Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Megha Merani


Dubai-based journalist covering all sectors in the Middle East. Bylines include Reuters, Bloomberg Middle East, Arab News, Arabian Business, MEED, Entrepreneur, 7DAYS. Grant winner from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Associate Fellow at Murdoch University, and one of 11 reporters to attend the 2020 Journalist Fellowship Summer School at the Reuters Institute For Journalism, University of Oxford

Megha Merani
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, is visiting Dubai as part of a global PR blitz aiming to dispel concerns about ChatGPT

ChatGPT founder’s visit gets Dubai talking about AI

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that created controversial artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT, is heading to Dubai this summer as part of a world tour to meet with users, developers and policymakers. Industry observers say the executive’s stop in the city is recognition of the Gulf’s digital advancement and anticipate that OpenAI will establish […]

Osman Sultan
  • Exclusive

Osman Sultan on Mena’s move from ‘telco’ to ‘techco’

Osman Sultan proclaimed in 1997 he would put “a mobile in the hand of everyone” in Egypt. At the time, even some shareholders at Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil), where he was CEO, were unsettled by his audacious statement.  Egypt’s telecoms regulator granted him a licence to become the country’s first mobile operator, but […]

Worst professionals

Professions named and shamed in UAE ‘worst reputation’ survey

Recruiters have topped a list of the worst professionals to deal with in the UAE for the third year in a row, while social media influencers offering financial advice were also targeted as “infuriating”. UAE residents were asked which industries delivered the most unreliable customer service in a survey for the fifth annual “Worst Reputation” […]

New business owners in the UAE are turning to online-only banks as they say it is too hard to open an account with a traditional lender

US fintech expands to offer UAE startups bank accounts

A US fintech is accepting applications to open bank accounts from venture capitalists and tech startups with entities formed in the UAE, a move local industry experts say will be a “wake-up call” to the Gulf’s banking sector. Online-only banks – known as neobanks – have been cashing in on the collapse of Silicon Valley […]


$5bn extra Ramadan spending splurge predicted in UAE

People in the UAE are upbeat about shopping and dining out more this Ramadan despite inflationary pressures and an elevated cost of living. Retail sales are set to rise to $66 billion over the holy month, up $5 billion compared to last year, a study by India-based Redseer Strategy Consultants says. It said that constant […]

UAE startups and neobanks

SVB collapse may boost UAE startup business for neobanks

One thing is more certain than not in the ongoing confusion caused by last week’s Silicon Valley Bank collapse: traditional lenders in the Gulf are likely to make it even more difficult for UAE startups to open bank accounts and borrow money.  Emerging digital lenders in the region are hoping that this creates a big […]

People, Person, Adult

When brands go geek: The business of Comic Con

As the Middle East Film and Comic Con, the largest popular culture festival in the region, takes place this weekend, it is not just cosplay and comic fans who will be in attendance. This year big brands are upping their pop culture marketing in a bid to stay relevant to the region’s growing young geek […]

Tower, Building, Architecture

Dubai mortgage market needs overhauling, says Gulf developer

Mortgage systems for overseas investors looking to buy completed homes in Dubai need to be overhauled, says the leader of one of the Gulf’s biggest property firms. “Dubai is a very unique market where off-plan sells higher than the ready properties,” said Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global Real Estate, Saudi Arabian real estate […]

The collapsed FTX exchange had secured approval from Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority last July before it collapsed. Its former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried is now facing fraud charges

Expert calls for crypto regulatory loopholes to be tightened

The UAE must close potential loopholes between cryptocurrency regulations established by competing financial free zones, a senior industry figure has highlighted. Different rules in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and a lack of a single federal regulator pose challenges, said Wai Lum Kwok, senior executive director of authorisation at the Financial Services Regulatory Agency at the […]

People, Person, Man

Dubai’s DIFC aims to forge new ties with reopened China

The Dubai International Financial Centre has plans to generate a new wave of interest from Chinese financial services companies as the world’s second-largest economy returns to the global stage. China reopened its borders last month, after dropping the strict controls imposed at the start of the pandemic. In 2022, when the zero-Covid restrictions were still […]

First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB

First Abu Dhabi Bank to launch crypto services

First Abu Dhabi Bank plans to introduce cryptocurrency and digital asset offerings to its customers. The move is part of a plan by the UAE’s biggest lender to implement Web3 technologies in its services to gain competitive advantage. “We’re already working on a product paper looking at how to work with crypto and digital assets,” […]

