SFA underlines the importance of Saudi community sports

The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has underlined its commitment to advancing sports diplomacy and leveraging the unifying power of sports to create a brighter future for all. Representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the Peace and Sport International Forum 2022 in Monaco — an event launched to generate concrete solutions and forge impactful partnerships that make the most of sport as a lever for peace — the Federation took another important step towards accomplishing its goal of empowering more people and communities to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.Joining some of the world’s foremost experts, leaders, and sports stars to address pressing global challenges, SFA — acting as an ambassador for the Kingdom and flagbearer of regional sports excellence — showcased its work to transform Saudi Arabia into a world-class sports hub. The Federation called on the international community to come together through the development of an inclusive and united global sports culture to effect lasting change and innovate sustainable solutions to persistent issues.A unique platform for meaningful dialogue, the exchange of ideas and the promotion of good practices, the Peace and Sport International Forum provides a timely opportunity for changemakers from around the world to explore how they can safeguard the future.This year’s event — which took place from 30 November to 1 December — marked a major milestone for SFA, with the Federation signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Peace and Sport at the forum. The agreement aims to enhance cooperation between the two parties in supporting community sports initiatives and empowering Saudi people in the sports sector.The MoU was signed by SFA President HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud and the President and Founder of Peace and Sport, Joël Bouzou. It will help to enhance SFA's drive — with the support of the Ministry of Sport and the Quality of Life Program — to build a healthy and active society through joint programs and bilateral campaigns.As part of the agreement, SFA will collaborate with Peace and Sport — a neutral and independent worldwide organization that uses sport and its values as an instrument for peace — to host a diversity of sports programs in the Kingdom. Together, they will create a range of initiatives that support the ongoing growth and development of the Saudi sports community, while promoting global peace and cooperation.The MoU forms part of the initiatives that SFA is pioneering to achieve the Vision 2030 and Quality of Life Program objectives of increasing physical activity levels in the Kingdom by 2030. In line with this commitment, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, and SFA Managing Director, Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, attended a range of meetings to facilitate productive long-term collaborations between SFA and Peace and Sport. This included an audience with H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, as well as sit-downs with Peace and Sport President and Founder Joël Bouzou and CEO Jean-Jérôme Perrin-Mortier.Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, the SFA MD, was also speaker at the forum, taking part in a session entitled “Sport as a vector for gender equality”. During the talk, she emphasized the importance of increasing women’s participation in sport-based programs, sport competitions and sport-related occupations, reiterating that empowering girls and women is instrumental to social development and building inclusive societies.  SFA President, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, said: “This agreement reflects our common goals and values?? to use sport as a major tool to promote peace. Sport is the most vital tool in enhancing communications between nations and people. Based on this vision, we look forward to cooperating with Peace and Sport to launch successful community sports initiatives and build the local capacity across different fields related to community sports and contribute to an active healthy nation.”Joël Bouzou, President and Founder, of Peace and Sport, said: “We are pleased to be working with SFA to bolster Saudi Arabia’s sports infrastructure and enhance its already thriving sports culture. This cooperation will help launch several new and innovative sports programs: first-of-their-kind offerings that will transform communities and change lives for the better. SFA has already proven its ability to host many large events that have gained wide popularity in the Kingdom and around the world. We look forward to helping SFA achieve even more game-changing feats, empowering people to build more inclusive and peaceful societies.”As the main body responsible for developing community sports and raising physical activity levels in Saudi Arabia, SFA proactively engages in and promotes international dialogue to enhance sports in the Kingdom. Over the course of the past year, the Federation has participated and played a leading role in events and gatherings such as 9th International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress in Abu Dhabi, the 2022 Misk Global Forum, Sports Industry Forum Abu Dhabi 2022, and the 27th TAFISA World Congress.

Analysis of FQ3 earnings calls shows GCC businesses not immune to challenges

The overall management sentiment for earnings calls hosted by GCC companies between 1 October and 17 November 2022 has decreased, according to a new AI-powered analysis by Iridium Advisors. The company found that its GCC Earnings Call Sentiment Index dropped 8% quarter-on-quarter to its lowest level since the first fiscal quarter of 2021.The trend in sentiment continues to broadly track corporate profitability and the MSCI GCC Index, which also declined over the last quarter and coincides with a decrease in the number of companies that have "beaten" analyst estimates in FQ3 2022. Iridium Advisors found that the percentage of companies that missed analysts' earnings estimates this quarter grew to 50%, up from 34% in FQ2 2022.Oliver Schutzmann, CEO, Iridium Advisors, said, "This is the first quarter in over a year that we have seen a marked decline in management sentiment. While equity markets in the region have performed better than those in the US and Europe, we can't discount the fact that regional equity markets are not immune to larger global market contractions, rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, oil price volatility, and fears of recession." Interestingly, the research shows somewhat mixed trends across GCC countries. While Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were the only two countries that showed a slight increase in sentiment by management teams, the negative trend was most pronounced in Oman and Bahrain and, to a lesser extent, in Saudi Arabia. Across industries, real estate was the only sector wherein management teams showed a slight increase in positive sentiment. On the other hand, Materials and Communication Services saw the largest declines in sentiment."Although management sentiment declined during FQ3 2022, their 'confidence' — a measure of how strong or weak the language used during earnings calls is — increased. As confidence is often a leading indicator of sentiment, it will be interesting to see if management sentiment will rise again in upcoming reporting cycles or continue its downward trajectory," concluded Schutzmann.Methodology:Iridium Quant Lens NLP algorithms automate earnings call analysis by quantifying language at a scale and speed that is impossible to replicate by the human brain. To date, the company has processed over 6.7 million words from 1,300+ earnings call transcripts of listed companies across eight stock exchanges in the GCC region since 2015. The NLP algorithms generate unbiased insights from the sentiment expressed by management, analysts and investors, the language complexity used, as well as the number of financial metrics conferred during earnings calls, and cross-correlate the results to earnings data.

Agthia completes acquisition of majority stake in Auf Group

Agthia Group PJSC, one of the region’s leading food and beverage companies, today announced the completion of its acquisition of a 60% stake in Auf Group, a specialised healthy snacks and coffee manufacturer and retailer in Egypt.The acquisition enhances Agthia’s footprint in the attractive Egyptian snacking market, which is forecast to grow from around AED 8.7 billion ($2.3 billion) in 2020 to around AED 11.2 billion ($3.05 billion) by the end of 2024, according to Euromonitor. It also strengthens Agthia’s position as a leading regional consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, building on last year’s acquisitions of BMB Group (a leading manufacturer of healthy snacks), Al Foah (the world’s largest dates receiving and processing business), Al Faysal Bakery and Sweets (a leading industrial bakery in Kuwait), Nabil Foods (a Jordan-based leading regional processed meat producer), and Atyab (an Egyptian processed meat producer).Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Agthia Group, said: “The acquisition of Auf Group aligns with our 2025 growth strategy to acquire, integrate and grow attractive businesses in value-add categories. Egypt remains a strategic target for Agthia, as one of the MENA region’s fastest-growing consumer markets. We continue to identify opportunities to grow our presence there while strengthening our F&B leadership in the Middle East and beyond.”  Alan Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Agthia Group, said: “This is an important acquisition for Agthia that further expands our footprint in the snacking and healthy food verticals. We look forward to integrating Auf Group as part of Agthia while monetizing synergies and growth opportunities. We are also excited to expand our presence in Egypt and look forward to working closely with the Auf Group team to bolster their strengths and capabilities.”Agthia has acquired 60% of Auf Group, with Auf Group’s founders retaining a 30% stake and continuing to actively lead the company with the support of Agthia’s regional footprint and operational expertise. Tanmiya Capital Ventures, an Egyptian private equity firm that invested in Auf Group in 2019, remains a shareholder of the remaining 10% stake.Ahmed Auf, Chief Executive Officer of Auf Group, said: “This transaction represents a significant milestone in Auf Group’s history, and we look forward to working alongside the Agthia team to build on our success to date. Our focus remains on maintaining our unique position in the Egyptian snacking market while expanding our reach and footprint.”Established in 2010, Auf Group processes, manufactures, retails and distributes a broad portfolio of products across Egypt including coffee, nuts, healthy snacks and other confectionery products sold under the Abu Auf master brand. The company has plans to expand its footprint across the UAE, and beyond, having recently opened four new stores in key retail locations - including a flagship store in the newly opened Dubai Hills Mall.Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acted as international legal counsel, and Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy as Egyptian counsel, to Agthia. CI Capital acted as financial advisor to Agthia.

Kyndryl discusses the role of technology in accelerating digitization

Kyndryl, the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, today expressed its unwavering commitment to help accelerate the pace of digital transformation, in alignment with Digital Egypt Strategy, during Cairo ICT 2022.“Over the past few years, Egypt has made significant strides, innovating to compete in the digital economy; and it’s continuing to gain momentum,” said Andreas Beck, Managing Director, Kyndryl Middle East and Africa. “Through our global and industry expertise, Kyndryl is well positioned to support Egyptian customers of all sizes and advance the government's efforts to accelerate the country's digitization.”Drawing on the technologies of best-in-class partners — including Microsoft, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, VMWare, Nokia, Cloudera, and others — Kyndryl’s experts design, deploy and operate customized IT estates tailored to the customer’s mission. Kyndryl’s solutions give business leaders confidence that their critical operations will be resilient and secure.Today, Kyndryl serves thousands of enterprise customers in more than 60 countries including Egypt, such as Etihad Airways, TAQA Arabia, Honda, Mitsubishi, Schneider Electric, Deutsche Bank, Dow, RSA Insurance, BMW Group and more.Kyndryl has six global practices organized around the way customers consume services: Cloud Services; Core Enterprise and zCloud; Applications, Data and AI; Digital Workplace; Security and Resiliency; and Network and Edge.In recent weeks, the Company has announced several new innovations to enhance its services capabilities:Kyndryl Bridge – The Company recently launched Kyndryl Bridge, an open integration platform that gives business leaders control over customizing mission-critical operations and real-time insight into their complex IT estates. The platform integrates existing tools, intellectual property, processes and partnerships to maximize the benefit of multi-cloud capabilities and deliver an ‘as-a-service’ operating environment. Kyndryl Bridge is designed to be a digital collaboration environment that will continue to expand and grow over time, connecting Kyndryl’s advanced technology, market innovation and industry expertise across the global economy.Kyndryl Vital – Kyndryl announced Kyndryl Vital, a co-creation experience where Kyndryl professional designers and technical experts work side-by-side with customers and partners to solve complex IT challenges.Kyndryl Consult – Kyndryl has branded and amplified its advisory & implementation services activities as Kyndryl Consult, reflecting the continued evolution of the Company’s services and the value its advisory services can create for customers. “We see tremendous potential in Egypt, and we are excited to bring these new capabilities to our local customers to modernize their IT systems for a digitally-enabled future,” Beck concludes.

Saudi Ministry of Tourism signed MoUs with Oman, Indonesia and Barbados

The leaders of the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) have described Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become one of the top 5 destinations in the world in the next decade as “unparalleled” in the history of tourism and travel. Opening the 22nd edition of the Summit, Arnold Donald, Chair, WTTC & Vice Chair of the Board, Carnival Corporation, welcomed the nearly 3000 participants to what will be the biggest ever meeting of global tourism and travel industry leaders.Praising the goals set by the Kingdom to welcome 100 million international and domestic travelers a year by 2030, Mr. Arnold said: “These are ambitions that are unparalleled in the history of our sector. Over the past three years it has been a great privilege to see the progress made here with our own eyes.”Summit host, Saudi Arabia Minister of Tourism, HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb welcomed the leaders of the tourism world to Riyadh said: “We have the power to shape the sector, bridge cultures, and transform communities. We are fortunate to be in the position to effect change. We must not let this opportunity pass by us. Let us ensure that here in Riyadh, we really do deliver a better future for travel.”WTTC CEO Julia Simpson focused on the vital importance of nature to the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the sector. She said: “The WTTC Positive Travel and Tourism Report shows tourism from nature generates over $600 bn which provides opportunities for some of the world’s poorest countries to protect biodiversity and their communities.”In a day packed full of debate, dialogue and the sharing of innovative ideas from around the world, leaders of the global tourism industry participated in panel discussions and keynote speakers.The Summit has attracted the leaders of the world’s biggest hotel groups and Christopher J Nassetta President & CEO, Hilton Worldwide, told the audience:  “We are in a new golden age of travel. Travel and Tourism is an unstoppable force for good. People want to see places they want to interact with people. My advice to everybody is to believe in the power of travel.” Former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon was in discussion about the sustainable future of travel. He declared: “Tourism has made a substantial contribution to humanity’s social and economic progress. Whether you belong to Saudi Arabia, China, United States or South Korea – there are no boundaries.“We need to become global citizens. We have so many problems – health issues, political issues, environmental issues – but with global citizenship we can solve them. Let’s work as global citizens to make this world more sustainable, to transform this world and pass it on to the next generations in a better way than we found it.”Speaker after speaker focused on a number of key developmental areas to ensure the successful future of tourism. Stephen Scherr, CEO, The Hertz Corporation explained:  “You need infrastructure in the various markets and countries. Whether it's an airport that can handle the kind of traffic that you will have or in our business, you need to build infrastructure that is accommodating and inviting for the people you want to be traveling around.”Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia H.E. Sandiaga says that when you consider Indonesia and Bali that means sustainable tourism and it means a change in mindset. He said: “The new trend of tourism is more personalized, localized and customized, and smaller in size also means better revenue. This year we are creating three times more revenue from tourism than we had expected with only a quarter of previous numbers of foreign tourists arriving.”Creating a truly local and unique welcome for visitors was also a powerful topic of debate as international destinations work to ensure they offer visitors a unique taste of local culture, customs and heritage.Bahrain Minister of Tourism H.E. Fatima Al Sairafi, Minister of Tourism, said: “We have noticed in Bahrain that whenever we get tourists visiting our country, one of the main things that they leave with is the authenticity of the experience they have enjoyed. We have successfully incorporated that in our tourism experiences that we offer in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Those authentic experiences are delivered by Bahrainis.”Hashil Al Mahrouqi, Chief Executive Officer, OMRAN added: “Today, everyone is talking about sustainability. Everyone is saying protect nature, everyone is saying protect this planet. But I think in Oman we have been prepared for it. What we need to do now in Oman is capitalize on what we already have there and I think we are on the right track doing it.”The Summit has also seen a number of major announcements and signing of MOUs on the sidelines of the main Summit debates. These have seen Saudi Arabia sign MOUs with Oman, Indonesia and Barbados and Wizz Air appoint Arjaa Travel and Tourism Company as the exclusive agent for Wizz Air in Saudi Arabia. The Summit is the largest ever staged to date and has nearly 3000 participants taking part from 140 countries. The enormous global interest in the Summit was shown by one million livestreams of sessions on the metaverse on the first day.

