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Melissa Hancock

Associate Editor

Melissa has covered the Mena region for 15 years, during which time she has written for a range of well-known publications. Her past specialism lies in reporting on the region’s banking and finance industry. She has travelled the region extensively and lived and worked in Dubai

Melissa Hancock
President Erdogan and his wife Emine received his Togg T10X, Turkey's first domestically-produced electric car, in April

Turkey’s EV production finally gets into gear

Turkey has long been a manufacturing base for the global auto industry, producing vehicles for more than a dozen industry giants such as Ford, Toyota and Renault. Its transition into electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing has been slow to materialise, but the country is now making up for lost time.  First announced in 2017, 2023 saw […]

The Saudi PIF has pledged to buy up to 100,000 vehicles from US EV maker Lucid, in which it has a 60% stake

Saudi and Morocco vie for lead in Mena EV race

Two clear frontrunners in the global electric vehicle race have emerged in the Middle East and North Africa region.  Both Saudi Arabia and Morocco have accelerated efforts to develop their EV capabilities in 2023, with a series of multi-million-dollar investments and partnership deals.  The two kingdoms see the EV industry as central to achieving economic […]

Workers make tiles at a small factory in Old Cairo. The EBRD provided €400 million to SMEs in Egypt in 2023.

Egypt to receive half EBRD regional funding in 2024 

Egypt will receive the lion’s share of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s regional funding in 2024, having accounted for about 55 percent of its funds this year, the regional head of the EBRD has told AGBI.  “Egypt is by far our largest country of operation in the region and will account for more […]

Acwa Power’s board has approved a dividend payment of SAR329 million for 2023

Digital platform targets Gulf green energy deal-making

A new digital platform aims to facilitate deal-making between institutional investors and deal sponsors as Gulf states ramp up investment in green energy projects both at home and abroad.  “When executives announce a pledge of X billion investment, and then start thinking, ‘Okay, how do we actually put that to work?’, they can go onto […]

Halving emissions from the UAE's buildings is going to be a challenge, according to Mubadala subsidiary Solutions+

Mubadala unit banks on decarbonising buildings

The UAE has set a target of reducing emissions in its building sector by 56 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. This is part of the country’s broader efforts to slash emissions by 40 percent by the end of the current decade.  However, it is going to be difficult for the UAE to reach […]

Cop28 agriculture UAE

Cop28 funds pave the way for Mena agricultural innovation

In 2022 Morocco suffered its worst drought in 40 years. It had a devastating impact on agricultural productivity – the country’s cereal production plunged by 60 percent and 280,000 jobs were lost. Thousands of miles to the east, motorists on the main road from the UAE to Oman see dead and dying palm trees on […]

An Abu Dhabi Police car. Danilo Coppola was arrested in the emirate on December 6

Abu Dhabi arrests man wanted by Italy for financial crimes

Emirati police have arrested an Italian businessman who is wanted in connection with financial crimes in his home country. Danilo Coppola, 56, was stopped on December 6 at a shopping centre in Abu Dhabi. Local sources said the arrest followed an Interpol alert – a sign of the UAE’s growing co-operation with international law enforcement. […]

Technology from Independent Growth Solutions will be used at the Dubai 'gigafarm'

Agriculture investment fund doubles since Cop27 to $17bn

Investment in a UAE and US-led global agriculture and food initiative has reached $17 billion, as the Cop 28 conference saw a slew of developments in the sector. The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (Aim for Climate) aims to address climate change and global hunger through increased investment in “climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation” […]

dubai taxi ipo, dubai, taxi, transport

Dubai Taxi shares jump 19% in debut trading

Dubai Taxi Company shares rose by 19 percent in its debut trading on Thursday after a $315 million initial public offering (IPO), marking the emirate’s first privatisation in over a year. Shares in Dubai Taxi opened at AED2.20 ($0.60) on the Dubai Financial Market, according to data from the stock exchange website. The offer price […]

Methane testing a cow in Canada. Livestock is responsible for about 30 percent of global methane emissions

Dairy companies vow to cut methane emissions

Six of the world’s largest dairy companies will soon begin disclosing their annual methane emissions as part of a new global alliance launched at the Cop28 summit in Dubai on Tuesday.   Nestlé, Danone, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Bel Group and Lactalis will begin reporting their methane emissions by mid-2024 and will write action plans by […]

Water scarcity in Iraq is impacting on Mustafa Ahmed, 13, forcing his family to sell their buffalo

UAE pledges $150m for Mena water security

A $150 million commitment from the UAE at Cop28 to fund water security solutions in vulnerable countries is a step in the right direction but more must be done to address the issue, say experts. Speaking at a panel discussion at the climate change conference in Dubai, Ramadan Assi, executive adviser for strategic partnerships at […]