UAE’s centre stage in Bollywood blockbusters

The UAE is set to become a major post-production and financing hub for the Bollywood film industry. Acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur told AGBI: “Infrastructure for filmmaking is coming up in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and more Indian filmmakers will come to the UAE to make their films. There are very good studio facilities in Dubai […]

Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, minister of state for financial affairs, rang Nasdaq Dubai’s bell to celebrate the listing of the five-year dirham-denominated treasury bonds

UAE ‘to issue first 10-year dirham bond this year’

The UAE government is expected to issue its first ever 10-year dirham-denominated bond in 2023, a banking executive has said. Since the Gulf state announced the launch of conventional AED government treasury bonds in May last year, the Ministry of Finance has issued a total of AED9 billion-worth in two, three and five-year tenors. First […]

man, stage, clapping

Bollywood filmmaker trains camera on Gulf locations

Shekhar Kapur, the filmmaker behind Elizabeth and Bandit Queen, has partly “shifted base” to Dubai and is scouting locations in the Gulf for future projects. The Indian director, who attended the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah last December, told AGBI that the nascent film industries of Saudi Arabia and the UAE had huge potential […]

Emirates NBD's Maurice Gravier said the UAE would be a "probable winner" as trade restrictions increase

The new Switzerland: diplomacy is key to UAE’s trade success

The UAE is “the new Switzerland” and poised to reap the benefits of its good relationships with both East and West, the investment boss of one of the Gulf’s leading banks has said. Maurice Gravier, chief investment officer at Emirates NBD Group, said he believed the world needed neutral powers, “a place to speak between […]

Horacio Pagani, Argentine-Italian founder, CEO and chief design officer at his supercar company

Cars, property and superjets: Pagani plots future with PIF

Horacio Pagani, founder of the supercar that bears his name, is open to further partnerships with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as his company expands into luxury real estate and private jet design. PIF acquired a 30 percent stake in the Italian business in 2021. Pagani, who acts as its CEO and chief design officer, […]

shop, jewellery

Indians buy homemade jewellery for less in Dubai

Indians are travelling to Dubai to purchase jewellery made in their home country as it costs less in the emirates. Import duties, previously at 5 percent, were waived for jewellery exported from India to the UAE under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) signed between the two nations last year. “The prices are better,” said […]

Glove, Clothing, Portrait

Diamonds (from a lab) are the Gulf’s best friend

Basma Chaieri began her business after watching the season two finale of Netflix’s hit series Explained. The November 2019 episode, which explored the growing popularity of lab-grown diamonds, prompted the Dubai resident to quit her travel job and enrol in gemology school to study the trade. “I thought why would anyone buy a real diamond […]

West ‘unfair’ to stop Africa using fossil fuels, says Qatari minister

Barring Africa from exploiting its fossil fuel riches is “very, very, very unfair” despite the urgency to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, Qatar’s energy chief has said. Saad Al Kaabi, Qatar’s minister of energy and CEO of state-owned QatarEnergy, told a panel at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum that people needed to be realistic […]

After criticism of oil producers at Cop27, Egypt's environment minister Yasmine Fouad said all stakeholders need to be part of the conversation

$100bn ‘a drop in the ocean’ for climate action, says Cop27 host

The world still urgently needs to address the “elephant in the room” in the climate crisis, which is financing action for vulnerable developing countries, officials from Cop27 host nation Egypt said. In 2020 combined adaptation and mitigation finance flows fell at least $17 billion short of the $100 billion pledged annually to developing countries, according […]

Qatar's energy minister Saad Al Kaabi (left) took part in an open-panel discussion with his UAE counterpart Suhail Al Mazrouei at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum

EU will return to Russian gas, Qatari minister predicts

Europe will eventually return to imports of Russian gas but with reduced dependence, Qatar’s energy boss has predicted. The European Union imposed sanctions on Russian oil imports in March last year in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, pledging to wean itself off Russian energy. The sanctions were intended to limit Russia’s financing ability for […]

Sultan Al Jaber speaks at Cop26 in Glasgow. He is president of this year's UN climate conference, taking place in Dubai

Cop28 chief sets out UAE’s vision for climate finance

The UAE intends to make financing for climate change projects “more affordable [and] much more accessible”, the country’s oil chief and Cop28 president has said. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said finance reforms were needed because the world was “way off track” the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, during a speech to the Atlantic […]