has criticised the restriction of women’s rights in the country before.

Although he has no political position in the country, he is the chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), which owns stakes in the huge US bank Citigroup and the Euro Disney theme park and which is listed on the Saudi stock exchange.

KHC claims to be one of the largest foreign investors in the US, with interests in hotels, property and news media. The company has stakes in Disney, 21st Century Fox, News Corp, Apple, General Motors, and Twitter.

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