A quarter of Dubai businesses surveyed took environmental initiatives ahead of delegates arriving at Cop28

Dubai businesses stepped up sustainability ahead of Cop28

Dubai companies accelerated their sustainability initiatives in the run-up to the UAE’s hosting of the Cop28 summit, which commenced on Thursday.   According to a survey of Dubai companies conducted by AGBI and the British Business Group (BBG), more than one quarter (26 percent) of the BBG’s 72 members said they had ramped up their sustainability initiatives in the […]

Consumer concern over food prices has boosted the rise of discount supermarkets in the UAE

Food inflation leads to rise of Gulf discount operators

Rising food costs in the Gulf over the last two years have spurred an increase in the number of discount operators entering the market.  The food and beverage category of the UAE’s consumer price index rose from 100.3 in 2021 to 107.5 in 2022, and is forecast to rise further to 111.8 in 2023, according […]

Recycling is among the top conservation priorities for British businesses in Dubai

Businesses view recycling and water as climate priorities

Recycling, water conservation and protecting nature are the top priorities for tackling climate change, according to a survey of Dubai companies conducted by AGBI and the British Business Group to coincide with the Cop28 climate summit. Of the 72 BBG member businesses asked, more than three quarters (79 percent) plan to prioritise recycling over the […]

TotalEnergies has joined Octopus and Taqa in funding the Xlinks renewables project

TotalEnergies invests $25m in Xlinks

TotalEnergies announced on Wednesday that it has invested £20 million ($25.4 million) to acquire a minority stake in Xlinks, the company overseeing the £22 billion Morocco-UK renewables project.  The French oil and gas major joins fellow investors Octopus Energy and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), the UAE’s largest power producer, which gave a substantial […]

Saudi banks remain well capitalised, said one analyst

Saudi’s top 10 banks post 3.8% rise in profits

Saudi Arabia’s 10 largest listed banks saw net income rise 3.8 percent to SAR18 billion ($4.8 billion) in the third quarter of 2023, driven by higher loan growth and interest income.  In light of the Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate (Saibor) increasing by 13 basis points in the third quarter, aggregate total interest income increased by […]

GCC leaders gathered in Riyadh last month. Free trade talks with the UK are continuing

UK-GCC free trade deal is still best bet, says minister

Britain’s investment minister has told AGBI he still supports a free trade agreement between the UK and the GCC, despite the protracted negotiations and calls for Gulf states to strike bilateral deals instead.  Speaking on the sidelines of the Arab British Economic Summit in London on Monday, Dominic Johnson, a minister of state in the […]

The UAE minister of climate change and environment, Mariam Almheiri, right

Agtech in spotlight as Mena startup funding recovers

Startup funding in the Mena region in October remained subdued on a year-on-year basis, but agtech is one of the areas set to shine. Mena startups raised $156 million in October, compared to $646 million raised in October 2022, but vastly up on the $36 million raised in September, according to data from Wamda, a […]

Markets find it 'very hard' to price geopolitical events, said UBS wealth management CIO Mark Haefele

Investors unsure on pricing Gaza conflict, says UBS

Global investors and markets are “not sure” how to price in the fallout from the Israel-Gaza conflict, according to Swiss private wealth bank UBS.  “It’s very hard for the markets to price these events,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer in the global wealth management division at Swiss bank UBS, told reporters on Thursday. “So far, […]

Egypt's PM Mostafa Madbouly greets President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

China shows faith in Egypt with deeper investment

When President Xi Jinping welcomed the prime minister of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouly, to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People in October, it was a signal that China is stepping up bilateral co-operation with Cairo. Their meeting, on the sidelines of the Belt and Road forum, took place as Egypt grapples with mounting debt and delays […]

Traders at the Bahrain stock market. New platform Absolute Collateral will enable banks within each country to trade bonds together

Bahraini ‘repo’ platform targets GCC-wide trading

A new platform focused on repurchase agreements has launched in Bahrain with the aim of increasing trading liquidity for bonds across the Gulf.  A repurchase agreement, also known as a “repo”, is a form of short-term borrowing, mainly in government securities. Repo transactions between banks allow them to manage their liquidity. One side with excess […]

CDB's cash injection is to help finance projects agreed upon with Egypt during the third Belt and Road Initiative summit

China injects $956m into Egypt’s central bank

The China Development Bank (CDB) has injected ¥7 billion ($956 million) into Egypt’s central bank to help finance projects agreed upon during the third Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit last month.  The funds are part of a loan agreement signed during the summit in Beijing, as well as the nine programmes outlined in 2021’s […]