IT more responsible for business innovation in the UAE than before: ManageEngine

ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, today announced results from its IT at work: 2022 and beyond study. This newly released data, involving IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs), examines the democratisation of IT and the ability of IT teams to influence business decisions in large and enterprise-sized organisations in the UAE.According to the study, there is increased collaboration between IT and other teams within organisations, which may have contributed to non-IT employees possessing more knowledge about IT now than they did before 2020. IT structures within organisations are being increasingly decentralised, and non-IT departments now enjoy autonomy when it comes to technology decisions.However, any concerns over the role of IT teams being diminished are dispelled as the study found that they are pivotal in building tomorrow's enterprises. Around 76% of ITDMs expect IT to play a greater role in setting the organisation’s overall strategy in the next 5 years. This is 11% higher than the global average.The success of the IT team in playing its role has a significant bearing on the organisation’s success, with over 91% of all respondents pointing to a direct correlation between both. Furthermore, IT professionals are increasingly expected to be innovators, with more than nine in ten (91%) respondents agreeing that IT is more responsible for business innovation than ever before."Professionals are keen to gain new perspectives from industry peers in order to stay updated and advance in their career. Through this study, we hope to facilitate the sharing of knowledge among stakeholders in the UAE. These insights also help ManageEngine in its constant endeavour of evolving as a comprehensive and effective IT management platform," said Rajesh Ganesan, president at ManageEngine.Key findings from the study1. Increased collaboration leading to tech autonomy for non-IT teams.The vast majority (90%) of respondents report that collaboration between IT teams and other departments has increased during the past two years.More than four-fifths (84%) of respondents agree that non-IT employees in their organisation are more knowledgeable about IT now than they were before 2020.Around 44% of organisations have already decentralised their IT structure, with another 49% currently attempting to do so.Nearly all (98%) BDMs say their department has autonomy when it comes to making technology decisions. This autonomy relates to not only purchasing software (64%), and devices (47%), but also to hiring tech talent (62%).2. Leveraging AI and machine learning (ML) against cyberattacks.Around 91% of all respondents say AI and ML technologies will play a significant role in strengthening their organisation's IT security framework.Nearly all (95%) BDMs say that their organisation has invested in AI and ML technologies and are doing so for more than one use case, on average. A notable proportion of BDMs report that they are using AI to prevent cyberattacks (52%).IT and security teams are held responsible when it comes to defending against cyberattacks. Around 73% of decision makers (both ITDMs and BDMs) say it is the responsibility of IT and security teams to protect organisations.3. Development of skills and talent retention.Two-fifths (41%) of ITDMs in the UAE say they are actively looking for a new job, while pretty much the same number (45%) say they feel less loyal to their current employers than than they were two years ago.When it comes to what ITDMs want from their role in the next five years, these were cited as most important: the potential to learn new skills (55%), the ability to step into a more senior role (49%), and the ability to guide change within the organisation (48%).Around half of ITDMs say that they would be driven away from their organisation if their pay did not at least stay current with inflation (54%), if there were no potential for advancement/promotion (52%), or a flexible work model (50%), or any of several other existing benefits cited, were taken away.ManageEngine commissioned independent market research agency Vanson Bourne to survey 200 decision-makers across IT and other key business functions from a range of private-sector organisations in the UAE. Visit ManageEngine's website for access to the IT at work: 2022 and beyond report at

Hire-as-you-go hotel marketing platform launches in the GCC region

In a landscape of ever-growing digital complexity and talent shortage, hotels have trouble getting the marketing expertise they genuinely need when needed, hence missing out on business opportunities. Newly launched Hotel Marketing Space has created a hire-as-you-go platform giving hotels in the GCC region access to a flexible team of world-class experts.The platform's services cover three main areas: digital marketing, social media, and photography/ videography. From a website SEO assessment to Instagram Reels to lifestyle photography, hotels can easily hire the specific marketing talent required per their business needs.In the words of the founder, Miret Padovani: "Hotels often face skill gaps due to temporary vacancies or the need for specialized skills that in-house marketing teams do not possess. With no agency fees or lengthy hiring processes, Hotel Marketing Space offers a quick, cost-efficient solution to fill these gaps."The company also provides luxury hotels with public relations representation in the US and nine European countries. The member agencies have decades of experience working with leading travel brands."When looking for PR representation abroad, hotels face the challenge of the agencies being too far away and rarely visiting the properties," says Padovani. "We get to know the hotels personally thanks to a local representative in Dubai and Riyadh - a huge plus. It also solves the headache of dealing with different time zones and up to 12 hours of time difference!"In addition to its core marketing and PR services, Hotel Marketing Space aims to contribute to the development of local talent by offering leadership and personal development training sessions."The growth of the hotel industry in the GCC region will only be possible if we develop strong marketing and communications leaders," says Padovani.To learn more about Hotel Marketing Space, visit

CEER to establish electric vehicle brand site at KAEC

Ceer, Saudi Arabia’s first electric vehicle brand, has signed a land purchase agreement worth 359 million Saudi Riyals with Emaar, the Economic City, for land at King Abdullah Economic City (“KAEC”) that will be used to develop Ceer’s manufacturing facility for electric vehicles. The site, located in Industrial Valley (IV) in close proximity to King Abdullah Port in KAEC, will cover over 1 million square meters. Once complete, Ceer’s manufacturing facility will create thousands of direct and indirect high-skilled jobs, the majority of which will be filled by Saudi nationals. Construction at the site will begin early 2023.The company, which is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (“PIF”) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (“Foxconn”), will manufacture a portfolio of technologically advanced sedans and sports utility vehicles at the factory in KAEC. Ceer vehicles are scheduled to be available from 2025 onwards. The factory will be state-of-the-art, featuring the latest technologies to ensure manufacturing efficiency whilst minimizing energy and water usage. Ceer will work towards making the factory a zero waste to landfill site. Ceer’s Chief Executive Officer, James DeLuca, said: “We have found a place that meets all our needs. KAEC offers us a great location with world-class logistics, effective access for our global and Saudi-based suppliers, and an ideal location to base and develop our future workforce. KAEC will become our manufacturing hub as we work towards creating the first electric vehicle brand for Saudi Arabia and the wider region and, in doing so, contribute in a meaningful way to Saudi Vision 2030.”The establishment of Ceer comes in line with the PIF strategy to focus on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia, including the automotive sector, as well as creating opportunities for the growth and diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy.“We are delighted to welcome Ceer to KAEC and to help make history by building the first automotive manufacturing hub in Saudi Arabia and the wider region,” said Cyril Piaia, CEO of Emaar, The Economic City, the master developer of KAEC. “KAEC is aiming at integrating into Vision 2030 initiatives with the vision to be a global manufacturing center, and we are spearheading the creation of an electric vehicle automotive industry that will be both innovation-focused and have sustainability at its heart. We cannot wait to see the cars of thefirst Saudi electric vehicle brand coming out of Ceer’s factory at KAEC in a couple of years’ time, and we are proud to be able to contribute to a project that supports so many facets of Saudi Vision 2030. This agreement is in line with KAEC’s new strategy to welcome third-party anchor investors, developers,and operators to realize their projects and ambitions in the city and accelerate its development.”

Dubai to roll out world-class live entertainment, cultural and lifestyle events

Dubai Calendar, the official listing platform for events in the city, has curated a range of the best live entertainment, cultural, lifestyle and sporting events that will take place in Dubai during December 2022. The epic line up of events includes the BudX FIFA Fan Festival, Emirates Airline Dubai 7s, Dubai Shopping Festival and the Christmas Concert at Dubai Opera, and much more.GRIPPING SPORTING ACTIONAs the sporting season moves into top gear with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, Dubai is pulling out all the stops to add to the excitement with a host of football-themed fan zones, sports lounges, and family-friendly destinations to welcome sports enthusiasts. These destinations include the BudX FIFA Fan Festival at Dubai Harbour which will be one of only six international flagship FIFA Fan Festivals worldwide. Additionally, there will be fan-zones dotted throughout the city, from the football-themed Fan City at Expo City Dubai, Fanzone by McGettigan’s at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Press Play at Precision Football and many more.Emirates Dubai 7s is one of the largest sports and entertainment festivals in the Middle East. This year is set to be bigger and better than ever before, with international music headliners such as Gorgon City and Craig David making for an epic celebration of music and the best international men's and women's rugby teams from 1st - 3rd December.Get ready to see the region’s most skilled horses and talented jockeys go head to head for a grand prize at the Racing at Meydan. The action continues this winter with races scheduled from 4th November to 19th February with the first race starting at 6pm.Feel patriotic and full of life at the Skechers Performance UAE National Day Run 2022 National Day race at The Track Meydan Golf. The community focused fitness challenge takes place on 2nd December, where runners from all ages are encouraged to take part.The 22ft Traditional Dhow Sailing Race is a gripping series taking place at Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC)'s for the winter water sports season. The event kicked off on 18th September and extends to 17th December, perfect for local and international sporting enthusiasts.Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Alexander Zverev, Elena Rybakina and Sania Mirza are a handful of the 18 world-class tennis stars that will be heading to Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena for the World Tennis League from 19th-24th December. Get ready for gripping sporting action in the day, followed by a musical extravaganza at night featuring globally-renowned DJs like Tiesto and Deadmau5 and rap stars such as NE-YO and Wizkid.ENJOY DUBAI’S DIVERSE CULTURAL, ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE OFFERINGGet involved with an immersive game like no other with a world-famous Murder Mystery Dubai experience taking place in the historic Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai from 3rd December – 12th February. The 90-minute experience is steeped in entertaining games and activities, drawing out your inner detective.The football action continues with ?four of Europe's leading clubs will be playing in the city for the Dubai Super Cup. Sports fans can have a chance to see Liverpool FC, Arsenal, AC Milan and Lyon (Olympique Lyonnais) battle it out for trophy, with matches taking place from 8th-16th December at the Al Maktoum Stadium.Connect with the region’s and the world’s coolest lifestyle and street-culture pioneers as the city’s leading urban festival, Sole DXB returns to the Dubai Design District from 9th-11th December.Culture buffs can enjoy film screenings, interactive workshops for big and small kids, panel talks, international performances and educational activities at Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert, taking place from 9th-11th December at Al Marmoom Conservation Reserve.Dubai Opera’s will be hosting a captivating showcase, transporting guests back to a golden age of Egyptian history with King Farouk a celebration of Middle Eastern music, taking place on 12th December.This festive period, enjoy The Snow Queen show, a magical and dramatic production based on Hans Christian Andersen's 1844 fairy tale. Taking place at QE2 from 16th-26th December guests can enjoy this special holiday showcase with a captivating story around best friends Gerda and Kai and showcases the struggle between good and evil.Watch the magic of The Nutcracker brought to life at Dubai Opera from 16th-17th December by the acclaimed Moscow-based ballet La Classique.Everyone’s favourite fully grown ELF will be live at The Theatre, Mall of the Emirates from 17th-24th December with one of the most popular Christmas musicals in the world, produced by Olivier Award-winning producer Paul Taylor-Mills, makes its way to Dubai.Make merry this year The Dubai Opera Big Band makes its way back to the stage for a musical huge celebration. This will be an unforgettable seasonal event with classic festive tunes at Dubai Opera from 21st-22nd December.PERFORMANCES FROM GLOBAL ARTISTSEida Al Menhali and Dalia Mubarak live will be a mesmerising performance by famed Arabic musicians. The stars will captivate audiences as they take to the stage at the magical Al Wasl Plaza, Expo City Dubai for an exciting concert to mark 51 glorious years of the UAE on 2nd December.One of the superstars of 90s pop music, Lucky Ali will be flying into Dubai for a live showcase as a part of the Winter Music Fest, which will bring together widely loved Bollywood's musicians to the city. Fans can prepare to see the exceptionally talented artist to the stage at The Agenda on 3rd December.The Lebanese-Armenian, Guy Manoukian, will once again captivate audiences and light up the stage as he returns to Dubai Opera on 9th December.Often dubbed the Queen of Qawwali, Abida Parveen makes her way back to Dubai for a highly-anticipated showcase on 9th December at the Coca-Cola Arena. The iconic performer is one of the most celebrated Sufi singers in the world, so get your tickets soon before they sell out.Hooverphonic fans can prepare for the Belgian pop group to fly in for their first-ever performance in Dubai. Music fanatics can welcome Alex Callier, Raymond Geerts and Geike Arnaert to the stage at the Dubai Opera on 10th December.Prepare for a magical night as Bi-2 take to the Coca-Cola arena stage for their first-ever Dubai performance. The famed Belarusian alt-rock band, who were the opening headliners of the PaRus Music Fest in Dubai last year, are returning for another enthralling showcase on 10th December.Following a sold-out tour across the globe, Palestinian brothers Samir, Wissam and Adnan, collectively known as Le Trio Joubran, are heading to Dubai Opera for their debut concert. Music fans can prepare for an evening of melodious oud tunes on 11th December.Kadim Al Sahir, one of the most successful Arab singers in history, is gearing up to enthrall you with mesmerising live acts on 23rd and 24th December. Get ready for a show-stopping performances by the pop icon at the Dubai Opera.The stage is set for Sufi sensation Rahat Fateh Ali Khan as he returns to at the Coca-Cola Arena on 29th December for the fifth time for the Up Close & Personal show. The hitmaker is known for his impressive repertoire of heartfelt hits including classic qawwalis, soulful ghazals and Bollywood tracks.Head to the Coca-Cola Arena to watch Dutch DJ Martin Garrix live, one of the world's biggest dance music sensations, for a spectacular showcase with an expected audience of over 10,000 fans, on 30th December.Dubai Calendar allows residents and tourists to discover upcoming events and purchase tickets quickly and securely through Dubai Calendar’s website and the mobile application’s purchasing platform. For more information about all events taking place across Dubai, please visit:

Jindal Shadeed Oman and Wieden+Kennedy India collaborate

‘The Steel Of Oman’ campaign by W+K India is a true ode to Omani strength and resilience during the world’s biggest sporting event.  Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel, is the largest privately owned integrated steel producer in the Persian Gulf Region (Gulf Cooperation Council) committed to the acceleration of Oman’s industrialization and modernization. Being the undisputed market leader and a prestigious business partner for Oman, Jindal Shadeed aims to convey its commitment to Oman by celebrating the spirit of its people and its unique culture which the world knows little about. Wieden+Kennedy, an independent creative agency known worldwide for its groundbreaking work on shaping cultures via key brand partnerships, joins hands with Jindal Shadeed to bring to life a creative platform that celebrates Omani strength and resilience through its love for football. #YOUTUBE_mBTcU-zkMpg#W+K, India came up with the brand proposition, ‘The Steel Of Oman’ which celebrates Omani culture, sportsmanship and the growth of the nation. It is an ode to the country’s love for football, its traditions and customs while embracing its vivid future. It was a multiple agency pitch which W+K India won against some giant networksThis 360-degree campaign spreads across national television, theatres, digital, social, print, outdoors for a period of 4 to 5 weeks.W+K India collaborated with ace director Sanju Ayappa from Early Man Films and celebrated Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj from The Third Line Gallery for Print/Outdoor imagery. The 3 min plus long film showcases the Omani culture with football as the backdrop, as the stunning visual montage travels from the beautiful landscapes of Oman, to people across age groups, gender and juxtaposes them with energy driven football shots. The music track composed by Danish musician Sofyann Ben Youssef focuses on the local folk vocals, further energized with a thumping beat continuously building towards a crescendo. Hassan Hajjaj has captured more than 20 powerful portraits in his unique style of photography right from some Omani achievers, iconic celebrities to common people who truly symbolize ‘The Steel of Oman’ Jindal’s tie-up with National football team players Ali Al Habsi, Al Hosni and Imad also strengthens the credibility of the campaign and makes it a matter of national pride.“The whole Jindal Shadeed team and especially Mr. Venkatesh Jindal (Chairman) had massive faith in us and gave us full creative freedom to get this narrative right. This piece isn’t about selling more steel or chest thumping about being a market leader. Instead, Jindal Shadeed wanted to honestly celebrate the real steel of the nation i.e. the people, culture, their spirit and passion for the game.There was a conscious decision to pitch the film into beautiful arty non-ady-space, as we all were very clear we didn’t want another ad in the midst of celeb centric football clutter during this FIFA World Cup. We wanted this to be as authentic as it could get. It was a challenge to work with real people, non actors, and a stunning yet daunting Omani terrain but thanks to Ayappa and gang, we went above and beyond to bring that alive.” Santosh Padhi (PADDY) Chief Creative Officer, W+K IndiaThe brief was inspiring and the client's faith in our ability to do something truly authentic pushed us for something truly special. The creative team came up with a simple yet powerful narrative that also enabled us to find interesting production partners who could help bring our ideas to life and we found them in Ayappa and Hassan Hajjaj who are known for their stellar craft. We are extremely proud that this work symbolizes the true values of what Wieden + Kennedy is known for worldwide. Ruchika Khanna, Director Digital + Business Head, W+K India “Football has been a much-loved sport that has brought the country together. While our new campaign has football at its heart, our film is also a journey through the authentic traditions of the country, its rich culture, and its strong values. Most importantly, it celebrates the people of Oman. Through this campaign, Jindal Shadeed seeks to further weave itself into the social fabric of Oman. At Jindal Shadeed, we will continue to deepen our relationship with the Sultanate through initiatives that drive meaningful impact in society” Harssha Shetty, CEO, Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel

Corporate & Investment banking to face a new perfect storm: Arthur D. Little

Dubai, UAE: Arthur D. Little (ADL) has published a new Viewpoint, “Pursuing Excellence in Corporate Banking” exploring challenges and opportunities that illustrate the lasting and even increasing importance of the corporate segment for banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Viewpoint reviews the impacts of recent disruptions and expected, and explores options for banks to strengthen and grow their corporate and investment banking (CIB) business.CIB in the UAE represents close to $635 Bn. assets and $15 Bn. revenue. CIB assets are around 5 times the ones of retail banking. According to the report, regional banks however focus their external communication primarily on the consumer segment, whether it is fintech, strategy, digital transformation, products, or applications. Further, corporate banking is often perceived as a specialist area and, as a result, innovation is frequently thought to be focused in the retail banking sector. The report outlines an increasingly competitive, fast-evolving, and complex environment for CIB businesses, which includes a variety of challenges caused by structural trends, COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine.ADL Viewpoint calls for the primary focus to return to corporate banking for a few important reasons – an inflationary storm is ahead and CIB will be critically exposed to it and CIB is heavily impacted by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts. While the retail segment is more competitive, CIB still benefits from several growth drivers. Clients are facing increasingly complex issues that require new solutions from banks. In addition, the SME segment remains underpenetrated. The potential of digital optimization remains mostly untapped as well, and sizable innovation opportunities exist in the space of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.Philippe DeBacker, Managing Partner and Global Head of Financial Services, Arthur D. Little, said:“The region offers a positive and transformational environment for corporate and investment banking, which accounts for about 70% of assets in the GCC amid high hopes for the economy and enormous private and public sector spending. As highlighted in the Viewpoint, banks should anticipate further sector consolidation due to shrinking margins and high regulatory requirements. To accelerate their journey to becoming banks of the future, banks need to redesign their business models to maximize revenue per customer, protect capital and ensure risk resilience by optimizing the use of financial technology.”Stephane Ulcakar, Associate Director and Head of Corporate and Government Financial Services, Arthur D. Little, said:“ The digital transformation trend has caused widespread disintermediation and the need for scale across industries. As a result, banks must transform in much the same way that car manufacturers — and many other industries — did during the 20th century. This means moving away from an integrated model and outsourcing most value steps except a few strategic ones, such as design, assembly, and control. In response to these disruptive forces, however, banks have an unprecedented chance to broaden their business, reduce costs, and become more reactive. However, as was true with car manufacturing, this can lead to additional challenges.”Developing a Sustainable Business Model According to the report, there are four common imperatives for banks to be aware of:Banks must rebalance their portfolios based on diversification, return, and risk targets, and monitor those at client level. They must also anticipate balance sheet cleanup, impact on tier-one capital, develop treasury and liquidity management capabilitiesBanks must maximize revenue per customer by spotting all opportunities for (re)activation and retention, cross/upselling, and pricing realization. They must also consider variable rates and facility nonusage penalties to reflect the upward rate trends.Banks should engage clients beyond credit, with distressed M&As, debt capital market (DCM), or ESG transformation financing. They must be ready to increase their nonperforming loan and restructuring management. Sectorial specialization will be required to properly assess needs and risk level.Banks should work on simplifying their organizations, their products and the activities they carry out. Reducing their share of fixed costs requires the use of digital tools to optimize, automatize, and/or outsource part of the value chain, either to suppliers or to shared utilities.At the same time, successful CIB strategies must leverage the bank’s core assets and capabilities to create a differentiated and viable positioning.Anticipating a new paradign for CIB in the GCCThe digital transformation trend has caused widespread disintermediation and the need for scale across industries. In response to these disruptive forces, however, banks have an unprecedented chance to broaden their business, reduce costs, and become more reactive.As explored in the Viewpoint, with the strong hindsight of local regulators, the multiplication of banking accelerators for start-ups, and the rapid development of the fintech ecosystem, it is clear that the UAE CIB sector is poised to quickly integrate these new trends and successfully adapt them to the specifics of the local markets.

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh names Guenter Gebhard as Regional VP

Riyadh: Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center, the most iconic hotel in Riyadh, is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Guenter Gebhard as Regional Vice President and General Manager.A veteran hospitality executive, Gebhard joined Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh in 2019 as General Manager, following an extensive 35-year international career, taking him from Europe to the United States, Asia to Australia and more recent years in the GCC and Middle East. During his tenure, he has been overseeing all operational and commercial aspects of the Hotel including a substantial hundred million dollar renovation of the property. He also has been a main drive in attracting local talent onto the team. In his latest role as Senior General Manager, he had been supporting ongoing strategic expansion efforts of Four Seasons within the Kingdom.“Guenter is a creative Hotelier with a strong track record of delivering results. In his new role, he will continue to oversee Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and will lead regional responsibility for all operational aspects of our nascent growth in the Kingdom,” says Simon Casson, President- Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. “Saudi Arabia is the most active destination for our region from a growth perspective with currently 10 new projects at different stages of development. We are fortunate to have a leader who shares the aspirational vision for the future of the Kingdom.”Ideally situated in the heart of Riyadh, one of the most vibrant destinations in the Kingdom, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, with its newly renovated rooms and suites, is an appealing combination of modern luxury interiors combined with Saudi heritage touches. The Hotel is tucked inside the iconic Kingdom Tower, a familiar sight on the skyline and one of the most popular attractions in the city for tourists and locals alike.“I feel honored and privileged to take on this regional role with Four Seasons,” says Guenter Gebhard, Regional Vice President and General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh. “There is a rich legacy to draw upon as we chart our course for an exciting future ahead. With Saudi Arabia turning into a dynamic destination full of art, culture and entertainment, I look forward to working with the team and the local community to further establish the Kingdom on the international stage."Born and raised in Nuremberg, Germany, Gebhard was always encouraged by his parents to travel and see the world. After attending the Hotel & Tourism Academy in Munich, Germany, he studied Finance and Management at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Gebhard’s prior experience in the Kingdom, other GCC countries and global work exposure are strong attributes that will support Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts growth in Saudi Arabia.

Captain Razak Uppattil of Kerala completed the 1 billionth ride for Careem!

Dubai, UAE: Careem, the region's leading multi-service platform, celebrates 1 billion ride hailing trips across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.The 1 billionth trip was completed in Qatar by Captain Razak Uppattil from Kerala, India, who has been driving with Careem for four years and has completed over 10,500 trips on the platform. To celebrate this milestone, Careem gifted Captain Razak a trip to his home town in Kerala.The 1 billionth passenger was Genera Tesoro, a Careem customer from the Philippines who works as a receptionist at Padel In Aspire Zone in Doha. Genera completes more than 50 trips per month and says she chooses Careem because it is a more affordable option. Careem gifted Genera rides-hailing trips for one year* as a token of appreciation.Mudassir Sheikha, CEO & Co-founder of Careem, said: “Reaching the incredible milestone of 1 billion rides is thanks to the hard work of our Captains and colleagues as well as the trust that our customers have placed in us. We feel blessed to have made it easier for people to move around and to have created earning opportunities for more than 2.5 million people. The opportunity ahead is large and humbling - our region is full of untapped potential and there’s so much more we must do to simplify and improve life for people in the region.”Captain Razak Uppattil, the Captain who completed the 1 billionth ride, commented: “I thank God to have completed the 1 billionth trip. I have been at Careem for about four years and have so many favourite moments. It’s the people that I get to meet from all over the world that I really enjoy. I have three children back home in Kerala, India, and I am so excited to see them soon.”Careem Captains have driven over 9 billion kilometres across more than 80 cities over ten years. The countries with the highest number of rides recorded are Pakistan (299 million), Saudi Arabia (242 million), and Egypt (230 million). The longest single ride covered 1,113 kilometres, from Riyadh to Jazan in Saudi Arabia in 2020. The shortest single ride was a 200 metre trip in Lahore.Careem’s first ride took place in the UAE in September 2012 and was booked manually before the first line of code was written from Pakistan a few months later. Careem expanded in popularity across the region as the first ride-hailing platform to offer cash payments. The percentage of Careem rides paid for digitally has grown from 31% in 2016 to 44% in 2022.Careem has more than 50 million registered customers, and 2.5 million registered Captains who have collectively earned over $4 billion in earnings to date. The highest number of trips recorded by a Careem Captain is 35,139 trips by a Captain in Jordan. The highest number of rides booked by a Careem customer is over 9,500 rides by a customer in Saudi Arabia.Today Careem offers over a dozen services including ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, micro-mobility, payments, and partner services including home cleaning, car rental, event bookings, and on-demand laundry services.

Bureau appoints Preekshit Gupta as Regional Vice President of the APAC & MEA reg

Bureau, the leading full-stack identity decisioning platform for financial institutions and fintech companies, today announced the appointment of Preekshit Gupta as Regional Vice President for APAC and MEA. With his appointment, Bureau aims to strengthen its presence in India and expand its reach across international markets. Preekshit brings over 20 years of experience in the identity, fraud, and compliance space across various organisations. Before Bureau, Preekshit was responsible for leading Product and Go-to-market strategy for fraud, identity, and digital onboarding vertical at Transunion CIBIL. Previously, Preekshit has served in regional leadership positions at FIS, RSA Security, and Smokescreen Technologies.Speaking on his appointment, Bureau’s Founder and CEO Ranjan R Reddy said, “Preekshit’s deep industry experience, and impressive track record, will help Bureau solve the identity verification and fraud challenges that are surging in India and other emerging markets today. He shares a common vision to make cyberspace more secure and equitable by effectively enabling trusted online verifications and transactions.”Preekshit Gupta, Regional Vice President of APAC & MEA region, said, “I’m honoured and excited to be a part of this ambitious team at Bureau. At a time when consumers and businesses are increasingly transacting in a digital environment, a reliable basis for online trust has never been in greater demand. With Bureau’s impressive business momentum and innovative solutions, we are well poised to accelerate digital transformation and deliver growth without fear of risk for our customers.”Bureau provides enterprise-grade digital identity verification and fraud prevention solutions to digital and regulated institutions.

WAM participates in Egypt Media Forum

The Emirates News Agency (WAM) has participated in the first Egypt Media Forum (EMF), which got underway here, with the participation of more than 1,200 Egyptian, Arab and international journalists and media professionals and more than 150 experts and trainers.Abdullah Abdul Karim, Acting Executive Director for News Content at WAM, who represented the UAE official news agency at the event, underlined the importance of the forum in view of the nature of the issues and topics it discusses.He said that the new media industry goes beyond institutions to the audience who has become involved in the content and may become the creator of the content alone.He praised the idea of engaging audience in leading the discussions of the forum because it is the goal and target of any media message.He noted the prominent presence of students of media faculties and young content professionals at the forum which provided them withopportunities to develop their professional capacities and skills and interact with participating media experts.Over two days, the Egypt Media Forum discussed an array of topics related to media and journalism, most notably the digital content industry, the ethics of crime reporting, TikTok journalism, artificial intelligence techniques in detecting fake images, and how to detect misleading information.The Egypt Media Forum is an annual and independent international platform for media development, based in Cairo. The EMF aims to advance the know-how and development of media culture and policies, and to support capacity building and qualified bodies.

