Forbes Middle East unveils the Middle East’s top 100 CEOs 2023

Forbes Middle East has released its third annual list of the Top 100 CEOs in the Middle East, spotlighting the business heads that are running the region’s biggest and most influential homegrown companies. Combined, the 100 CEOs managed revenues of over $1 trillion in 2022. Their firms are collectively worth more than $5 trillion.Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of the world’s largest crude oil producer Saudi Aramco, topped the ranking. ADNOC Group’s Sultan Al Jaber and Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group rounded up the top three spots. These three executives have retained their ranking for the third consecutive year.The 2023 cohort represents leaders from 22 nationalities. Emiratis dominated with 23 entries, followed by Egyptians with 19 and Saudis with 18. These three groups comprise 60% of the ranking, signaling positive momentum for localization. With 17 CEOs, the banking sector claimed the most entries, followed closely by real estate and construction with 14 and telecommunications with nine. Among the top 10 alone, six different industries are represented, illustrating the sector diversity in top leadership.Against the recurring priority of sustainability this year, the leaders on this ranking have accelerated their corporate sustainability measures to align with global commitments. Majid Al Futtaim – Holding’s Ahmed Galal Ismail led the group to achieve an 82% reduction in single-use plastic consumption in the first half of 2023. At the COP28 held in Dubai, ADNOC Group’s Sultan Al Jaber served as the president-designate of this year’s climate change conference for global transformative climate action. Meanwhile, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer intends to increase its water desalination capacity to 730 million imperial gallons per day by 2030, up from 490 million in 2023.To construct this ranking, Forbes Middle East assessed the CEOs using various metrics, including the individual's accomplishments and implemented innovations over the past year, size of their company, and their impact on their firm and the wider industry. Only CEOs of companies headquartered in MENA were considered.Top 10 CEOs In The Middle East 2023Amin H. NasserNationality: SaudiPresident & CEO, Saudi AramcoSultan Al JaberNationality: EmiratiGroup CEO & Managing Director, ADNOC GroupAhmed bin Saeed Al MaktoumNationality: EmiratiChairman & Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & GroupSaad Sherida Al-KaabiNationality: QatariDeputy Chairman, President & CEO, QatarEnergyIsam Jasem Al-SagerNationality: KuwaitiVice Chairman & Group CEO, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK Group)Nawaf S. Al-SabahNationality: KuwaitiDeputy Chairman & CEO, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)Sultan Ahmed Bin SulayemNationality: EmiratiGroup Chairman & CEO, DP World Olayan AlwetaidNationality: SaudiGroup CEO, stc GroupSyed Basar ShuebNationality: EmiratiCEO & Managing Director, International Holding Company (IHC)Hatem DowidarNationality: EgyptianGroup CEO, e&

Global Cohort of 110 Journalists Unite for CNN Academy's Climate Storytelling

Convening at CNN’s state-of-the-art hub in Abu Dhabi last week, 110 aspiring and emerging journalists from around the world engaged in a dynamic and immersive journalism simulation focused on climate reporting.This unique event is part of CNN Academy, a special initiative designed to empower and upskill the next generation of journalists.This second edition of the CNN Academy simulation aimed to test and refine the skills of the participants by replicating a climate disaster scenario. Set in a fictional country, this multi-faceted exercise engaged trainees in a realistic news environment with the story unfolding in real time over a week.Becky Anderson, Anchor & Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi, said: “At the end of what will be the hottest year ever recorded, and with COP28 taking place in Dubai, we wanted to focus this latest group of CNN academicians on what is without doubt the most important story of this generation. Reporting on the climate crisis is vitally important, but far from easy. We were able to immerse this group deep into all its complexity during this exercise. To see these young journalists, from all corners of the globe, working hard to tell this story with truth, accuracy, clarity and context has been truly inspiring.”Fourteen participants marked the inaugural cohort of the new CNN Academy Global South Climate Storytelling program, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. They were specifically chosen to take part from the region most impacted by climate change and attended from countries including Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya and Vietnam. The program aims to increase awareness and address the impact of climate change in the most vulnerable communities in the Global South. The cohort joined participants from CNN Academy initiatives worldwide, including Hong Kong Chui Hai College, University College Dublin, Universidad Loyola Sevilla, University of Nottingham Malaysia, and CNN Academy Abu Dhabi, creating an international group representing 30 different nationalities, including 16 Emiratis.Eileen O’Connor, the Senior Vice President for Strategic Communications and Policy at The Rockefeller Foundation said: “Empowering storytellers from the Global South with climate reporting skills is paramount because developing countries are already suffering from climate change, despite bearing minimal responsibility for it. It’s not just about sharing stories; it's about giving voice to the most affected communities and amplifying urgent calls for climate action.”The simulation was designed and planned by CNN, in collaboration with Prof. Rex Brynen of McGillUniversity, a leader in serious gaming and Jim Wallman of Stone Paper Scissors. Building on the success of CNN Academy’s first newsroom simulation which launched last year, this year’s iteration saw participants newsgathering in the field, using a custom-built social media tool and attending mock press conferences and interviews. Each team was tasked with writing, producing, reporting, filming andediting a news package by the end of the week, leveraging the extensive media technology facilities of the creative lab, hosted at twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub in Abu Dhabi.Reem Al Mansouri from CNN Academy Abu Dhabi commented on the simulation: “The experience was extraordinary and immersive because the simulation week not only pushed me beyond my usual circle but also led me to see the world through the eyes of a real journalist.”Alongside the newsroom simulation, participants also received masterclasses from CNN experts on the power of pictures and storytelling during times of conflict, along with workshops on the importance of data management and archiving, and the complexity of gender reporting.Phil Nelson, EVP, CNN International Commercial said: “CNN Academy builds on a long tradition established by our founder, Ted Turner, to train and nurture the next generation of journalists,developing skills, forging links and opening doors. The CNN Academy simulation expands on this by presenting the participants with challenges modern journalists encounter, in an environment wherethey are safe to fail, and encouraged to consider every element they might face working on a story. This exceptional training is unmatched in the industry.”A visit to COP28 in Dubai allowed the academicians to explore pavilions and attend talks at the UN Climate Change Conference. In recognition of supporting the local ecology and climate, a tree wasplanted on behalf of each participant at the Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi, which preserves the UAE’s mangrove habitats while also raising awareness of their importance to the environment.

