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Raja Kurban Director, Budget

ANGOLA - Transport

Raja Kurban

Director, Budget

Bio

After obtaining a master’s degree in private law from Paris-Panthéon-Assas University, Raja Kurban moved to Lebanon to contribute to the country’s economic rebirth. He took over the management of AVIS Rent a car in 1997 and increased its fleet from 60 cars to 1,800 cars in 2015. In 1999, he established Allo Taxi, creating a unique mobility transportation solution in Lebanon. Allo Taxi was later established in Angola in 2015, with plans to expand into other African countries. Kurban also expanded the car and leasing business into Africa, representing Budget RAC in Angola.

"We are here because we are extremely excited about Angola and are investing substantially to tap into its tremendous potential."
Budget Car Rental was established in Angola to provide short- and long-term car rental services at international quality standards and has since created thousands of jobs and career opportunities.
Can you elaborate on the services provided by your brands Budget and UGO?

We took the representation for Budget in Angola on February 1, starting with a branch at the Luanda Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport. Our aim today remains bringing to Angola an international quality of service. We have since won numerous customer service awards for excellence. Today, we offer car rental and long-term car rental or leasing, as well as staff transportation for companies. We also seek to develop weekend packages, wedding packages, and other competitive offers for the local market. Our broader aim is to penetrate the local market to democratize car rental amongst the local population. Many people who cannot afford to buy a car might be able to rent one for a special event. This is also an important market to develop locally. UGO started as Allo Taxi, which today is famous in other countries. We brought Allo Taxi to Angola because we have unique expertise that no other competitor has in all of Africa, namely expertise in building mobility in an unregulated environment. Allo Taxi was the first company to introduce in Angola a centralized call center and the mobility technology by introducing an app in 2015. Our model has since been copied and replicated by other local companies and newly introduced foreign players. We are proud to have helped the Angolan public transportation sector to expand its offer and improve its quality by consistently raising the level specially with our new arrival of 500 brand new Toyota Avanzas.

What is your vision for the future of the industry in Angola?

We are here because we are extremely excited about Angola and are investing substantially to tap into its tremendous potential. Besides the business itself, there is also huge potential in terms of tourism. This is something that we see coming, having witnessed the same in countries similar in nature to Angola after the country starts to open up. Angola has much to offer, and our services for companies are particularly important at the moment.

What is your take on the tourism sector in Angola?

There is still much to do. Many people would love to come, but Angola remains a virgin market and not a mass tourist destination. I occasionally ask people whether they would be prepared to pay USD120 for a visa to visit for a few days’ holiday. These issues must be worked on to make the prospect of visiting appealing to travelers. This will take time for all the elements, including the airlines, to fall into place. Many things could develop tourism. The potential is huge in Angola in terms of culture, beaches, landscape, and nature in general.

How do both brands add value to the transport sector in Angola?

We create many jobs and career opportunities in the market specially for a population segment where unemployment level is very high. We created at least 500 steady jobs since our launch and plan to create another 500 in the coming year, with the increase of our fleet and reach. We also increase significantly the income of our team members compared to any other job opportunity they might have. Our network and services contribute massively to the public transportation sector and helps a big portion of citizens to commute when they cannot use a private vehicle. We have also made a key contribution to the Angolan art and culture. We commissioned an art project in collaboration with Espaco Luanda Arte by transforming one of our taxis in a piece of art by a street art painter. This car still operates as a taxi and will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity. We also created a contest with the launch of UGO to create “our” song. Hundreds of singer-songwriters participated in that contest, and the winner won a substantial prize. This song is now our local affection and represents our brand with pride.

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