Experts to explore US$69.27B opportunities during Saudi Theme Parks & Ent Confx

Spending in leisure, amusement and theme parks in the Middle East and Africa was expected to reach US$609 million (Dh2.23 billion) in 2023, according to a report issued by International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the global industry association, as more than 250 industry experts, CEOs, COOs, MDs Head of the Leisure and Entertainment department from 75 participating companies from Theme parks, Water parks, Resorts, Family Entertainment Centres plan to attend he first Saudi Theme Parks & Entertainment Confex, scheduled to take place at the Raddison Blu, Riyadh on March 06, 2023.The day-long convention takes place at a time when the leisure industry has started to grow at an exponential rate following the COVID-19 pandemic and boosted by the Expo 2020 and FIFA World Cup Football in Qatar that kicks off in a few days’ time.The event announcement comes just a few days after Abu Dhabi's Miral Asset Management had launched a new group identity to streamline the delivery of Dh13 billion (US$3.5 billion) worth of leisure and cultural projects across the emirate.“Trade, tourism and retail are key economic growth drivers that will push the economies of the GCC countries in the years to come. These sectors are playing a pivotal role in diversifying the economy of the Gulf countries and will play even greater role in the economy,” Nizam Deen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CS Events – organiser of the UAE Corporate Tax Forum, says.“Recently the UAE Government has announced that it plans to attract 40 million tourists to the country every year by 2040 with investment to the tune of Dh100 billion that will further diversify the country’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil. Therefore, the countries in the GCC region will now sharpen their focus in developing leisure tourism facilities to attract more visitors. “The event will highlight the upcoming leisure projects that will help the industry grow further. The first Saudi Theme Parks & Entertainment Confex will bring the industry stakeholders closer to each other and they would then benefit immensely from the deliberations and the huge opportunities coming their way.”Along with direct and indirect contribution, the Middle East’s Travel and Tourism industry generates US$237 billion (Dh870 billion) worth of economic activity, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). In the Middle East, Travel and Tourism represents 8.7 percent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supports 5.4 million jobs. In North Africa, Travel and Tourism represents 11.2 percent of the region’s GDP, and supports 5.6 million or 10.4 percent of all jobs, WTTC research shows. The report projects attendance to increase at a 12.2 percent compound annual rate to 13.0 million in 2023 from 7.3 million in 2018. It expects overall theme and amusement park spending to grow at an 18.1 percent compound annual rate to $605 million in 2023 from $263 million in 2018.This conference will create massive business opportunities that are going to keep suppliers and manufacturers busy and help boost the leisure entertainment and attractions industry. Organised by CS Events Management, the Saudi Theme Parks & Entertainment Confex 2023, will bring together decision makers from Tourism Authorities, Entertainment Sector, Family Entertainment Centres, Resorts & Attractions, F & B, Developers etc. to discuss and evaluate the latest of Saudi Arabia's development in "Theme parks, Entertainment and Leisure" market, while showcasing cutting edge technology and solutions to real buyer. The global amusement parks market grew from $42.68 billion in 2021 to $69.27 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62.3 percent, according to research reports. The amusement parks market is expected to grow to $140.5 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 19.3 percent.The entertainment industry of Saudi Arabia is growing massively. Saudi Arabia has been putting its best effort to build a unique and world-class entertainment hub that includes innovative rides, cultural or historical attraction, and mega sporting events. It will also have accommodation facilities and merchandise in amusement parks that are gaining popularity among visitors of all age groups. Its entertainment sector offers an enormous opportunity for companies operating in this space. According to Renub Research, the Saudi Arabia Entertainment & Amusement market will reach US$1.17 billion by the end of the year 2030.Industry experts will address the key issues, challenges and trends in the industry through presentations and panel discussions on this forum. Speakers from 20 countries, including countries from North America, Europe, Asia and Middle East will discuss challenges and opportunities and vendors and solution providers will get a chance to showcase the latest innovations in front of hundreds of industry leaders. The Leisure and Attractions Industry is a great contributor to the tourism sector and our regional economies, industry experts said at the conference. The Saudi government has played a central role in supporting the growth of the entertainment sector by implementing the General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) established under the umbrella of the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Saudi Arabia is creating a host of attractions and giga-projects as part of Vision 2030, including the first water park in Saudi Arabia at Qiddiya. The company has awarded a contract worth 2.8 billion Saudi riyals ($750 million) for the construction of the kingdom’s first and the region’s largest water theme park.Qiddiya, which is being built in the outskirts of the Riyadh, is one of several mega-projects being developed in the kingdom as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme, the overarching blueprint to overhaul the kingdom’s economy and reduce its dependence on hydrocarbon revenue.Saudi Arabia’s Al Hokair Group has partnered with Hasbro to launch a unique family entertainment centre (FEC) concept called Playocity across the kingdom. Additional developments include the kingdom’s $500 billion city of the future Neom and the Red Sea Project.Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from global oil and gas contractors for a $5bn ‘oil rig theme park’ called The Rig. The Rig will be an offshore ‘extreme park’ in the Persian Gulf. Covering an area of more than 150,000 square metres, the attraction will be situated on repurposed oil platforms.The region’s theme parks are currently getting busier with a growing number of visitors and investing heavily in technology to create fully immersive and connected guest experiences they cannot get anywhere else. Experts will discuss on the digitalization of Theme Parks as well. The various experience upgrades that the industry in the Middle East are investing in include the deployment in digital ticketing, cloud-base solutions, digital payment, augmented and virtual reality, experiential attractions etc. The Saudi Theme Parks & Entertainment Confex conference will highlight the massive business opportunities in the the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, where government and the private sector investors are injecting billions of dollars to build new theme parks, amusement parks, large cinema complexes, shopping malls with family entertainment centres – that will help the suppliers and manufacturers of leisure products to expand their businesses.

Arab Bank tops Euromoney cash management survey 2022

Arab Bank ranked first as the “Best Service Bank” in Bahrain as voted by Corporates according to the global Euromoney Cash Management Survey 2022, a reference survey for the global cash management industry.The Cash Management survey examines customer feedback around financial services provided by banks to evaluate best cash management service providers and rank them based on the survey results across financial and banking markets.The survey collects data from multiple qualitative and quantitative sources, including institutions and customers to build an objective assessment. The magazine’s team of editors then evaluate the data based on specific criteria and ranking across multiple categories and markets as a global benchmark for leading providers of cash management products and services across the banking and financial industry. This year, the survey collected responses from over 21,000 customers across different markets around the world, including Bahrain.  This ranking complements Arab Bank’s significant success record and recognizes the bank’s cash management offering in light of the digital transformation era. The ranking also reflects Arab Bank’s constant efforts in deploying the latest banking services and solutions in the industry for the corporate sector. Commenting on this achievement, Nadya Talhouni, Country Manager at Arab Bank – Bahrain, said: “This global recognition reaffirms Arab Bank’s constant efforts in providing the latest banking services to its customers across the corporate sector and others in Bahrain.” Talhouni added: “Arab Bank will continue to provide the most advanced banking solutions and services that meet the needs of its customers and provide them with an innovative banking experience in line with the latest technologies in the banking industry.”Arab Bank is one of the leading financial institutions locally and regionally in providing the latest banking solution for its customers across the different sectors. The bank recently received several international recognitions, most notably the “Best Bank in the Middle East 2022” award from New York-based Global Finance magazine for the seventh consecutive year.

Dyson brings haircare products to life in first ever 3D billboard

Dubai, UAE – Dyson has brought to life its pioneering haircare technologies via an interactive 3D billboard located in Downtown Dubai, for the first time globally.Specially designed to show the intricate and pioneering technologies within Dyson’s revolutionary haircare innovations, the digital display in Dubai will be the first 3D billboard from Dyson globally, showing the importance of the UAE market for the brand.Located above CZN Burak Restaurant on the Boulevard next to the Dubai Mall, the 3D advert will be on display until 30th November allowing for customers to experience Dyson’s haircare product ranges in virtual reality. Some of the products on display include the industry-leading Dyson Airwrap™ multi-styler, SupersonicTM hair dryer, and Corrale™ straightener, all in the limited edition Vinca Blue & Rosé colourway.The 3D billboard comes as Dyson has recently committed to investing half a billion GBP to expand and accelerate its research and technology development across its beauty portfolio, announcing plans to launch 20 new beauty products in the next four years.

Saudi Sports for All Federation signs MoU with Arab Open University

The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Arab Open University (AOU) in Riyadh to cooperate on implementing sports programs and promoting a sports culture with the common objective of building a healthy and active society. The MoU will further see the two entities work together to promote community sports and build a healthy lifestyle among university students.The MoU was signed in the presence of HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, and Dr.Ali bin Mohammed Al-Shahrani, Rector of the Arab Open University.Under the MoU, the Saudi Sports for All Federation will use AOU's sports facilities to launch initiatives, implement sports capacity development initiatives and sports groups, organize community sports events, and motivate students to participate in events organized by the SFA.Commenting on the collaboration, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, said: "The signing of the MoU forms part of our strategy to launch partnerships with several relevant entities, most notably the Arab Open University, where we will work together to promote a sports culture among students by organizing sports events and activities."He added: "Through this agreement, we will work together to organize community sports events and programs at the Arab Open University. We will also cooperate with the university in the fields of research, studies, data, and statistics to enhance our objective of attracting a large number of university students to participate in sports and physical activities. This will help achieve our strategic objectives."Dr. Ali Al-Shahrani, Rector of the Arab Open University in the Kingdom, said: "We are pleased to sign this MoU with the Saudi Sports for All Federation, through which we seek to provide an integrated educational environment for our male and female students by launching initiatives, sports events, and community programs within the university's facilities. This agreement will help promote a sports culture among our students."Al-Shahrani added: "Through this memorandum, we aim to provide multiple opportunities for people to participate in sports and physical activity in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent diseases."SFA is the main body responsible for promoting a healthy lifestyle in the Kingdom by providing opportunities for Saudi society members to participate in sports activities. The Federation will continue partnering with government entities, sports executives, sports federations, and the wider public and private sectors to achieve its objectives of promoting a healthy lifestyle.SFA focuses on four strategic priorities to increase physical activity rates: education, community, and volunteering, fitness and health, campaigns, and promotions. This strategy has been designed for women, men, youth, the elderly, and people with special needs across the Kingdom. The Federation also adopts a dynamic international networking program to introduce the brand to the sports community.The Arab Open University is a regional university located in nine Arab countries. It was founded in 1996 by HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as a non-profit institution and a non-traditional education academic entity. The institution focused on scientific, social, and cultural fields. In 2002, the academic institution partnered with the Open University in the United Kingdom and transformed into an integrated university.

Inspirational women leaders to call for a better tomorrow at 22nd WTTC GS

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced details of the many inspirational women in philanthropy, business and government who will take the stage for its upcoming Global Summit in Saudi Arabia from 28 November to 1 December.Women dominate tourism employment worldwide and the presence of such inspirational leaders in Riyadh will stimulate debate on the need for them to play a greater role in decision making and leadership in the travel and tourism sector.Today the tourism industry employs 54 per cent of women in the sector but only one in 5 of Tourism Ministers worldwide are women and they are under-represented in senior roles in many hospitality and travel companies.Among the many women leaders present at the Summit are Former British Prime Minister Theresa May.Patricia Espinosa, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Desiree Bollier Chairwoman & Chief Merchant, Value Retail, and European Union Parliament member Elena Kountoura will join them along with the Founder and Chief Executive Office of Healing Hotels, Anne Biging, and Global CEO of JLL Hotels & Hospitality, Gilda Perez Alvarado.HH Princess Haifa Al Saud, the Saudi Vice Minister of Tourism, said: “Tourism is one of the few global industries where women are the majority of the workforce. And our young women and men are not just tomorrow’s travellers, they are the chefs, entrepreneurs, inventors and leaders of tomorrow. I have no doubt that this prestigious group of women speakers will help in inspiring our youth here in the Kingdom and around the world as a key to the future of tourism.“I believe there is no other industry like tourism that has the same power to offer opportunity to young people and Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in training to ensure those opportunities become reality.”These leading women will address the world’s tourism industry leaders as they join with key government representatives to align their efforts to support the sector’s recovery and move beyond to a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable Travel & Tourism sector.

Dubai Chambers unveils plans to expand roles of business councils in Dubai

Dubai Chambers has unveiled new plans to establish new country-specific business councils operating in Dubai and expand their roles to support ongoing efforts to boost Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade and create new channels of economic cooperation between business communities in the emirate and promising markets around the world.The announcement was made by H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers, who addressed more than 150 ambassadors, consul generals and commercial attachés at the Diplomatic Circle Dinner 2022.The event was held at the Bulgari Hotel & Resort in Dubai in the presence of H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for International Trade Sector - UAE Ministry of Economy; Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers; and Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).H.E. Al Ghurair called on ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community in the UAE to offer their support in establishing several new business councils that would provide the right platforms for businesses in the UAE and abroad to connect, collaborate and build mutually beneficial partnerships.“We are putting a new comprehensive framework into place that will restructure and expand the role of business councils in Dubai to boost its foreign trade and promote cross-border business opportunities for member companies. These councils will cover markets of strategic importance to Dubai and support us as we further expand our presence across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and attract more companies and investment from these regions,” said HE Al Ghurair.H.E. Al Ghurair encouraged existing business councils to leverage Dubai International Chamber’s vast network of international offices to their benefit, operate more effectively and provide their members access to attractive growth opportunities in the UAE and abroad.He revealed that Dubai Chambers would organise a special forum in 2023 to engage members of business councils, as well as representatives from embassies, consulates and foreign trade and commercial offices operating in the UAE and invited participants to attend the event.He informed participants about important economic developments and several new initiatives and functions introduced by Dubai Chambers aligned with its new strategic priorities that aim to enhance the business environment and economic competitiveness in Dubai.In addition, he thanked members of the diplomatic community for their vital support in assisting Dubai Chambers’ events, trade delegations and other activities in 2022, including its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, which he says significantly contributed to the organisation’s success and achievements.During his special remarks, H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for International Trade Sector - UAE Ministry of Economy, elaborated on the UAE’s strategic plans to enhance the regulatory environment, open new export markets, adopt advanced technologies and ensure an ideal ecosystem for talent and entrepreneursHe stated that the UAE is building a modern economy as a global hub for trade and foreign investment in line with the government target of doubling the size of the economy from AED 1.4 trillion to AED 3 trillion by 2030. He highlighted the importance of bilateral trade deals and comprehensive economic partnership agreements signed between the UAE and leading economies in accelerating trade, strengthening supply chains, creating investment opportunities and boosting innovation.“The UAE is ready - more than ever - to do business with the world and form mutually beneficial partnerships that promise brighter, better future for all,” Al Kait said as he called on business communities from around the world to capitalise on market opportunities emerging in the country.The UAE is also attracting a new generation of foreign direct investment to accelerate our industrial innovation ambitions. We are welcoming all forms of capital – technological and financial, H.E. Al Kait said, identifying healthcare, education, agritech, food production, fintech, financial services and advanced technologies as key target sectors for FDI. He added that new residency rules applicable to golden visas and green visas, as well as upgraded laws related to commercial companies, employment and family-owned businesses will help ensure the UAE’s sustainable economic growth.The Diplomatic Circle Dinner 2022 featured a panel discussion joined by H.E. Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers; H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for International Trade Sector - UAE Ministry of Economy; Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers and Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).During the discussion, the panellists shared their valuable insights and views on a wide variety of important matters, including cost of doing business in Dubai, the role of comprehensive economic partnership agreements in driving trade and existing support for local and international companies, in addition to new plans to streamline government services for companies in the UAE and abroad that aim to enhance ease of doing business.