Global leaders gather at museum of the future during COP28 visit to UAE

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 successfully concluded at Dubai Expo City, the Museum of the Future welcomed over 30 Presidents, Prime Ministers and delegates from 30 different countries from around the world.The Presidents and Ministers visiting the Museum of the Future during their official visit to COP28 included Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Cuba; Eng. Hussein Arnous, Prime Minister of Syria; Dr. Terrence Drew, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts & Nevis; Premier E. David Burt of Bermuda; Ding Xuexiang, First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China; Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal and Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta – Canada.The visits to the Museum of the Future were part of the official visits to the United Arab Emirates, coinciding with their attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held at Dubai Expo City. The Museum of the Future is dedicated to supporting the UAE's hosting of the COP28 conference, while also striving to promote a more positive and sustainable future.The VIP tours showcased the museum’s iconic design and most prominent features, including its unique experiences, highlighting its vital role in shaping the future and designing its ideas as part of the museum's efforts in creating a better future for humanity.The high-level guests were also briefed on the museum's initiatives, departments, and pioneering experiences, as well as its role in developing future technologies, incubating ideas, projects, research, initiatives, and studies of qualitative value.

Majid Al Futtaim takes a pledge towards sustainability

A significant pledge has been made by Majid Al Futtaim Retail and its Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) partners, in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), during the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28). Majid Al Futtaim Retail and 16 FMCG partners, supported by MOCCAE, have pledged at COP28 to advance the forum’s Collaborative Impact Goals (CIGs), emphasizing a commitment to sustainability. The pledge signifies a collaborative effort among Carrefour and its industry partners to work together towards achieving the forum’s Collaborative Impact Goals, demonstrating a commitment to a sustainable future.The event saw the presence of Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, along with the FMCG partners. The initiative sets a benchmark for end-to-end sustainability operations in modern retail. The focus is on ensuring a secure future for the planet and local communities through sustainable practices.Collaborative Impact Goals (CIGs):CIG 1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Members are committed to measuring, reporting, and taking steps to reduce carbon emissions of their products on Carrefour shelves. The goal is to eliminate one billion kilograms of CO2 by 2030.CIG 2: Sustainable Packaging (Optional): Parties can choose to implement this goal, which focuses on sustainable packaging.CIG 3: Healthier and More Sustainable Products (Optional): Another optional goal for parties to implement, emphasizing the production of healthier and more sustainable products.During the event, the importance of private sector involvement in achieving national climate action goals, including the UAE's commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems, has also been addressed. The private sector, including retail businesses, is acknowledged for playing an essential role in achieving the UAE's national Net Zero target by 2050.Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri appreciates businesses, including Majid Al Futtaim Retail, for committing to Collaborative Impact Goals and taking significant steps to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim – Retail, expresses gratitude to Her Excellency for recognizing and trusting Carrefour’s proactive efforts in sustainability.Carrefour has launched a store exclusively within COP28’s Blue Zone, showcasing tangible actions in line with their sustainability efforts.

Google releases the top trending searches of the year in MENA

Google released today the top trending searches of 2023 for the Middle East and North Africa. The annual lists reveal the most trending search queries which experienced a higher volume of search over a sustained period in 2023 compared to 2022. The lists included the top searched news, platforms, events, movies, TV series, tournaments and personalities. Egypt: In the news list, the war in Palestine ranked first, followed by the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound and the earthquake that happened in the country earlier this year. As for the Personalities list, the Egyptian footballer Emam Ashour was ranked first, followed by Jory Bakr and Bassem Youssef following his interview with Piers Morgan. Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom has been searching for football throughout the year, with many events and tournaments happening on-ground. The match between AlHilal SFC and Real Madrid CF was ranked top in the football tournaments list. As for the personalities list, footballers remain at the top list with Aleksandar Mitrovi? and Karim Benzema amongst others. The war in Palestine was the top searched topic in the news list, which also included the devaluation of the Pakistani Rupee, and Buerger's disease. There has also been interest in local platforms such asd, Absher, Jadarat, Etima amongst others.UAE: In the UAE, there was huge interest in cricket matches. The Cricket World Cup match between India and Sri Lanka was the top searched tournament. Local and regional events made it to the list this year including Gitex 2023, COP28 and UFC 294. People in the UAE also used Google Search to follow the news in Palestine, as well as the devastating events that happened earlier this year including the Earthquake in Turkey, Syria, and Morocco.The full lists of top 2023 trending queries can be found on Google Google Trends website.Egypt: Arabia: Lists in MENAUAESaudi

