Putting communities first in a new decade of innovation

Putting communities first in a new decade of innovation

By Rashid Al Ghurair, founder and CEO of UAE-based CAFU, a fuel on demand service

Entering this new decade just several months ago, little did we know that our lives would have dramatically changed to the extent that it has, impacting the way that we live, work and socialise due to the consequences of a rapidly spreading Covid-19 coronavirus.

Businesses, which have been gravely impacted, have had to take difficult decisions in how they operate as they come to terms with the changing environment rooted in uncertainty.

However, in such times of uncertainty and adversity, we have the choice to pause, reflect, and to really listen to the needs of our customers. To see what we as businesses can do to deliver more value, rather than simply an improved product or service.


We have a responsibility to the communities in which we operate, to do more to meet their needs, and contribute to driving our economy forward. In doing so, we need to be mindful of the fact that the world has changed for all of us, as we forge ahead into our new normal.

Consumer spending has been impacted by the changes to our lives over the past months which has seen us live our lives differently. According to a recent survey by Mckinsey & Co,  54 per cent of UAE consumers have become more mindful of where they spend their money which is unsurprising when 55 per cent of people believe their personal finances will be impacted for four months or longer due to the coronavirus period.

As we look to the immediate period ahead, consumer behaviour has changed to be more driven by the search for value.

As a proud business leader myself, I have reflected on how one of my business ventures, CAFU - the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s first on demand car refuelling service, should adapt to the world we are in now.  Which is why, as the UAE transitions into a new state of normal following the lockdown, we decided to make a bold and confident move to adapt our business model with a renewed sense of optimism and empathy for our community’s future, by removing our delivery charges. In doing so, we are providing our customers with safe and contactless refuelling at the same price as a petrol station, but without having to drive to or wait in line at one.


I believe that the strong companies emerging successfully into this new normal will be those that act boldly, optimistically and with agility in the way that they operate. Central to this agility is bold innovation – not just in products and services, but also in terms of thinking and embracing change rather than fearing it.

From challenges can come creativity in finding better ways to be more responsive and from uncertainty can come greater understanding and appreciation of what your community is experiencing.

If we reflect on the financial crisis of 2008/09, we actually witnessed an innovation boom in thinking creatively which saw the rise of companies such as AirBnB who revamped the market of short-term living for those priced out by hotels.

This is the mindset embedded into everyone at CAFU during these past months. As a business we want to do more, not less, inspire our people to achieve more for our community now and be further responsive to our community of consumers and business users. I believe this period has forged a call to action for CAFU – to drive further innovation to help the community.

This is also reflected in our decision to change the colour of our trucks from grey to teal – a move rooted in solidarity with our collective sense of hope and optimism for a better future, so that our customers can witness positive, calm and cheerful teal coloured CAFU trucks cruising down our roads.


As a business community, we must forge ahead by acting decisively even with some degree of uncertainty caused by the ongoing virus and deliver bold and thoughtful innovation by taking a minute to introspect, especially as business leaders. We need to take stock and restructure, rewire, and review our priorities to drive a strong agenda focused on being more agile and responsive to citizens and residents.

We all have an active role to play in delivering a prosperous future for ourselves, our communities, and our nation, and together, unified in our objective and vision we will achieve it, I am certain of that.

For my part as the CEO of CAFU, I commit our company to making this a decade of innovative opportunity, better engaged with the needs of our community, and forging a future of optimism.

Thank you

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