Ex-Colgate executive joins insect farming startup FlyFeed as advisor

Ahmed Hassan joins FlyFeed and will be in charge of product development, customer relations and growth strategy to help offer pet food producers insect protein products that best meet their needs and requirements.FlyFeed, an international insect farming tech startup, announces the newest addition to its advisory board: Ahmed Hassan. The former General Manager of several subsidiaries at Colgate-Palmolive joined the company in a personal capacity to help optimize product development to the needs of feed producers, including pet food companies, as well as build the customer network in this market and assist with company-wide scaling.FlyFeed is actively expanding to the pet food market with plans to start supplying pet food companies with commercial products by 2023.Ahmed has more than 30 years of experience in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), including working as general manager on several continents for Colgate-Palmolive and leading Hills Pet Nutrition’s regional division for six years. He also holds senior advisory and board roles advising startups, SMEs and established companies on strategy, brand positioning, marketing, organization, supply chain and expansion.“I believe in the importance of innovation, sustainability and high-value nutrition for pets’ well-being. FlyFeed scores extremely high on these factors, which makes it exciting to partner with a company whose vision and values match my own. The 115 billion-dollar pet food market has huge potential for insect farming companies. With a targeted approach, I believe FlyFeed has all the prerequisites to become a market leader within several years,” says Ahmed Hassan.Ahmed will be responsible for overseeing product development and building customer relations with pet food producing companies. He will also advise on the company's strategy and key hires to speed up and enhance the overall scaling process.“One of FlyFeed's main priorities is to be close to our clients, learning together with them and deeply understanding their real needs. Having run a large-scale pet food business, Ahmed has unmatched market knowledge and insight into our clients' businesses. Together, we'll bring FlyFeed's relations with the pet food industry to a new level, unleashing the potential of insect products for the benefit of pets' health,” says Arseniy Olkhovskiy, CEO & Founder of FlyFeed.World compound feed production is estimated at over one billion tonnes annually. Global commercial feed manufacturing generates an estimated annual turnover of more than $400 billion. The global pet food market is projected to grow from $115.50 billion in 2022 to $163.70 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.11%. With Ahmed’s participation, FlyFeed is planning to revolutionize the pet food industry by offering the most affordable and nutritious insect protein to all major pet food producers.

Bahrain’s real estate transaction volumes & economic growth projections improve

 With Bahrain experiencing its fastest GDP growth rate in over a decade, real estate transaction volumes have improved in Q3 reaching a total of 5,482. This was underpinned by 2,431 recorded transactions in August, making it Bahrain’s second most successful month since 2018.Looking at Bahrain’s office sector, the flight to quality has continued, with the Kingdom’s landmark and newer office buildings recording the highest occupancy rates of those tracked by CBRE in Q3 2022. Leading Grade A buildings are providing competitive rates and flexible solutions to attract tenants. In addition, we have witnessed occupier space requirements decreasing by an average of 11% in 2022 compared to 2019. Nevertheless, we have observed a rebound in occupier demand, with a 27% increase in the number of enquiries in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021.In the residential sector, both quoted average apartment sales and rental rates witnessed only marginal changes from Q2 to Q3 2022, with sales rates increasing by 1.3% and rental rates falling by -1.6%. The biggest variation, at -5.9%, was seen in apartment rents in the Capital Governorate, with growing supply likely placing downward pressure on rental rates. In terms of villas, Q3 saw a slight decrease in average quoted sales rates at -0.3%. Conversely, quoted rental rates increased by 4.1%. This can mostly be attributed to increases in the Muharraq and Capital Governorates, with rates regulating after witnessing a slump in Q2.Preferences on residence location have seen a shift over the past year. Heather Longden, Director - Advisory & Transactions, at CBRE in Bahrain comments: “A CBRE poll on consumer preferences found that 60% of people in Bahrain now prefer to live near work, compared to 40% preferring to live near leisure destinations. This contrasts with last year’s overwhelming majority of 80% of people preferring to live near lifestyle-related facilities. This shift appears to corresponds with organisational directives pushing for employees to return to the office, rather than working from home, as well as the traffic issues experienced across the country during rush hours.’’Within the hospitality sector, data found that international arrivals, inbound tourism flows, and total overnight stays all sit higher than the same period in 2019, with inbound tourism receipts totalling 46% more than pre-pandemic figures. The pandemic also led to an increase in residents considering staycations. Our Bahrain poll found that 71% of respondents prefer affordable hotels when planning a staycation. In terms of Hospitality KPIs, STR data for the end of Q3 shows that hotel occupancy in Manama is up six percentage points compared to year end 2021, and three percentage points compared to Q2. Similarly, compared to 2021, RevPAR has increased by 37.1% and ADR by 22.0%, with the latter reaching the highest rate since 2016.In the retail sector, we have observed a relatively even split between demand for larger destination malls offering more retail variety, and smaller community and neighbourhood retail that require shorter travel time. When considering convenience, however, we have also found that the majority of consumers in Bahrain prefer drive-thru over dine-in F&B options, at 60% and 40% respectively. This is demonstrated by the growing number of drive-thru units being constructed by investors and developers, and the continued expansion of fast food and coffee shop operators. In terms of footfall, data shows that retail and recreation visitation in September 2022 increased by 1.3% compared to its pre-Covid baseline. However, visitation for the whole of Q3 was -0.6% below the baseline, which can likely be attributed to a large portion of the Bahrain population travelling during the summer months.

UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX celebrates 10 years of digital ecosystem

DE-CIX, the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator and du/datamena celebrate this week the 10th anniversary of the first and foremost data centre and carrier-neutral IX in the Middle East, UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX in Dubai. Established in 2012, the Exchange has experienced consistent double-digit annual growth, and in 2022 alone has enjoyed more than 30% growth in data traffic and 50% growth in connected capacity, bringing the platform to 3 terabits. It now interconnects close to 100 customers, comprising a mix of global enterprises, carriers, cloud, content providers, and emerging technology platforms, alongside banking and financial services companies, making it home to the largest data center and carrier-neutral interconnection ecosystem in the Middle East. In addition, the initiative to create a Union of Internet Exchanges in the UAE, led by the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), has recently been completed. Interconnecting UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX with Etisalat by e&’s SmartHub IX, this initiative breaks new ground as the first collaboration of its kind ever to be undertaken in the Middle East, creating the best-ever connectivity reach in the region. The digital pearl of the GCC“The ecosystem around the UAE-IX which has been created in Dubai and the UAE over the past 10 years is a unique and marvelous real-life example of how a global Internet hub can be established, and how, in turn, it can begin a cycle of success that will benefit the surrounding countries, economies, and users. This approach to development sets the stage for undreamt-of investments and quality improvements for Internet experience and digital services for both businesses and consumers. The UAE-IX today stands as a global Internet hub, bringing together the network operators, content, applications, and cloud services to serve the entire GCC region with resilient and low latency connectivity,” commented Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX during the celebrations yesterday. “I would like to thank our partner du/datamena and the TDRA for the excellent collaboration over the past decade in bringing the UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX to life as the heart of an international Internet hub, and look forward to a bright future working together for the next decade of digital development. Beyond that, I am delighted that we are now able to offer UAE-IX customers the opportunity to connect in a cost-effective and low latency way with customers on SmartHub IX. This agreement will revolutionize connectivity in the Middle Eastern region and lead the way in creating a more integrated connectivity landscape, solidifying Dubai’s standing as the digital pearl of the GCC.” Over the last decade, Dubai has become recognized as an international Internet hub. With high-quality digital infrastructure, stable and cost-effective power, and a stable regulatory environment, the UAE has been able to attract more networks than anywhere else in the GCC. While in 2012, 90% of data traffic that should have been exchanged locally needed to leave the GCC region to be exchanged in Europe, ten years later, the reverse is the case: in 2022, 90% of local data is exchanged locally, resulting in a vast improvement in the latency (response time) of connections and the performance of applications. Together with the UAE’s 50-year plan, Dubai’s ambitions to transform into a smart city, and Abu Dhabi’s Ghadan 21 program striving towards a knowledge-based economy, this has resulted in the UAE ranked 12th on the IMD World Competitive Ranking, and Dubai becoming a center of attraction for international investment and global corporations. Extending reach to new communities Furthermore, the UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX and Etisalat by e&’s SmartHub IX, in an initiative led by the TDRA, have just implemented a trailblazing collaboration to connect the two leading interconnection platforms in the United Arab Emirates to create a Union of Internet Exchanges. The initiative involves DE-CIX, with its partner du/datamena, and Etisalat by e&, along with the support of the regulator in the UAE, the TDRA. The interconnection of the two platforms enables all connected customers, regardless of provider, the opportunity to interconnect with each other cost-effectively – this is the first collaboration of its kind in the entire Middle East. Services available include peering, and enterprise interconnection services like DE-CIX Cloud Exchange and direct interconnection with the Microsoft 365 software as a service clouds (MAPS – Microsoft Azure Peering Service), as well as access to the DE-CIX global ecosystem via DE-CIX Marseille. Commenting on this step, H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, TDRA Director General, said: “Our national journey, since the union in 1971, has reflected the meanings of integration and unity of efforts to achieve major goals. Today, we celebrate an achievement that bears these meanings and puts them in their rightful place within the process of future shaping. This initiative is an embodiment of the wise leadership directives towards enhancing interconnection and integration to serve the objectives of attracting investments, providing the best customer experience while maintaining data security and improving response time. All this will lead to advancing the process of transformation towards a comprehensive and integrated digital lifestyle.”E. Al Mesmar added: “We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the achievement of the initiative “Unition of Internet Exchanges”, particularly Emirates Telecommunications Group Company (Etisalat by e&), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), and all other parties involved in this project. We appreciate their cooperation to overcome challenges and achieve this goal, which will make the UAE a hub for interconnection at the regional level. The parties worked together for a long time before reaching this result, and today we are reaping the fruits of this effort, which reflects the correctness of our bet on the ICT sector to create a prosperous future in light of the major digital transformations.”  On the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebrations and the announcement of the Union of Internet Exchanges, Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of EITC, said: “We congratulate DE-CIX on the past 10 years of operations of the UAE-IX. Seamless and reliable communication is an essential pillar for modern organizations that seek to keep pace with the requirements of the digital future. Therefore, providing enhanced communication capabilities supported by an interconnection ecosystem that meets the requirements of organizations is the main driver of our new partnership with DE-CIX and Etisalat. As part of this partnership, we will harness the world-class capabilities of our datamena center to create and design hybrid environments for ICT systems. Our interconnection services and solutions that we will provide under this partnership will enhance the capabilities and quality of modern communication technologies, enabling our partners and all stakeholders to establish direct and secure communications and link their operations across multiple sites, as well as achieve savings in time and costs.” Sudhir Kunder, Country Director, DE-CIX India said, “The steady growth of UAE-IX reflects the opportunities in the interconnection ecosystem. I would congratulate the team of UAE-IX for achieving the milestone and building world-class infrastructure to address the evolving requirements of enterprises.” Accelerating growth of international digital hubUAE-IX powered by DE-CIX is the first carrier and data center neutral Internet Exchange for the Middle East. It has experienced in excess of 30% growth in 2022 and more than 180% since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, reflecting the platform’s criticality for the digital economy and digital welfare of the region. As an example of this criticality, in 2020, UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX was able to provide seamless support for the government’s 400% upgrade of their connectivity to Microsoft to support the migration of all 1.1 million pupils in the UAE to home-schooling in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE-IX’s cutting-edge technical set-up, based on the multi-award-winning DE-CIX Apollon platform, enables hyper-scalability and Cloud Exchange features alongside its global peering services. Connected customers can reach 50+ cloud providers, from specialist niche providers to global hyperscalers.To know more visit

91% of consumers across MENA made purchases on eComm in 2022:

DUBAI, UAE — releases the second phase of its Digital Transformation in MENA 2022 report. Following the launch of part one last month – which included insights from 15,000 consumers in the region – the next chapter interviews businesses and their leaders at the forefront of the rapidly growing digital economy.Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, VP of Commercial, MENA at said, “If our nearly ten years in the region have taught us one thing, it is that it’s impossible to underestimate the potential, drive and dynamism which exists in this diverse and rapidly changing region. It will be increasingly important on the global stage.”Retail sector rides the digital waveData from the report shows that 91% of consumers across MENA bought products online in the past year, with fashion and clothing making up 46% of all online purchases in the region. 1 in 5 consumers across MENA purchase retail products online more frequently than last year, with 33% shopping more frequently for fashion and clothing online. This points to a rapidly developing digital ecosystem that allows government agencies, established companies and start-ups to flourish, observed Paul Carey, Executive Vice President of Cards & Payments, Al-Futtaim Group. “This is particularly evident in payments, where governments have set up regulatory sandbox infrastructure and made it easier for businesses in the region with more flexible visa options and commercial licensing,” he added.Food & beverage overcome historical resistance to digital  While the pandemic forced consumers to stay away from their favourite eateries, it opened MENA’s appetite for home delivery services.’s data shows that in 2022, local consumers are ordering meals online more frequently than ever. Over half (53%) of MENA consumers purchased food online in the past year, with 42% of MENA consumers saying they are buying food online more frequently this year than in 2021.The online food ordering sector has numerous moving parts that need to come together in each transaction, from the restaurants to drivers and aggregators to payment providers. Close collaboration is therefore vital for the many stakeholders, noted Ramzi Alqrainy, Chief Technology Officer at The Chefz, a leading Saudi-based food delivery app. “Collaboration allows us to innovate effectively and to reach and serve society in its most inclusive sense. These days, one provider doesn’t need to manage all aspects of a consumer experience from A to Z. We all need to work together. This is the death of ownership,” said Alqrainy.Travel and entertainment: navigating digital in the experience economy While a drop in travel and live entertainment sales was inevitable in 2020, the survey shows that the sector is regaining its momentum and is making its presence in the digital economy felt as it continues to grow.According to’s findings, 20% of consumers in MENA purchased entertainment services online in the past year, with 14% reporting purchasing them more frequently now than in 2021. Moreover, 32% shopped for travel services online in the past year, with 21% of consumers reporting buying them more often now than in 2021Alexandre Morin, Director of Payments - Risk and Fintech, Wego, the region’s biggest travel marketplace, said: “MENA has become a priority market for many of the world’s tourism boards as it’s a reliable source of long-stay visitors with excellent spending power.”The relentless growth of fintechThe survey shows that remittance apps remain the most widely utilised form of fintech in MENA, but as other products increase, so does adoption. The report found that 82% of consumers in MENA use some form of fintech app in 2022, up from 76% in 2021. Innovation has been underpinned by solutions such as Visa’s Account Funding Transactions (AFTs) which pull funds from an account and for use on a pre-paid card, top up a wallet, or fund a person-to-person (P2P) money transfer. “The secure, reliable, and fast movement of digital money between individuals, businesses and governments is the engine powering today’s global economy”, said Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for GCC, Visa.Meanwhile, half of the consumers in markets such as KSA and UAE used Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) options this year and as many as 67% across MENA indicated they may use it in 2023. In crypto, 55% of 18–35-year-olds in UAE and KSA would like to be able to pay for goods and services in crypto or stablecoins in the next 12 months. “Previously, retailers viewed BNPL as just another payment method and often compared BNPL services to other payment providers, resulting in downward pressure on rates. However, we see retailers increasingly focusing on overall growth, including marketing, customer experience and product maturity. As a result, we see a win-win, sustainable partnership model.,” said Sargun Bawa, VP of Growth at Tamara, the homegrown BNPL platform.