Syrve MENA reports: Over 60% of its Middle East restaurants leverage AI for sale

Syrve MENA, a leading provider of all-in-one POS solutions in the Middle East, today announced that over 60% of its food & beverage industry customers are now using AI for sales forecasting. This cutting-edge technology provides daily insights into the number of orders and the average order amount, with the flexibility to adjust these parameters by hours and order type.Syrve MENA's AI system generates forecasts three weeks in advance, updating them at the beginning of each week. The forecasts can be tailored according to each client's preferences, proving invaluable for calculating quantities needed for meal preparations and distributor orders. Furthermore, Syrve's AI system seamlessly integrates weather forecasts into revenue planning. By simply inputting the restaurant's address, users can access weather forecasts and adjust their sales forecasts accordingly, ensuring preparedness for varying weather conditions.AI offers superior accuracy compared to traditional manual methods, enabling businesses to forecast sales revenue more precisely. Additionally, AI empowers enterprises to develop enhanced product and service offerings by leveraging predictive analytics to identify future customer needs and trends. By adopting an AI-driven sales forecasting system, businesses can achieve many benefits, including improved profit margins, enhanced forecast accuracy, elevated customer satisfaction, and sustainable practices."Our customers are seeing real benefits from using AI for sales forecasting," said Alexander Ponomarev, CEO of Syrve MENA. "One of our clients, a popular fast-food chain, reduced its food waste by 10% and improved its inventory management by 15% after implementing our AI solution."As Syrve MENA continues transforming the Middle East region's restaurant and retail landscape through its innovative AI-powered solutions, the company also reaffirms its commitment to sustainability at the COP28 climate summit. The company is committed to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices.

PepsiCo, SABIC and partners launch the Mega Green Accelerator

The Mega Green Accelerator will be open to startups in the MENA region focusing on circular economy solutions, clean energy transition and climate mitigation technologies, including water and agriculture.The Accelerator is a collaboration between PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs and other strategic partners.Dubai, United Arab Emirates: On the heels of the first week of COP28, PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs and their strategic partners have announced the launch of the Mega Green Accelerator, a new initiative to nurture the next generation of innovators in the region as they develop solutions to both regional and global sustainability challenges. The Middle East is warming almost two times faster than the global average, yet the support and investment for the sustainability innovation ecosystem in the region does not match this urgency. Since 2010, less than 50 new climate technology startups have been founded in the MENA region, compared to nearly 5,000 in Europe and the US. The Mega Green Accelerator aims to reduce this gap, foster regional collaboration and cultivate a network of MENA-based innovators addressing the most pressing sustainability challenges in the region.The priority focus areas for the first round of the Accelerator program include circular economy, clean energy transitions, water and agriculture, some of the most pressing issues for the Middle East. In addition to seed funding and mentorship, the partners will provide participating entrepreneurs access to some of the most prominent business leaders in the region.“Innovators in the MENA region have incredible potential for scaling and are making important strides to develop homegrown solutions to address the unique challenges the region is facing. COP28 is already putting a spotlight on climate innovations coming out of the UAE and the region at large, and PepsiCo is excited to support the next generation of climate leaders through the Mega Green Accelerator. By bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and the networks and resources they need, we are committed to supporting breakthrough start-ups as they scale sustainability solutions, grow their businesses and form critical connections,” said Eugene Willemsen, CEO of PepsiCo, Africa, Middle East, South Asia. In addition to PepsiCo, SABIC and AstroLabs, the Accelerator will leverage its strategic partners’ unique capabilities and expertise to best support participating entrepreneurs. Investment partners Dubai Future District Fund, Venture Souq and Shurooq Partners will provide platforms for investment opportunities, mentorship in raising capital, and networking opportunities. They will also inform startup criteria and participate in the selection process to maximize investment success.Ecosystem partners London Business School Entrepreneurship Club, Berytech, American University of Cairo Venture Lab, the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection will source applicants through their networks, amplify Accelerator information and communicate progress through their channels. Schneider Electric will support the Accelerator as a prize partner, participating in the final selection of participants. “SABIC is proud to join with PepsiCo and other fellow partners to provide our business expertise, mentorship, resources and platform to help the brightest minds in the region reach their full potential through the Mega Green Accelerator. We believe that such cross-sector partnerships are crucial in effectively tackling complex, critical issues such as climate change. In supporting this initiative, we are not just bettering local economies, but people and planet at the same time,” said Dr.Bob Maughon, SABIC Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer."Our partnership with PepsiCo and SABIC comes at an exciting time - it’s a strategic step in accelerating innovation within the GCC, with a strong focus on sustainability. With the influx of international sustainable and climate-conscious companies, the region is rising as a global testbed for innovation - we will double down on creating an environment where these businesses can scale into the local markets. Our aim is to ensure the GCC not only responds to the current demand for green solutions but also pioneers the advancement of sustainable business practices on a global scale,’’ said Roland Daher, CEO, AstroLabs.The priority focus areas of the Mega Green Accelerator align with PepsiCo’s transformation strategy, pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) and the other partners' sustainability agendas, while further driving collaboration with businesses across the region to catalyze positive impact. In the coming months, PepsiCo and partners will share additional details and application information for the Mega Green Accelerator. To stay updated, follow PepsiCo Positive (pep+) Middle East LinkedIn page and @PepsiCo on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Riyadh hosts GSMA M360 MENA: 5G boosts regional GDP

