Saudi Arabia women

Saudi Arabia on Monday began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, state media reported.

“The first group of women today received their Saudi driving licences,’’ the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

“The general directorate of traffic started replacing international driving licences recognised in the kingdom with Saudi licences,’’ it added.

The move comes as Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive, prepares to lift its decades-long ban on female drivers on Jun 24.

SPA said authorities started swapping international licences for Saudi ones in multiple locations across the kingdom, with women applicants made to undergo a “practical test”.

It did not specify the number of licences issued.

The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s far-reaching liberalisation drive as he seeks to modernise the conservative petro-state.