IHG Hotels & Resorts picks Sayed Tayoun as General Manager for Dubai business

Dubai - IHG Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce the appointment of veteran hotelier Sayed Tayoun as General Manager of Holiday Inn & Suites Dubai Science Park.With more than twenty years’ experience in hospitality operations & commercial leadership in the region, Sayed has been leading and inspiring teams across different IHG brands to excel in operational standards & achieve rooms, F&B & other revenues streams at optimum profitability. A Graduate with BA in Hospitality Management from Notre Dame University in Lebanon, an achiever in online career enhancement programs from Cornell University and Harvard Business School. His remarkable career in IHG began back in 2005 at InterContinental Doha, climbing up the ranks to become Director of Sales & Marketing in InterContinental Abu Dhabi in 2010, then leading the commercial functions for IHG Hotels in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and later with IHG Hotels at Dubai Festival City in 2016. Most recently, he was named the Cluster Hotel Manager of the InterContinental Hotels at Dubai Festival City, where he led operations for the multi-branded complex of over 1,598 rooms, 10,000 square meters of events space, and 11 award-winning F&B outlets; introduced new F&B concepts in the business; and initiated more than 20 key projects to enhance the guest experience and drive revenues.  In his new position as General Manager of Holiday Inn & Suites at Dubai Science Park, Sayed is driven by his passion for people and support for the local community, as well as his ambition to successfully launch a pioneering green hotel that supports responsible hospitality. Together with his leadership team, he is pouring his considerable energies towards bringing IHG Hotels & Resorts’ “Journey to Sustainability” to life in Holiday Inn & Suites Dubai Science Park through a variety of channels such as a no single-use plastic policy, an in-house water bottling plant, and digital amenities to reduce the use of paper in all the guest rooms, suites and apartments.  Built inside the hotel, the water bottling plant, for example, reduces the consumption of at least 1,500 plastic bottles a day by producing glass bottled water instead. The bottling plant has a 3,400-liter capacity, generating 80 liters per hour of cold still water, ambient still water, and sparkling water. “With travel bouncing back, it’s important that people have options for accommodations that help them reduce their carbon footprint. Many hotels have already begun by limiting the use of single-use plastics, and our hotel in particular, has implemented the use of eco-friendly products from eco bags, plantable seed pens, pencils & notebooks and biodegradable vanity kits as a replacement to traditional plastic toiletries, but we want to go an even bigger step further with pioneering innovations like our water bottling plant. In this way, we provide our signature hospitality and service to our guests while being environmentally responsible,” Sayed shared. “Our vision is for Holiday Inn & Suites Dubai Science Park is to become one of the city’s most vibrant communal hubs. It is important for our guests, both local and international, to feel a sense of place and familiarity when they stay with us. Our aim is to support the local community by providing a place where people come together for business, social or leisure. We also plan to offer unique experiences that encourage local exploration and support local businesses and attractions,” Sayed adds.  Aside from championing responsible hospitality and supporting the community, Sayed is also a firm advocate of diversity and equality. A polyglot who can speak fluent Arabic, English and French, and with his passion for history and travel, Sayed believes that diversity enriches the workplace and helps to deliver true hospitality to guests of the hotel.  To this end, he has worked to champion diversity and inclusivity in the workplace including improving the hotel’s Emiratization program; implementing a flexible schedule for working mothers in the hotel; and ensuring gender equality amongst the employees of Holiday Inn & Suites Dubai Science Park, with a diverse number of nationalities, and is still opening its doors for more. Holiday Inn & Suites will soon be opening its doors at the Dubai Science Park, a thriving community that fosters development in the medical, wellness, pharma, and technology sectors while being ideally located near Dubai’s beaches, golf courses and malls.  The hotel features a sleek and brand-transforming public space design which will allow the guests to meet, relax and socialize, as well as 324 guestrooms, suites and one-bedroom apartments conceptualized to optimize guest comfort. Integrating a modern approach, all hotel rooms, suites and apartments include features such as a Digital TouchPad panel and a Bluetooth speaker with wireless charging. Upper-scale one-bedroom suites will also be equipped with a built-in kitchenette, cookware and flatware, washer and dryer – facilities that are quintessential to long-staying guests. The?hotel also includes?seven?ultra-modern?collapsible?events and conference space and an extensive upper mid-scale ballroom, all equipped with modern technology, which can accommodate over 340 guests. For recreation, the hotel will have a fully equipped fitness center, an outdoor pool and a sizeable activity space. When it comes to food and beverage offerings, Holiday Inn & Suites at Dubai Science Park offers a variety of exciting choices to suit every taste. The hotel will have a sleek pool bar; Kitchen25, a restaurant serving international cuisine; and Café Verde, a café that will feature smart, communal working spaces. This fulfills the hotel’s brand promise of providing a space to support startup companies, entrepreneurs and “digital nomads” or remote-working professionals. The hotel will also be home to McGettigan’s - the famous Irish pub, which is set to be the new hotspot in the neighborhood for dining and drinks, with its unrivalled Irish hospitality and entertainment and al fresco seating. All this with the comfort and services they have come to know and love at Holiday Inn including the brand’s signature “Kids Stay and Eat Free” program. Complemented by memorable, warm and friendly service, Holiday Inn & Suites Dubai Science Park will be the perfect destination for both business and leisure travelers, as well as residents within the community.

Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council, Kyrgyz Republic to support women entrepreneurs

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council received a delegation from the Women’s League of Central Asia (Kyrgyz Republic) to promote the development and diversification of economic and bilateral partnerships between women entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan and the United Arab Emirates.The meeting was attended by Her Excellency Asma Al Fahim, Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council; H.E. Noor Al Tamimi, member of the Abu Dhabi Business Women Council, among other representatives of Abu Dhabi’s private sector.The delegation from Kyrgyzstan included Mr. Marat Sharshekeev, President of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic; Mrs. Elmira Bataeva, Vice President of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic; Asel Atabekova, Chairman of the Public Foundation "Women's League of Central Asia", among other representatives of the private sector of Kyrgyzstan.Her Excellency Asma Al Fahim, Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council, said: “We are proud of the strong and solid relations between the UAE and the Kyrgyz Republic. The two countries have signed different agreements that support economic cooperation and attract investments. We would like to build on these strong relations by working together and exchanging knowledge and expertise to explore opportunities that establish the position of female entrepreneurs as major contributors to the economic growth.”“We are pleased to join hands today to enhance the contribution of female entrepreneurs to the trade exchange between the UAE and the Kyrgyz Republic, and get hold of key trade exchange and investment opportunities in a wide range of industries, including education, culture, and tourism, among others,” Her Excellency added.Asel Atabekova, Chairman of the Women's League of Central Asia, said: “Female entrepreneurs play a key role in growing the economy of Kyrgyzstan. The activities of the Women's League of Kyrgyzstan supports women in promoting their ideas and projects, and assists them in the implementation of various projects. We have had very interesting and promising conversations with Abu Dhabi’s female entrepreneurs, centred on expanding our presence in the region and exchanging knowledge and expertise to support different industries in Abu Dhabi and Kyrgyzstan. We hope that these discussions bring about successful joint projects.”The meeting included presentations about prospects of cooperation, in the light, tourism, food production, construction, and creative industries, and the benefits of investing in Abu Dhabi. By the end of the meeting, female entrepreneurs had a networking session to explore new investment opportunities for the benefit of both sides.

EITC partners with CDA; gives Dubai citizens to enjoy the FIFA WC 2022

Dubai, UAE: du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has partnered with Community Development Authority (CDA) to give Dubai citizens the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the World Cup throughout the days of the tournament. The company revealed that it will provide broadcasting of all matches in the Dubai Majlis that are supervised by CDA, allowing the residents of the neighborhoods to watch them in an enthusiastic atmosphere and enjoy the encouragement of their favorite teams.Huraiz Al-Murr bin Huraiz, CEO Social Care and Development Sector CDA said : “Partnerships between the public and private sectors contribute to enhancing the happiness of community members and improving the quality of their lives at all levels. The World Cup is an important season for football fans around the world, especially for young people to support their favorite teams and enjoy the enthusiastic atmosphere of the game, which greatly intersects with the objectives of Dubai Majlises that work to attract the residents of the neighborhoods to enjoy their time and communicate positively.”Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO at du said: “To strengthen engagement with local communities, we must continue to scale efforts that create a culture of inclusivity, just as the Football World Cup brings people from all backgrounds together to enjoy a season of sports and festivities. Our long-standing collaboration with the CDA aims to expand and diversify ways to interact and engage with the community as highlighted in du’s comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework.”The CDA is in charge for the overall supervision to achieve social sector outputs and the goals outlined in the Dubai Strategic Plans, as well as create an integrated and efficient management system for the development of social services in Dubai. du’s long-standing association with the CDA is aligned with its commitment to boost community engagement as one of the key pillars of the telco’s CSR agenda.

Capgemini Egypt appoints Hossam Seifeldin as CEO

Cairo – Capgemini announces the appointment of Hossam Seifeldin as CEO Capgemini in Egypt. In this role Hossam is responsible for building and growing the Group’s newest Global Delivery Center team of experts that serves global clients with a focus on Europe and the Middle East region. Capgemini’s Global Delivery Center in Egypt has been set up to meet growing client demand for its offerings in Cloud Infrastructure Services, Intelligent Operations, Engineering, Research and Development, and Data and Artificial Intelligence. Through its network of Global Delivery Centers, - now including Egypt, Capgemini provides large organizations with 24/7, multi-lingual business and transformation services. Thanks to its time zone, the new Egypt Global Delivery Center is ideally placed to provide services to clients across Europe and the Middle East.“After spending a number of years working in the region Hossam is returning to his homeland of Egypt to establish and grow Capgemini’s first delivery center in the country,” comments Aiman Ezzat, CEO of the Capgemini Group. “He is an accomplished business leader and technologist, with a strong track record in building and leading new organizations as well as ensuring delivery excellence. I am delighted to welcome Hossam to the Group and wish him every success in his new role.” “In leading Capgemini’s newest Global Delivery Center, I will combine the skills that I have accumulated over the years in serving global clients, as well as building and shaping new business units and teams founded on trust and an inclusive culture,” said Hossam Seifeldin. “The work that we are undertaking for clients spans the fast-evolving fields of cloud, data and AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering, and platforms. The rich talent pool in Egypt has a well-matched skill set. I am really looking forward to growing our portfolio of services and welcoming new team members to Capgemini, from graduates and developers through to data scientists and engineers.”Prior to joining Capgemini, Hossam worked for 27 years in IBM where he held several leadership positions across the different business units and geographies. In 2013 he was appointed as the Middle East & Africa (MEA) Vice President, where he led the IBM Transformation across MEA and delivered strong performance across the different metrics. He also led the Operations, Transformation and Strategy since 2008 whereby he developed and executed the Operational and Strategic operating model across MEA. In addition, he has held several leadership roles on top of his VP responsibilities: General Manager for Saudi, Gulf, and Pakistan from 2019 till end of 2021 and General Manager Africa from 2014 to 2016. Hossam started his career in IBM Egypt in 1996 as a Systems Engineer.Hossam is passionate about building new business units and creating inclusive culture with trust, teamwork and speed with execution at the center.He holds a B.Sc. in Engineering from Ain Shams University in Cairo and a Diploma in Management from Henley University (UK). He is also certified board director from International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group.

Etihad Airways to stream all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches live

Football fans flying with Etihad Airways during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ can watch every match live onboard while in the air on Etihad’s E-BOX entertainment channels Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra. The live TV service is available onboard the airline’s fleet of wide-body aircraft connecting destinations in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and Africa with its hub in Abu Dhabi. Guests looking to maximise their experience can visit to view full match schedules. To support the large influx of travellers to the region, Etihad Airways has increased flight capacity to Qatar, and is operating six daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Doha until 18 December 2022. “Showing live football matches is an extension of Etihad’s extensive live tv programming and inflight entertainment. Many football fans from across the world will be flying to the region for the first time, and we look forward to extending our renowned Arabian hospitality to these guests” said Terry Daly, Executive Director Guest Experience, Brand and Marketing, Etihad Airways. As well as the live football, Etihad’s guests can also stream other international sporting events such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). Etihad’s E-BOX also features live global news channels and the latest movies from Hollywood, Bollywood and more. Etihad Airways has been awarded the 2022 Passenger Choice Award for Best Entertainment in the Middle East by The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). APEX once again partnered with TripIt® from Concur®, the world’s highest-rated travel-organising app, to gather anonymous passenger feedback based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights for the honour. For the 2022 Awards, nearly one million flights were rated by passengers across more than 600 airlines from around the world using a five-star scale. On the same screen, passengers were given the opportunity to provide anonymous ratings in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. The single screen rating allows airline passengers to easily rate their flight in less than 15 seconds.

Orange supports MENA ICT Forum and SOFEX 2022

Orange Jordan concluded its participation in two of the leading events that took place in the kingdom, by sponsoring and taking part in the MENA ICT Forum in the Dead Sea and SOFEX 2022 in Aqaba, both held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II.As a responsible digital leader seeking to develop the digital sector and support entrepreneurship, Orange was the telecom sponsor of the MENA ICT forum and presented its digital solutions such as Orange jood, Orange Money, and Smart Life Solutions, as well as the 5G Lab, prototypes created by the FabLab graduates, and a booth for its accelerator BIG season 9 startups including Kader, JordiLight, Smart Green, Kaleela and Smart Face. Digital, Data, Innovation and Money Chief Officer at Orange Jordan, Wilfried Yver, participated in a session on unlocking the power of the data universe where he stated that the world is living in a new era of data that provides opportunities and enables leaps across organizations, noting the importance of realizing the speed of data expansion.Innovation Space, a project co-funded with the European Union, was also present at the forum’s startup village, as the project continues to expand free digital programs to develop digital skills, especially among women and youth, and support entrepreneurship by defining great opportunities that can drive growth in the national economy.Moreover, Orange Jordan sponsored SOFEX 2022, a leading event for developments in security solutions. During the event, Orange showcased its solutions in two booths, the first comprising various solutions for security, energy efficiency, services in partnership with Fortinet, a leader in cybersecurity, Orange Money mobile wallet for secure financial transactions, and the fastest internet that won the Speed Checker award.In another booth at SOFEX, Orange Jordan showcased enterprise solutions including Trismart solutions for integrated systems, security solutions, customer experience, and the Balador app that brings together public and private sectors in one platform.Orange seized the opportunity of SOFEX, attended by 300 exhibitors from 38 countries, 75 delegations, and 300 VIPs including leaders and security experts from across the world, to feature 2 startups from BIG by Orange: ION, the biggest platform for electric cars charging stations, and JordiLight which offers a flexible flashlight named one of the Best Inventions 2022 by Time Magazine. Orange Jordan affirmed its keenness to support and be part of leading national events that promote the kingdom and provide a platform to exchange insights and opportunities that will contribute to the ICT sector, adding that it continues to serve as an active partner supporting businesses across sectors in digital transformation and growth.