GSMA M360 MENA commenced today at the Fairmont Riyadh, marking the beginning of two full days of keynotes, summits and networking focused around shaping the digital ecosystem in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). The annual event, supported by host sponsor stc, convenes leaders from across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries to explore the strategies, collaboration and policies that will accelerate the MENA region's digital-first future. Key themes that will be discussed at this year's event include the transformative power of AI, IoT and edge computing, cybersecurity threats and approaches, digital inclusion and future opportunities for 5G.Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: "We are delighted to be here in Riyadh for M360 MENA and to witness some of the amazing innovation taking place in the city. Indeed, Vision 2030 is taking off across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the beauty is that connectivity lies at the heart of it all. M360 MENA is our chance to champion these achievements in mobile connectivity and celebrate the ambitious vision for the digital economy in the entire region."The Mobile Economy MENA Report 2023At M360 MENA, the GSMA launched the Mobile Economy MENA 2023 Report which revealed 5G's GDP contribution is expected to reach $60bn in 2030, representing 13% of the overall annual economic impact of mobile in the region.The report spotlights the latest trends shaping the mobile ecosystem in MENA, the mobile industry's regional impact, and priorities that will fuel the industry's future growth in the region.Other key findings include:5G will account for half of total mobile connections in MENA by 20305G is gaining momentum in MENA, driven by the launch of new networks and the rapid expansion of existing networks. However, 4G will remain the dominant technology in the region in the medium term, accounting for more than 50% of total connections until 2026.Continued MENA mobile growth through to the end of the decadeThere are currently 415 million unique mobile subscribers in MENA, which will rise to 550 million by 2030. Mobile internet users will grow from 330 million today to 425 million in 2030.Commercial 5G deployments in MENA have been varied At the end of November 2023, 23 mobile operators in nine markets across MENA had launched commercial 5G services. Despite growing momentum behind 5G in North Africa, commercial 5G remains absent in the region, reflecting the challenging situation with spectrum which has not yet been assigned in any North African country.5G SA and 5G-Advanced will be at the heart of 5G's next phaseBy June 2023, six operators in MENA had already rolled out 5G SA networks, contributing to 15% of the global total. Operators in MENA have also begun planning for 5G-Advanced.The shift to circularity is gathering momentumIn response to escalating concerns regarding the generation of e-waste and the unsustainable depletion of natural resources, the concept of circularity has surged to the forefront of the agendas for policymakers and industry stakeholders. This amplified focus on sustainability is particularly evident in view of the region's role as the host for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.Presented by the GSMA, M360 is a series of global events that unify the regional mobile ecosystem. The events aim to discover, develop, and deliver innovation that serves as the foundation for positive business environments and societal change. The events facilitate inspirational keynotes, thought-provoking panel discussions and insightful case studies across mobile technology and adjacent industry verticals.M360 MENA follows a full year of the GSMA's M360 event series in 2023, which this year has included M360 Eurasia, M360 LATAM, M360 UK and M360 APAC.For the full M360 agenda, click here. To download the Mobile Economy MENA Report, please click here.

FlyNow Aviation pioneers CO2 neutral mobility solutions at COP28 Summit in Dubai

FlyNow Aviation, a trailblazer in sustainable mobility solutions, proudly announces its participation in the upcoming COP28 Summit in Dubai. The company is honored to be participating as one of the sustainable startups in the Green Zone at COP28 to showcase its revolutionary CO2 neutral Mobility Air Vehicle and its mission towards environmental responsibility.FlyNow Aviation seeks to redefine city mobility by prioritizing CO2 neutrality. With a keen focus on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, FlyNow aims to contribute to the ambitious goals of UAE to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, positioning itself as a key player in the global effort to combat climate change. According to Jurgen Greil, CEO, FlyNow Aviation, "We take pride in being a sustainable startup contributing to the environmental cause. Traditional transportation modes like cars, trucks, buses, and even air conditioning units contribute significantly to CO2 emissions. While the shift to electric vehicles is considered a solution, it comes with limitations such as traffic congestion and resource-intensive production. At FlyNow Aviation, we aim to make a lasting impact by relieving car traffic globally. FlyNow Air Vehicles offer a comprehensive solution, reducing environmental footprints, addressing traffic challenges, and providing a safer alternative to the traditional mobility.”FlyNow Aviation competently positions itself as a game-changer in the mass manufacturing segment of the global mobility sector. The introduction of FlyNow Air Vehicles, featuring a coaxial rotor system, holds the promise of significantly reducing car traffic, noise pollution, CO2 emissions, and traffic jams worldwide. FlyNow’s innovative approach allows for higher load capacity with less power consumption.With its already secured certifications, it is setting an example for others navigating the certification process. FlyNow stands out as a leader in the industry.“Economics, as the study of positive trade-offs, is key to bringing vital solutions and technologies to market. At FlyNow, we go beyond tackling traffic and emissions; we provide a one-stop solution to increase efficiency, reduce noise pollution, and save valuable resources, including wealth." Greil added.Amid escalating environmental concerns, FlyNow Aviation aims to demonstrate its dedication to a holistic CO2-neutral ecosystem.