KEZAD Group breaks ground on UAE’s largest e-commerce fulfilment centre

 Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – KEZAD Group, the integrated trade, logistics, and industrial hub of Abu Dhabi and a fully-owned subsidiary of AD Ports Group, and, the Middle East’s leading online shopping destination, today broke ground on the UAE’s largest fulfilment centre in Abu Dhabi, which will form part of an anchor investment by noon into the emirate’s fast-growing e-commerce space.The 252,000 square metre fulfilment centre facility is being designed and developed by KEZAD Group under a Build-to-Suit agreement and is scheduled for delivery in 2024. With the introduction of new automation technologies for storage, material movement, and sorting, the facility will enable rapid delivery of products to millions of noon customers throughout the UAE and will bolster the local economy with the creation of several thousand new jobs.The UAE’s e-commerce market has grown exponentially in recent years, with customers increasingly moving toward the variety, convenience, and price benefits of online shopping. With managing inventory efficiently and cost-effectively being critical to meeting the spike in online consumer demand, fulfilment centres not only offer scalable warehousing opportunities, but provide speed and quality control across the entire value chain, from order picking and processing to packaging and shipping.Mohamed Al Abbar, Founder of noon, said: “More than 5,000 small businesses will use our fulfillment center to store their goods and conduct business. This will allow our youth and small businesses to connect with the growing number of e-commerce customers without having to invest in technology or real estate.“I'm especially proud that this facility, built with our partners Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and KEZAD Group, will create thousands of jobs in Abu Dhabi and will accelerate the digital penetration of core sectors such as retail and logistics. This is not your typical real estate project—technology infrastructure projects of this scale are change agents for the future, not just for our company, but also for our community and country.”Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and CEO of AD Ports Group, said: “Under the guidance of our wise leadership, AD Ports Group is committed to positioning Abu Dhabi as a global hub for trade through the development of an integrated and future-ready industrial ecosystem within KEZAD. The state-of-the-art noon fulfilment centre perfectly aligns with this mission and represents an important milestone in our collective journey to enable the rapid expansion of e-commerce and same-day delivery models in the region. The facility will bring significant economic benefits with the creation of thousands of jobs and will offer newopportunities for the private sector looking to reach customers across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.”While noon already has a facility with KEZAD, it has decided to expand its operations to a larger area by utilizing KEZAD Group’s Build-to-Suit solution, which will facilitate the design and delivery of noon’s turnkey facility. The development has been tailor-made to meet the company’s specific operational requirements, helping to reduce costs, boost productivity and offer essential supply chain efficiencies. Additionally, the completed facility will be a sustainable building conforming to Estidama 2 Pearl rating which incorporates initiatives to enable water, energy and waste minimisation.By leveraging the innovative development solution, the noon fulfilment centre will be delivered by KEZAD Group on a fast-track basis to the end users’ exact specifications. This approach offers a very strong option for businesses seeking an asset light approach while still retaining full control of their operations and standards.The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is also providing noon with financial and non-financial incentives as part of the continued expansion of Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem.Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General, ADIO, said: “Abu Dhabi’s e-commerce sector has taken another step forward with work commencing on the country’s largest fulfilment centre. ADIO congratulates noon and KEZAD Group on reaching this important milestone in rapid time and looks forward to working closely with our partners through the next phase of their growth and expansion.”Noon’s new Abu Dhabi operations further strengthen e-commerce as an emerging sub-sector within the emirate’s ICT cluster. It will enable entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs to leverage noon’s platform, advanced technology and expansive delivery networks to reach new customers. Noon will operate in line with Abu Dhabi’s e-commerce policy launched in August 2021 to unlock investment opportunities in the emirate.

Mazen Fahad Al Bunyan appointed as CEO Standard Chartered Bank, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Standard Chartered Bank announced the appointment of Mazen Fahad Al Bunyan as Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, effective November 2022.Prior to joining Standard Chartered Bank, Mazen was the CEO of Alawwal Invest Company, the investment subsidiary of The Saudi British Bank (SABB/HSBC) based in Riyadh, where he led the integration of Alawwal Invest with SABB/HSBC Saudi Arabia. Prior to that, he held various leadership positions including Co-Head of Global Banking within SABB/HSBC Riyadh as well as Vice President of Corporate Banking Coverage for KSA and Kuwait at Deutsche Bank.Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia launched its operations in Riyadh in June 2021, providing banking services to sovereign and government related entities, large corporates, financial institutions and multinational companies operating in the Kingdom. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Boutros Klink, CEO Standard Chartered Middle East (ex UAE) said “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mazen Bunyan as Country CEO for Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia. Mazen brings deep regional experience, and strong track record. In his new role as CEO, Mazen will oversee the operations of Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, and will lead the Bank’s expansion in the market, strengthen our client base, expand our products and services offering, and solidify our network in support of the Kingdoms growth ambitions.”Standard Chartered Bank operates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia entity licensed by the Saudi Central Bank and its Standard Chartered Capital Saudi Arabia entity licensed by the Capital Market Authority.

BroadcastPro ME recognizes Intigral’s CEO as the OTT Executive of the Year 2022

Intigral’s CEO, Markus Golder was the recipient of one the top accolades at this year’s BroadcastPro ME Summit, ‘The OTT Executive of the Year, 2022’ award.The luxurious awards gala, attended by over 230 industry innovators and change-makers, celebrated a year of achievements, that culminated in the 12th edition of the BroadcastPro Summit that brought together the best minds in the industry to collaborate, refine and inspire the way forward to unlock the full growth potential within the sector throughout the GCC. Golder, one of the featured panelists at the summit, expressed his enthusiasm for receiving the prestigious accolade: “I am deeply honored to be recognized as this year’s OTT Executive of the Year. This award represents the hard work and dedication shown by all Intigral’s team members who came together during a very challenging yet exciting period to achieve this fantastic accolade. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in our endeavors to enhance the digital entertainment industry, guided by our customer-centric approach and embedded in the wonderfully unique Arabic culture.”Intigral took part as the ‘Strategic Partner’ in this year’s summit that brought together the stalwarts of the industry as well as promising new entrants to discuss and analyze current trends, share their experiences, and offer insights that will ultimately shape the future of the digital entertainment sector. The company has achieved significant success, as seen by its sweeping expansion into eight major markets in the region with its premium OTT platform Jawwy TV.Setting the stage for more exciting developments to come, Intigral has leveraged the vast digital nationwide transformation driven by Saudi Vision 2030 to deliver a seamless and personalized experience to its subscribers. The Jawwy TV platform has delighted viewers across the MENA region with its super aggregator strategy to curate high-quality content through partnerships with globally renowned providers such as MBC, OSN, STARZPLAY, Wide Khaliji, Shahid, and Discovery, offering customers access to over 200 Live TV channels and more than 28,000 Video on Demand (VoD) Arabic and Western titles.As one of the few companies in the region capable of delivering the latest advancements in streaming technology, Intigral has emerged as a leading challenger brand in the industry, captivating audiences and enabling them to access the Jawwy TV platform anywhere, on any device and all in one place.

Museum of the Future hosts mind-body medicine advocate Deepak Chopra

Dr. Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation, delivered a lecture at the Museum of the Future on Monday 21 November as part of the ‘Future Talks’ series. Helping people to unlock the power of meditation and work towards unleashing their true selves, Dr. Chopra took the audience on an experiential journey of inner discovery and enlightenment.The talk is part of the museum’s efforts to amplify the message that mental well-being, wellness, and happiness are important points of focus in the digital age. It builds on the Museum of the Future’s endeavours to provide experiences, such as the Al Waha exhibit, that encourage people to detach from technology and connect with their inner selves.During the lecture, Deepak highlighted the significance of joy as the most important measure of success and well-being, noting the need to harness technology in societies to create a critical mass of consciousness in the world, for a more peaceful, sustainable, healthy, and joyful world.Deepak also stressed the importance of having a leader with a proactive vision in anticipating and shaping the future. He said: "Dubai is very lucky to be blessed with visionary leadership that unites various components of society and creates a diverse social and economic system, strong enough to face any future challenge."Future Talks‘Future Talks’ supports the museum’s objective to provide a space where great minds come together to design and shape the future. It champions a knowledge-and technology-based movement in the region, bringing together people - from all around - to harness and channel their creative energies to create a better future for our communities.The series of talks have covered many topics such as humanity’s relation to robots, Dubai’s role in investing in the future, the future of mixed reality, the state of sciences and the Arab world, the future of mobility, the role of the metaverse as well as, the future of finance and technology. ‘Future Talks’ reflect the museum’s role as a global intellectual centre that brings together international partners and specialised research institutions to study current and future challenges to provide new and innovative solutions.The Museum of the Future has hosted seven leading experts, who have delivered sessions to nearly 2,500 members of the public. Past speakers include the first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Almansoori, and future cities expert Professor Grey Clark, colonization expert Dr. Mohamed Qasem, metaverse thought leader Alex Kipman, robotics luminary Professor Oussama Khatib, and Binance founder Changpeng Zhao.

Good health insurance is top priority after high salary for MENA professionals

A new survey by, the Middle East’s #1 job site, revealed a variety of insights about lifestyles of professionals and how employers can elicit a healthy change in the workplace. According to the ‘Health and Wellbeing in the MENA’ survey, the majority of respondents (94%) have the intention to become regularly active and follow a healthy diet and 80% reveal that their work schedule allows them to allocate time for physical exercise.Interestingly, 92% of respondents believe that employers should be involved in the health and wellbeing of their employees. Further, 28% of respondents prefer working for an employer who provides health insurance over a higher salary, 13% believe that higher salary is more important and 59% believe that they are both equally important.Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at said: “Our latest survey highlights how an increasing focus on health is shaping MENA job seekers’ choices and what employers can do to promote a holistic approach to wellness at the workplace. The main aim of our research is to help both professionals and companies create a supportive environment to boost happiness and give rise to important conversations in relation to wellbeing.”Professionals in the MENA region look for multiple health and wellbeing aspects while searching for jobs. These include relaxed and friendly environment (58%), flexible work hours (23%), health insurance (12%), gym facilities or free memberships (5%) and healthy meals or snacks (2%). In fact, 84% of respondents claim that they will exercise more if their workplace had a gym or offered subsidized gym memberships.On a positive note, 70% of respondents say that their employer provides them with a health and wellbeing plan, workshops, or educational sessions. 80% believe that their current workplace provides a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Additionally, two-thirds of professionals (66%) are satisfied with the level of communication that exists within their organization.According to survey respondents, employers can take several actions to contribute in reducing stress at the workplace. These include offering a flexible workplace environment (53%), providing time / resources for physical activity (24%), organizing more social activities for the team (17%) and encouraging healthy eating habits (5%).Data for the ‘Health and Wellbeing in the MENA’ survey was collected online from October 3 to November 2, 2022. Results are based on a sample of 2,833 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Sudan among others.

New Cybereason study reveals the damage caused by ransomware attacks

Cybereason, the XDR company, today published results from a global study of organizations that had suffered a ransomware attack on a holiday or weekend. The study highlights an ongoing disconnect between the increased risk organizations face from ransomware attacks that occur on holidays and weekends and their readiness to handle them, as year-over-year, ransomware attacks during these times take longer to assess and resolve.The higher assessment and remediation times stem from the fact that 44% of companies reduce security staffing on holidays and weekends by as much as 70% from weekday levels. Shockingly, 20% of companies cut security staffing by 90% from weekday levels. Conversely, only 7% of companies are at least 80% staffed on holidays and weekends.Titled Organizations at Risk: Ransomware Attackers Don’t Take Holidays, the study of 1,203 cybersecurity professionals, across 8 countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), found that holiday and weekend ransomware attacks result in greater revenue losses than ransomware attacks on weekdays. One-third of respondents said their organization lost more money from a holiday/weekend ransomware attack, up from 13% of respondents in the 2021 study. In the education and transportation industries, the number of respondents reporting higher revenue losses jumped to 43% and 48%, respectively.“Ransomware actors tend to strike on holidays and weekends because they know companies’ human defenses often aren’t as robust at those times. It allows them to evade detection, do more damage, and steal more data as security teams scramble to mobilize a response. Cybereason found that risk assessment is slower, it takes companies longer to assemble the team to fight the initial attack, which leads to slower remediation and recovery times,” said Lior Div, Cybereason CEO and Co-founder.Financial losses aren’t the only thing businesses are concerned with when it comes to holiday and weekend ransomware attacks. In fact, ransomware attacks disrupt the lives of the security professionals defending businesses with 88% of respondents missing a holiday or weekend celebration due to a ransomware attack. These numbers were higher in the financial services industry, where more than 90% of respondents said they had missed out on time with family.“Disrupting cybersecurity professionals’ well-earned downtime and interfering with their personal lives takes a toll on their wellbeing, leads to burnout and causes some people to leave the field altogether. The overall success cyber criminals have attacking on holidays and weekends leads to them more aggressively targeting companies during these times as a way to further fuel their criminal empires,” added Div.Ransomware is preventable and many companies offer endpoint detection & response technologies that will stop the scourge. Implementing a security awareness program for employees and ensuring operating systems and other software are regularly updated and patched are steps in the right direction. In addition, organizations should ensure clear isolation practices are in place to stop any further ingress on the network or spreading of the ransomware to other devices. They should also evaluate locking-down of critical accounts when possible. The path attackers often take in propagating ransomware across a network is to escalate privileges to the admin domain-level and then deploy the ransomware.The full report can be obtained here: Organizations at Risk: Ransomware Attackers Don’t Take Holidays ( Methodology                                                                                                              The research was conducted by Censuswide in September of 2022 and a total of cybersecurity professionals took part in the survey—with participants from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Major industry verticals covered in the research include the Technology, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail, Healthcare, Automotive, Legal and Government sectors.

Cisco reveals top Cybersecurity threats trends in Q3 2022

Cisco Talos, one of the world’s largest private threat intelligence teams released its latest quarterly report that examines incident response trends and global cyber threats.Key findings:For the first time since compiling these reports, Cisco Talos Incident Response saw an equal number of ransomware and pre-ransomware engagements, making up nearly 40 percent of threats this quarter.The education sector was the most targeted by attackers this quarter, closely followed by the financial services, government, and energy sectors, respectively. For the first time since Quarter 4 2021, the telecommunications sector was not the top-targeted vertical. While the reason for the education sector being more frequently targeted this quarter is unknown, this is a popular time of year for adversaries to target education institutions as students and teachers have returned to school.Q3 was also characterized by previously seen high-profile ransomware variants such as Hive and Vice Society and a new ransomware family (Black Basta) that first emerged in April 2022 and had yet to be observed in incident response engagements.Cisco Talos also continued to observe threats that have been consistently present in previous quarters, including phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC), attempts to exploit weaknesses or vulnerabilities in public-facing applications, and insider threats.Within enterprises, the lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) remains one of the biggest obstacles to corporate security, according to the report. Nearly 18% of engagements either had no MFA or only had it enabled on a handful of accounts and critical services, allowing the cybercriminal to log in and authenticate.Commenting on the report’s findings, Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, EMEA Service Providers and MEA, Cisco, said: “Today, more than ever, in an increasingly connected and digital age, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. As enterprises and governments across the region seek to safeguard their data and businesses, Cisco continues to support our customers, helping drive rapid detection and protection against cyber risks.”He added: ‘Security is a game of data. The more insights we have into the threat landscape, the better our telemetry is, the higher the likelihood of being able to prevent security incidents. When a breach occurs, our capabilities can detect, respond and remediate threats as fast as possible.”More information is available on Cisco Talos' Quarterly Report: Incident Response Trends in Q3 2022 blog.