More than 100 climate tech startups to showcase at COP28 UAE

More than 100 climate tech startups will showcase their work at COP28 UAE’s Start Up Village in the Green Zone.Operating in diverse sectors such as sustainable transport and agriculture, solar energy, and several others, these startups offer innovative solutions that can contribute to a low-carbon future.The participation of these startups demonstrates the wide range of solutions being explored and positions COP28 as a key platform for advancing sustainable technologies.The COP28 Presidency emphasizes the important role that the private sector and technology can play in delivering climate action on the required scale.Climate technologies could at least double their contribution to global growth, while removing up to 25 billion tons of carbon emissions annually.Recognizing the importance for breakthrough technologies to achieve deeper decarbonization, the COP28 Presidency has been highlighting that research and development is urgently required to bring down costs for existing and emerging technologies.To further the involvement of the private sector startups, COP28 is hosting a dedicated Technology and Innovation Hub. This platform provides the private sector with an invaluable opportunity to share best practices and showcase their contributions in addressing the climate crisis.Here are some of the startups with their amazing products to tackle climate change, which will be on display at their kiosks at the Startup Village.Mazi Mobility: Pioneering Sustainable TransportMazi Mobility, a Kenyan-based mobility company, is dedicated to promoting sustainable transport as a tool to advance the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. With a focus on showcasing the transformative potential of e-mobility solutions, the company aims to reduce emissions and foster sustainable living.In a significant partnership, Mazi Mobility and the Zayed Sustainability Prize have joined forces to launch an electric bike journey from Nairobi to Dubai. Spanning an impressive distance of 7,500 km, this journey will cover two continents and five countries, symbolizing a commitment to sustainable practices on a global scale.SolarSpace: Transforming Solar EnergyArizona-based startup, SolarSpace, is showcasing its advanced solar energy technology at COP28, featuring the M8 solar tracker. Weighing 1,500 kg and measuring 660 cm x 335 cm x 460 cm, this stationary exhibit minimizes solar reflections.Large mirrors focus sunlight onto a small focal point reaching 1,000°C in less than 8 seconds. This heat is converted into sound waves, and sound waves into electric power or cooling.The system is based on freeze dry (sublimation) methods. Sublimation is when a solid (ice) changes directly to a vapor, skipping liquid (water) phase. The system freezes the water, puts it under vacuum and introduces heat. At about -5°C ice is fully evaporated without reaching a boiling point and condensed, while all solids are left dry in a powder form.The system is solar powered, modular, grid-independent, deployable system that can be deployed at any remote location and can be used for brackish groundwater or seawater. The technology has no filters to replace or chemicals to add, making its operation simple, durable and cost effective, reducing cost.RedSea: Sustainable Agriculture for Global Food SecurityRedSea products and technology significantly reduce fresh-water and energy usage, enabling profitable agriculture in arid conditions and high-temperature environments. This innovation extends the growing season in regions that traditionally experienced only seasonal farming, ultimately increasing yield.The mission of RedSea is clear: to Feed the World Sustainably. This commitment is fulfilled by substantially reducing crop inputs in commercial farming, making it feasible to cultivate previously unsustainable regions like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC. The technology is already delivering benefits to farming communities in these areas.RedSea's impact goes beyond agriculture—it contributes to saving water, addressing food security, reducing emissions, and enhancing the profitability of mid to low-tech farming operations.FlyNow Aviation GmbH: Revolutionizing Urban MobilityFlyNow Aviation GmbH focuses on social, economic, and ecological sustainability through its lightweight and efficient electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL).An eVTOL aircraft utilizes electrical power for vertical hovering, take-off, and landing. These vehicles are optimized for electrical propulsion with battery-powered systems, offering a greener, safer, faster, quieter, and more efficient alternative to helicopters or traditional automobile taxis.Designed for urban mobility, the personal air vehicle provides eco-friendly transport for both cargo and passengers over short distances. Visitors can immerse themselves in virtual flights at the event, showcasing the company's dedication to innovation and sustainability.PLATFARM: Transforming Agritech in the MENA RegionPLATFARM, a UAE-based agritech company, is improving agribusiness in the MENA region with its data platform. Leveraging AI and satellite imagery, PLATFARM facilitates daily data-driven decisions, optimizing irrigation, and reducing the reliance on fertilizers and pesticides. Committed to sustainability, the platform provides real-time insights, improving crop management and resource conservation for a more sustainable agricultural future.GARBALISER: Improving Agriculture and Clean Energy in the UAE and LebanonGARBALISER employs innovative technology to transform biowaste into liquid natural fertilizer and renewable water. This advancement helps sustainable practices, addresses environmental challenges, and contributes to eco-friendly agriculture and water resource management.ECOLOO: Pioneering Sustainable Sanitation TechnologyAt COP28, ECOLOO showcases its cutting-edge biological sanitation tech. Their enclosed, waterless system prevents pollution and contamination while converting waste into odor-free liquid fertilizer for organic farming. It uses special formulated bacterial culture to treat and vanish human waste and transform urine into natural liquid fertilizer that is odor free, pathogen free and full of nutrients.ECOLOO says it not only saves gallons of water but also eliminates sewage costs. The company is set to unveil a new net-zero approach for commercial and residential buildings and factories during the event.The Startup Village is located in the Green Zone that will be open to the public from 3 -12 December. The Green Zone will serve as the central hub for action and will welcome all attendees. It will be open to the public, private sectors, media, youth, NGOs, as well as delegates and guests of the UNFCCC-managed Blue Zone for two weeks. Entry to the Green Zone from 1 - 3 December is by invitation only.

Microsoft unveils path to accelerating sustainability with AI in the Middle East

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Microsoft has released a whitepaper titled "Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook" ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), taking place at Expo City in Dubai from November 30th to December 12th. The playbook outlines a comprehensive strategy for governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in propelling the transition to a net-zero, climate-resilient, and nature-positive future.Commenting on the release of the paper, Samer Abu-Ltaif, CVP and President of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) at Microsoft said, “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation, impacting our communities and natural environment like never before. We are at a critical moment for environmental sustainability, and it is vital that government leaders, businesses, and civil society work hand in hand and use every tool available to us, including AI. In line with our commitment to share our learnings, innovations, and best practices with decision-makers, researchers, data scientists, developers, and others, we hope this will serve as an important resource and a catalyst for how to unlock the full potential of AI for a sustainable future."The playbook highlights the three unique, and most crucial abilities, that AI possesses for overcoming bottlenecks that exist on the path to net zero. This includes the ability to discern patterns, predict outcomes, and optimize performances in complex systems; the ability to accelerate the discovery and development of solutions like low-carbon materials, and climate-resilient crops; and finally the ability empower the sustainability workforce of the future.Juan M. Lavista Ferres, Vice President and Chief Data Scientist of the AI for Good Lab at Microsoft – and one of the authors of “Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook,” - noted that while AI is already contributing to sustainability-related discoveries, its true transformative potential is only just beginning to be realized. “The challenge now is to prime the global technology, energy, and policy landscape to encourage AI innovation. This will enable the deployment of solutions that accelerate decarbonization, which will enable the development of even more sustainable AI operations, and in turn, can enable AI to scale the deployment of more sustainability solutions. It is a continuous cycle of innovation and progress.”Microsoft’s playbook offers a five-point approach to help achieve this continuous cycle which includes: investing in AI to accelerate sustainability solutions; developing digital and data infrastructure for the inclusive use of AI for sustainability; minimizing resource use in AI operations; advancing AI policy principles and governance for sustainability; and building workforce capacity to use AI for sustainability.Microsoft will showcase the playbook at COP28, where the company is participating as a Climate Supporter and Climate Innovator partner in a dedicated booth, along with 20 of its global partners. The company will showcase how its Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability suite is building AI into many of its products and solutions to help customers make more impactful decisions toward net-zero goals. It will also unveil how its AI for Earth and AI for Good programs are helping to place the latest AI technologies into the hands of changemakers globally, who are developing innovative solutions to address many environmental challenges.Discover Microsoft's latest sustainability innovations at Booth #70 in Hall 1 at the Technology and Innovation Hub in the Green Zone. To learn more about the insights in Microsoft’s AI playbook, click here.

Time Square Center to host ‘Sustainafest’ for sustainable practices during COP28

The Time Square Center is set to host 'Sustainafest' during COP28, in collaboration with Kate Hardcastle MBE, dedicated to promoting sustainable practices. The event, designed as a comprehensive celebration and educational platform, aligns seamlessly with the UAE National Day festivities.An admirable focus of Sustainafest is on encouraging consumers to 'Buy Smarter, Buy Greener,' spotlighting local businesses making significant strides in sustainability. Kate Hardcastle's emphasis on the pivotal role of consumer purchasing power as a catalyst for change is a crucial point. Noteworthy is the event's approach, providing actionable and authentic advice to seamlessly integrate sustainable choices into everyday life.The inclusion of educational and interactive elements, such as talks, panels, workshops, and activities on up-cycling, herb cultivation, and homemade beauty products, adds a practical dimension to the initiative. Making sustainability both accessible and enjoyable is a strategy that can profoundly inspire people to adopt greener choices.Equally significant is the event's commitment to not only educate but also celebrate UAE businesses actively embracing eco-conscious practices. This dual focus on education and celebration contributes to fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere for sustainability efforts.Nancy Ozbek, the General Manager at Time Square Center, underscores the commitment of local brands and mall tenants to sustainability. By showcasing these pioneers, the event aims to inspire and demonstrate that sustainability is not just a buzzword but an integral part of forward-thinking business practices.As COP28 unfolds with long-term commitments and announcements, events like Sustainafest play a crucial role in reinforcing the idea that individual consumers wield the power to effect real change through their purchasing decisions. This marks a significant step toward building a more sustainable future, aligning well with global efforts towards environmental consciousness.

64% of organizations across the Middle East are implementing ESG in 2023

Dubai, UAE: Green Future Project (GFP), a B-Corp providing end-to-end solutions for organizations to develop and implement a corporate sustainability strategy, has observed an increase in the number of UAE-based companies looking to implement an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policy. Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at GFP, Zain Tarawneh, explains the factors that are contributing to this environmental reformation.According to a recent survey, 64% of organizations across the Middle East have adopted a formal ESG strategy; this reflects a significant increase from the previously reported 18% in 2022. Moreover, 73% of companies have made a carbon-neutral commitment or are working towards one while 40% are hopeful that Conference of the Parties 28 (COP28) will lead to governments improving ESG infrastructure and providing incentives for green growth.Zain commented: “There’s both a bottom-up and top-down movement happening, the former being pushed by mindful changes in consumer behaviour, and the latter by companies implementing reformative frameworks such as ESG and environmental policy. As a result, businesses are demonstrating an increased sense of responsibility as they strive to make a meaningful impact while remaining both profitable and competitive. ”As COP28 is set to kick off in the UAE at the end of this month, the country will not only play a key role in furthering its green agenda but also spark meaningful dialogue among key industry stakeholders and government entities to accelerate regional and global progress. With only 13% of businesses accessing sustainable finance, challenges remain with an ongoing green skills gap.“Nearly half of the organisations across the Middle East, 46% to be exact, are self-funding their ESG activities. While this is a welcome sign to usher in a greener future, more innovative green financing opportunities do exist and should be sought out to unlock the region’s full potential and enable the realization of its climate ambitions. COP28 will be an ideal platform for discussing such topics and ultimately provide benefits on a global scale,” added Zain.GFP is helping advance the UAE’s green objectives while contributing to key governmental mandates such as UAE Net Zero 2050. The company is working with UAE-based organizations in sectors including digital banking, hospitality, real estate, and finance to help them pioneer sustainable action across the region. Some notable live projects and partnerships include collaborations with companies such as Lune, Atteline, Gulf Capital, Silkhaus, and Sharjah Sustainable City[2]. To date, GFP has helped over 100 businesses globally in its decarbonization journeys while also planting 427,152 trees, protecting 85.48 hectares of rainforest, planting 229 corals for reef restoration, offsetting more than 26,905.62 tonnes of CO2, and producing over 14,675,674 kW of renewable energyürkiye