Palo Alto Networks reports fiscal first quarter 2023 financial results

Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, announced today financial results for its fiscal first quarter 2023, ended October 31, 2022.Total revenue for the fiscal first quarter 2023 grew 25% year over year to $1.6 billion, compared with total revenue of $1.2 billion for the fiscal first quarter 2022. GAAP net income for the fiscal first quarter 2023 was $20.0 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared with GAAP net loss of $103.6 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, for the fiscal first quarter 2022.Non-GAAP net income for the fiscal first quarter 2023 was $266.4 million, or $0.83 per diluted share, compared with non-GAAP net income of $170.3 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, for the fiscal first quarter 2022. A reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP information is contained in the tables below."Our growth in Q1 was driven by customers continuing to increase their commitments to our security platforms as they are able to choose our best-of-breed capability and simplify their security architecture," said Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks. "We are focused on expanding the breadth of our offerings and our pace of innovation to continue to drive share gains in the cybersecurity market.""We exceeded our top-line guidance while generating $1.2 billion in free cash flow and expanding our operating margins," said Dipak Golechha, chief financial officer of Palo Alto Networks. "We will continue to balance growth with profitability and cash generation to further strengthen our position in the market."Financial OutlookPalo Alto Networks provides guidance based on current market conditions and expectations.For the fiscal second quarter 2023, we expect:Total billings in the range of $1.94 billion to $1.99 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 21% and 24%.Total revenue in the range of $1.63 billion to $1.66 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 24% and 26%.Diluted non-GAAP net income per share in the range of $0.76 to $0.78, using 320 million to 326 million shares outstanding.For the fiscal year 2023, we are broadly raising guidance and expect:Total billings in the range of $8.95 billion to $9.10 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 20% and 22%.Total revenue in the range of $6.85 billion to $6.91 billion, representing year-over-year growth of between 25% and 26%.Diluted non-GAAP net income per share in the range of $3.37 to $3.44, using 325 million to 331 million shares outstanding.Adjusted free cash flow margin in the range of 34.5% to 35.5%.Guidance for non-GAAP financial measures excludes share-based compensation-related charges (including share-based payroll tax expense), acquisition-related costs, amortization expense of acquired intangible assets, litigation-related charges, including legal settlements, restructuring and other costs, non-cash charges related to convertible notes, and foreign currency gains (losses) and income and other tax effects associated with these items, along with certain non-recurring expenses and certain non-recurring cash flows. We have not reconciled diluted non-GAAP net income per share guidance to GAAP net income (loss) per diluted share or adjusted free cash flow margin guidance to GAAP net cash from operating activities because we do not provide guidance on GAAP net income (loss) or net cash from operating activities and would not be able to present the various reconciling cash and non-cash items between GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures because certain items that impact these measures are uncertain or out of our control, or cannot be reasonably predicted, including share-based compensation expense, without unreasonable effort. The actual amounts of such reconciling items will have a significant impact on the company's GAAP net income (loss) per diluted share and GAAP net cash from operating activities.Earnings Call InformationPalo Alto Networks will host a video webcast for analysts and investors to discuss the company's fiscal first quarter 2023 results as well as the outlook for its fiscal second quarter 2023 today at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time/1:30 p.m. Pacific time. Open to the public, investors may access the webcast, supplemental financial information and earnings slides from the "Investors" section of the company's website at A replay will be available three hours after the conclusion of the webcast and archived for one year.

As disruption persists, digital investment will drive efficiency

Unprecedented headwinds over the past two years - pandemic, war, labour and supply chain challenges, inflation - are making it much more expensive to run a business. Under pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency, many companies are turning to automation and cloud technology to drive immediate value across all departments.Parallels between the start of the pandemic and this new phase of global uncertainty are striking. Companies which accelerated their digital transformation during the public health crisis were able to pivot quickly and come out stronger. The same applies today.According to Accenture research, ‘Leader’ businesses doubled down on their tech investment during 2020 and 2021. As a result they are now growing five times faster than ‘Laggard’ businesses.It also found that a new group of ‘Leapfrogger’ businesses. Those that targeted over twice as many processes for digital transformation during the pandemic, are now growing four times faster than Laggards and closing the gap on Leaders.In today’s high-cost environment, leaning into digital investment is an essential enabler for driving efficiency and profitability, whilst boosting innovation and ensuring competitive advantage.Success now means connecting with customers in new, simpler and more cost effective ways. It means consolidating and reducing complexity and automating workflows across their technology stack.Automation as a Strategic AssetAccording to Statista, worldwide spending on the two primary types of business automation, robotic process automation and intelligent process automation, is expected to hit $19.3 billion this year, up from $13.6 billion two years ago. The impact is profound, affecting the way we work and serve customers.AI and machine-learning are being used by major global manufacturers and retailers to rethink supply chain management, to effectively manage rising supplier prices, and to determine how best to meet customer purchasing preferences.Companies need to create incredible customer experiences across every interaction to stay competitive. For retailers, this means infusing digital across the entire physical and virtual shopping journey to deliver seamless and personalized experiences.From setting up self-service technologies to reduce the cost of customer support, to driving productivity for a sales or marketing team to get better at measuring ROI, we can expect to see greater focus on data, analytics, and AI as economic turbulence continues.Only by working on one trusted platform in real time — giving every employee a single shared view of the customer - can organizations expect to drive higher levels of productivity and customer loyalty at a lower overall cost to serve.Across the public sector from vaccine distribution management to call center operations, governments and citizens have seen first-hand the power of what technology can do for them: delivering high quality digital services, driving efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.According to a global Salesforce survey of 600 CIOs and IT decision makers, the vast majority (91%) of respondents report that demand for automation from business teams has increased over the last two years. Specifically, the highest demand for automation came from four departments: Research and development (39%), Administrative/operations (38%), Customer service (33%), Marketing (26%)]Automation is also playing a major role in workforce engagement, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks and empowering workers to focus on more strategic activity. Collaborative technologies are reimagining how teams work together, organize their people, and deliver greater customer experiences in this digital-first and work-from-anywhere world.Building Better ResilienceIn the digital economy, the businesses that adapt to changes quickest will thrive. As disruption continues, CEOs who previously delegated their digital strategy want to take direct leadership today.From business performance, employee skills preparedness, societal equity to climate change, technology is fundamental to driving efficiencies and smarter implementation in all these areas.Although we cannot predict the future, we can be strategic and build better resilience. We must rethink our approach to efficiency at every level, in every department. We must commit to continuous innovation to solve customers’ problems, ensuring seamless service from anywhere, and adapting to customers’ changing priorities. This in turn will provide opportunities for success in the long term.

ADX hosts top celebrities and business magnates

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) hosted a delegation from Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access program, supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), that aims to spotlight Abu Dhabi as a destination where organizations can achieve global expansion. The delegation featured sports legends, Patrice Evra and Metta World Peace, along with Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and business magnates from the US.The Access Abu Dhabi delegates were given a tour of ADX’s facilities and a briefing on the leading role that ADX is playing to enhance the Emirate’s position as an attractive destination for international capital, in line with the strategy of the Government of Abu Dhabi. After the briefing, Mr. O’Leary and the Maven Global Access delegation took part in a bell ringing ceremony at ADX’s trading floor to signal the start of trading accompanied by the Exchange’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, and members of ADX senior management.This visit is part of a wider initiative that showcases the array of business opportunities in Abu Dhabi and introduces key stakeholders to US companies seeking to expand into Abu Dhabi’s thriving business and innovative ecosystem. The visit also highlights the continuous efforts of Abu Dhabi’s government in promoting the city as a top destination for businesses to invest, innovate and grow.Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ADX, said: “We were delighted to host the Access Abu Dhabi delegates at ADX. This visit showcases the role that ADX plays as a key stakeholder in attracting international capital and business to Abu Dhabi, which is part of our strategy for building bridges with international parties and showcasing the best of what Abu Dhabi has to offer.”Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access programme supported by ADIO, engages, enables and empowers companies to fast track their global reach with expansion to Abu Dhabi. The Founder of Access Abu Dhabi, Sarah Omolewu has leveraged her experience and extensive network in celebrity and investor circles in the US to secure entrepreneurs and ambassadors for the program.

Meet the executive team: CEQUENS announces new hires

The leading communication solution provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, CEQUENS, announces new executive hire roll out in line with the company’s five-year expansion plan.Boasting over 25 years of experience in the technology and software development domains with a passion for AI based technology, Ahmed Shabrawy rejoined CEQUENS as Chief Research & Innovation Officer. In his new role, he is in charge of conceptualizing and developing new, market-disruptive solutions. Prior to joining CEQUENS, Ahmed was the founder of EgyptNetwork, and then went on to found and lead multiple organizations in the field of technology and communication innovation including MetalSoft and Vytru.Appointed as VP Growth & Revenue Operations, Hussein Malhas, will be spearheading CEQUENS’s growth endeavors, new market penetration, and increased sales. With over 25 years of experience in the CPaaS and SaaS domains, Hussein’s role will be to manage global accounts with the goal of exceeding station revenue, prospecting, and defining new business targets for the company.Hussein’s previous leadership roles include VP Revenue, MENA for Infobip and Microsoft’s Country Manager, Levant.CEQUENS is also proud to announce the appointment of Yara Milbes as VP Global Marketing. A true marketing leader with a solid business development, brand and growth marketing background, Yara has more than 16 years of experience in B2B, B2G marketing in Telecommunications and Information Technology sectors. In her role as CEQUENS VP Global Marketing, Yara will be in charge of redefining the strategic and creative narrative at CEQUENS, in addition to elevating the brand experience for a seamless transition into global markets.Prior to joining CEQUENS, Yara held the position of Global Marketing Director at Infobip.CEQUENS is also thrilled to announce the appointment of Nermeen Sobhy as VP of Carrier Relations.Nermeen is a growth-focused leader with extensive experience of more than 22 years in telecom overseeing both technical and commercial aspects. With Carrier Relations being the core of CEUQENS’s business, Nermeen will be spearheading the expansion of the company’s network inside and outside the region.Nermeen previously was Head of Commercial Roaming Operations at Etisalat Egypt and is recognized in 2022 as the most influential women in telecom industry and ranked second in the TOP25 most influential leaders in ROCCO TOP100 research for international, roaming and messaging sector.Muhammad Nauman will be taking on the role of VP Operations. As an accomplished executive with a successful track record overseeing regional operations, HR, Marketing, IT, and procurement and logistics. In his new leadership role, Muhammad will oversee the company’s daily operations, define operations strategy, structure, and processes, and identify efficiency issues and solutions.Muhammad was previously CEQUENS Chief of Staff. Prior to joining, he acted as Chief Operating Officer for Hello Group.With a team of innovators, leaders, and changemakers now in place, CEQUENS is confident that they will be able to help companies across the board build deeper and meaningful connections with their clients through using simple solutions.These strategic hires come as CEQUENS prepares to launch its Customer Excellence Center in Dubai in Q1 of 2023.

OEM advertising: The new-age solution for smart marketers during sales

Since the sales like Thanksgiving Day, White Friday, Cyber Monday, and Year-End Sales are almost here at the corner, marketers wish to have a quality ROAS along with effective user-acquisition, retention and engagement rates. Moreover, in the Ad-tech sector, the market competition is evolving gradually and many different brand owners aim to target the same type of user base. So, if you are also a part of this ad universe then you must rely on the Power of OEM which optimizes the ad spend and enhances the campaign performance with data-driven measurable results. In fact, if I talk about the top OEM Partners in the MENA Region, they have a market share of 57.89% since 2022. Hence, If you haven’t incorporated OEM marketing practices in the campaign execution process specifically during sales; then you are still not late to unleash the significance of OEM Advertising and all technological innovations it has in store for smart marketers.  OEM establishes the brand with its effective recall value via the right medium of brand promotion in a safer environment. Moreover, it streamlines the process of acquiring and retaining the right audience, creating appropriate ads and assuring that the campaign is delivering a prominent message. This has given marketers a smart way of advertising as they can effectively plan the inventory and tap into the wider yet untapped markets. OEM devices come equipped with multiple ads placement, app discovery, app recommendations, advanced targeting and brand promotion opportunities at engaging touch points. Its inventories also have in-built app stores that are alternatives to Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This provides advertisers with exclusive deals to promote their app to achieve their business goals with incremental ROI. When users these days are mobile-first, OEM enables marketers to transform their marketing approach to acquire and engage mobile-friendly netizens with its unique and innovative branding and performance strategies. Well, there is a lot to speak about OEM but I would like to suggest marketers consider OEM as a new-age solution because of the following reasons: Campaign Effectiveness: Considering the paradigm shift from the traditional way of marketing to the digital one; OEM has proven to be the winning one. This is because it helps marketers to run a campaign in a transparent environment wherein, there is no involvement of any mediator between them and OEM. As a result, marketers can save a large chunk of their advertising budget with a better device interface and content customization which ultimately drives campaign effectiveness. Brand Awareness: OEM Advertising has now established benchmarks in the mobile app economy because it's one of the most prominent ways of creating buzz and brand awareness among users. It helps marketers to reach the audience and highlight their brands’ USPs while tapping into their pivotal moments throughout the device lifecycle without infringing their privacy. This builds a trustworthy relationship between the brand and users, gives them a value-generated experience and they effectively resonate with the showcased advert, driving app download volume results. App Fostering Opportunities: OEM lets brand owners make their mark and expand their reach while onboarding users from different geographies via its pool of app fostering opportunities. This gets done through its different ad formats like Splash Ads, Tiles, Banner Ads, Push Ads, Interstitial Ads and its placement options like Pre-Install, App Store Promotion, Hot Downloads, Icon Promotion, Recommended Apps, Browser-Based Promotion etc. Such features enable marketers to efficiently draw the audience’s attention and build an affinity with a brand. Precise Targeting: OEM enables marketers to access new markets as it determines the frequently used apps by the users on respective inventories. So, when the demand for smartphones rises, OEMs also pitch their sales into the growth of the app economy with app distribution opportunities. This is because OEMs provide marketers with users’ insights based on their past actions and behaviors onto which they can provide consumers with personalized and recommended content, tailored to their interests. In this way, brands’ offerings effectively reach the audiences and they better respond to the campaign too. OEM Advertising is massively revolutionizing the mobile app ecosystem because, alongside the above-mentioned advantages, it also showcases many licensed apps like RMG, Short Video, Social Media etc which encourages marketers to wisely invest in OEM. Its performance-driven results leave no stone unturned to generate quality ROAS which is why; MENA digital economy is projected to hit a staggering $400 billy by 2030 (source: Fast Company Middle East). Hence, OEM being a fundamental of digital advertising is a new-age technology which provides users with an elated experience and lets marketers implement digital-first sales strategies. It's setting a pace and is another way around to make the most out of their campaign. Written by: Gagan Uppal - Country Head - MENA, Xapads Media