$651mln invested towards climate tech startups across MENA and Türkiye

CE-Ventures, the corporate venture capital platform of Crescent Enterprises, has partnered with MAGNiTT, the leading venture capital data platform in the MEAPT region [Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Türkiye], to unveil 'The State of Climate Tech Venture Capital Report’. This groundbreaking and timely report delves deep into the dynamic landscape of climate tech investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Türkiye region, providing insights into key trends, challenges, and opportunities in this rapidly evolving sector.The report provides a comprehensive overview of climate tech investments in the region and highlights the importance of harnessing innovative technologies to combat climate change. With existing technologies holding the potential to mitigate 65% of all emissions, the report underscores the significance of further advancements to bridge the remaining 35% emissions gap.Key Highlights from the Report:Record-setting climate tech Investment: Climate tech investments reached an unprecedented global total of US$ 82 billion in 2022, marking a 20% increase from the previous year.In the MENA and Türkiye region, US$ 651 million were invested in 148 startups between 2018 and 2022.2022 was a record year for climate tech funding in the MENA & Türkiye region with total investment crossing a quarter billion dollars for the first time ever and resulting in a 50% increase compared to the previous year.The UAE leads the region with 62% of total climate tech venture funding, while Türkiye saw the greatest number of deals at 80.During H1 2023, the region has seen 30 transactions executed, which already represents 60% of the total number of transactions in the previous year.Startups in the agriculture sector, developing solutions towards climate resiliency, accounted for a majority of the venture capital invested over the past 5.5 years.Commenting on the report, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and COP28 Special Representative for Business & Philanthropy said: "The Middle East is highly exposed to the effects of climate change. Our natural water scarcity, coupled with temperatures rising at twice the global average, foreshadow an increase in drought and extreme weather events that can impact hundreds of millions of lives. This ‘State of Climate Tech Venture Capital Report’ highlights the ingenuity of our regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, where investors, ecosystem enablers, and policy leaders are coming together to develop a multi-pronged approach towards addressing climate change. We need to move faster, and together, if we are to meet the challenge and embrace this essential opportunity.”Philip Bahoshy, CEO of MAGNiTT added: "We are excited to unveil our collaboration with CE-Ventures, the regional leader in the climate tech industry. As the expert VC data platform in MEAPT, we are keen to be first to present insights on the region’s industry. We are confident that our transparent data, though in its infancy for this particular subject, will spark increased interest, educate enthusiasts, and foster essential dialogues, particularly with COP28 on the horizon. Over the past few years, the sector has witnessed a remarkable surge in investor interest, boasting an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 62% from 2018 to 2022, resulting in a pinnacle of $256 million in capital deployment in 2022. We eagerly anticipate the industry’s continued progression and development."The launch of the report is timely, as it is a month ahead of the beginning of COP28 UAE, which will include the convening of leading business leaders and philanthropists from around the world at ‘Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum’, COP28’s private sector engagement platform.

UAE’s rising stars head to Arab Youth Hackathon final during COP28

Dubai:  PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Center (AYC) have announced three teams from the UAE for the Arab Youth Hackathon final, following a three-day bootcamp hosted by PepsiCo, PepsiCo Foundation, Plug and Play and AYC. The regional entrepreneurship program aims to create smarter solutions for climate-related issues in agriculture, circular economy, water security, and renewable energy. The bootcamp took place at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, where finalists received mentorship through curated workshops from industry and subject matter experts. The first day kicked off with sustainability activities and introductions to help set workshop objectives, followed by an ideation assignment to help identify the strongest ideas. Over the next two days, participants learned more about design thinking, evolving an idea into a viable product, and green communications, complete with mentor-led working sessions. This extensive training culminated in a final pitch to a judging panel of five experts across the innovation, sustainability, and business development spectrum to hone in on the top three winners from the UAE. The entries were evaluated based on their sustainability alignment, ability to reduce emissions, and the magnitude of impact on areas under the four pillars of the competition (Water, Agriculture, Climate and Circular Economy).Esaal, SolAir, and Krabby are now set to compete against other regional challengers at COP28, as part of the Arab entrepreneurship program. Esaal, represented by a trio of founders from the United Arab Emirates University, includes Reem AlMussabeh, Alhasan Farajallah, and Anas Al-Tomili. Their idea revolves around a digital analytics platform, aiming to revolutionize business decision-making. Esaal eliminates paper receipts and transforms them into smart digital receipts, offering actionable insights.SolAir, led by founders Keegan Cobb and Azzan Farooq, both from the American University of Sharjah, boasts an innovative concept. They have developed an autonomous device that utilizes pressurized air to linearly clean solar panels, all without the need for water. This innovation aims to maintain solar panels at their maximum efficiency, contributing to sustainable energy solutions.Krabby, a team led by founders Harsh Garg, Sanober Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Anurag Kumar Jha from BITS Pilani, presents an autonomous coral restoration service. Employing artificial intelligence, Krabby identifies healthy coral fragments and transplants them to suitable locations, contributing to coral reef preservation.Aamer Sheikh, CEO – Middle East at PepsiCo said, “Through the Arab Youth Hackathon, we are advancing COP28’s goal to promote youth engagement in climate action. There is incredible innovative potential in the region, and we believe we have a role to play in creating an environment for young people’s collective action and innovation to be supported and accelerated. We’re inspired to see the caliber of young climate challengers in the region and look forward to working closely with our partners to support entrepreneurs at all business stages.”Mr. Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director - Arab Youth Center said, “The Arab Youth Hackathon is a vital initiative to engage young people and capture their visions. It also harnesses the creativity and potential of promising talent in our region. Through this initiative, we are working to empower young people to find effective solutions to pressing climate challenges.” He added. “Youth’s valuable participation in the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties (COP28) is an affirmation of the will of Arab youth to lead a meaningful transformation towards a sustainable future, and we look forward to seeing their creative imprint on the global stage.”Jordan Bray, Country Director UAE, Plug and Play said, “We are genuinely excited by the outstanding ideas showcased by the UAE's young innovators during the Arab Youth Hackathon. Fostering regional talent is at the core of Plug and Play's mission, and we believe in these young innovators' potential to create a more sustainable future. Congratulations to the three UAE finalists, and we eagerly anticipate their contributions to the global dialogue at COP28. We have full confidence that their innovative solutions will drive meaningful and lasting change on an international scale.”Finalists from Egypt were announced last week, with Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia expected to follow in the coming weeks. The finals of the competition, featuring 15 of the most promising solutions from the five countries, will be happening in the Youth Hub taking place on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai. The three best innovators will receive an equity-free seed fund from the PepsiCo Foundation to launch their businesses, worth $30,000 for the winner, $20,000 for the runner-up, and $10,000 for the second runner-up. In addition, they will participate in a one-month incubation program that will help them develop and scale their groundbreaking ideas and ensure long-term success.

Masdar City releases Ad film to revamp brand identity

Masdar City, billed as the first ever low-carbon, low-waste city, has released a new ad film to initiate its revamped brand identity and bring forth the offerings of the sustainable city.The ad film titled, ‘Sustainable Living, Made Easy,’ has been developed in partnership with Stew Game and Tim Orr from Films by Nomad. It is directed and produced by Philip Clyde-Smith. The ad film is all about how living sustainably can come with its set of difficulties and challenges but then it shows Masdar City can help solve these struggles and live a green lifestyle easily.The campaign has been launched in order to align with the upcoming COP28 that will take place in the UAE towards the end of the year.The problems are shown in a series of lighthearted scenes in which people are cycling in their office to generate electricity, a person running to make it to their meeting and an electric car running out of battery. Than it shows how living and working in Masdar City can solve these small problems. From electric scooters, autonomous green vehicles to future tech, the city showcases its solutions to make living sustainably easier.The campaign shifts away from the typical fear-based sustainability approach and refocuses on acknowledging people's efforts, even when they are facing challenges, rather than just highlighting what they are not doing enough of.                         Nermeen Negm, Head of Marketing and Communications at Masdar City, points out that the ad aims to break away from the stereotypical environmental fear-mongering tactics, and instead, inspire and celebrate the proactive efforts of individuals in embracing sustainability. According to her, at Masdar City, sustainable living isn’t just a concept; it’s "our way of life."

Live events agency Identity opens two UAE offices

Dubai: Identity, a global full-service events company with over 20 years of blue-chip experience, announced the expansion of its business to the Middle East with the opening of two new offices in the United Arab Emirates. Building on the successful delivery of some of the largest HMG-led events including the G7 Summit, COP26, and the NATO Summit, Identity is bringing production expertise coupled with innovative broadcast technology to deliver the world’s largest hybrid events to the Middle East.The UAE is a hub for major events, from corporate conferences to world-class sporting events, and this launch will position Identity to continue meeting the growing demand for top-tier event planning and management in the region.Michael Gietzen, CEO, Identity Group, said, “The region is rapidly becoming a global hub for entertainment, business, and sporting events, and the UAE is a natural home for Identity’s offices. The global events industry has witnessed a positive shift, particularly in the region, with the ushering in of COP28 ascending global conversations to new heights from the heart of the UAE. As we continue to drive influential events, the appetite for human experiences beyond the digital realm is needed more than ever to strengthen the fabric of communities and society. The UAE is the perfect hotspot for the Identity team and industry practitioners alike to propel in a fast-paced region like the Middle East.”Ryan Perkins, General Manager, Identity Middle East, said, “We are thrilled to announce Identity’s UAE offices, bringing us closer to our regional partners across the Middle East. This expansion is a testament to our commitment to delivering exceptional experiences for our clients. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in delivering live experiential events and pioneering the human experience, supporting the UAE’s burgeoning position as a safe, secure, and accessible hub for global gatherings and a top choice for international business, entertainment, and cultural events.”Identity is working on significant projects won in the region alongside public sector organisations, with exciting opportunities on the horizon.Following Identity’s success in the UK and Europe, the agency has now expanded into the UAE with offices in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Shaping its organisational structure in the UAE to create new market space, Identity harnesses a unique understanding of both clients and suppliers across the spectrum of the industry continuing to design a positive impact across its UAE business.