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Gulf Capital's Karim El Solh believes a stronger investment banking sector "would help all players"

GCC private equity sector held back by lack of competition

The GCC private equity industry is failing to reach its potential because of a lack of competition and a scarcity of local investment banks to help in dealmaking, according to Karim El Solh, chief executive of investment firm Gulf Capital. He believes a more mature investment banking industry would bring more players into private equity […]


5G set to boost smartphone market value in the region

Shipments of 5G smartphones to the Middle East and Africa region grew 47 percent last year, according to the latest industry data from Counterpoint Research Market Monitor. The MEA region made up an 18 percent share of the overall shipments. While globally 5G smartphone prices are dropping as a result of the availability of more […]

US senators reintroduce bill to stop Opec output cuts

A group of bipartisan US senators said they have reintroduced legislation to pressure the Opec oil production group to stop making output cuts. The so-called “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels” (Nopec) bill was reintroduced by senators Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, as well as others on the judiciary committee. If passed by the committee, both […]

Global Ventures has previously invested in agtech companies including RedSea, which last year announced an $18.5m strategic fund to support its global and regional expansion plans

Bright outlook but no more ‘growth at all costs’ for startups

The challenging venture capital market means Mena startups are focusing on short-term profit rather than “growth at all costs”, according to a VC expert specialising in emerging markets. Simon Sharp, partner at Global Ventures in Dubai, said that the lower funding expectations of founders has had an impact on valuations. “That leads into the conversation that it […]

Terminal 4 at DP World's Jebel Ali Port – which formed part of the region's biggest M&A deal in 2022

Mena merger activity hits ‘unprecedented’ levels

When Dubai-based headhunter Dulsco acquired Scottish energy personnel specialist Advance Global Recruitment this week, it was the latest deal in a mergers and acquisitions market that analysts say is growing at an “unprecedented” rate. The EY Middle East and North Africa M&A Insights 2022 report found that the Mena region – which historically records 500-600 […]

People, Person, Woman, Man

GCC firms compete for talent as they expand workforce

Gulf employers, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, expect to expand their workforces further this year, boosting salaries as organisations vie to hire the region’s best talent. Top recruitment agency Hays surveyed about 4,500 working professionals in the GCC in the final three months of 2022. It found that last year 67 percent of […]

doctor, stethoscope, phone

Mandatory health coverage boosts Middle East insurance sector

Mandatory health insurance requirements swelled Gulf insurers’ income last year, although growth will slow in 2023 and profitability remains a challenge despite the coverage boom. Those are some of the findings in a report by S&P Global Ratings which predicts easing inflationary and supply chain pressures should lower costs arising from property, motor and casualty […]

MAF opened the City Centre Al Zahia mall in Sharjah in 2021

MAF unveils plan to open more malls in Egypt, Saudi and UAE

Retail and property conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim has unveiled plans to expand in the GCC and North Africa as consumer confidence rises. The Dubai-based company said it wanted “further expansion in high growth potential markets such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as well as in its home market, the UAE, amid a resurgence in consumer […]

Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, second from right, shows the Princess Royal her wares

Say cheese! Syrian refugee to take halloumi startup to Gulf

A Syrian refugee who moved to the UK and set up a halloumi cheese company is looking to the Gulf as one of her first markets for international expansion. “We are always looking for investment because we know that we’ve got high demand in the UK,” Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, told […]

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE minister of economy

Interest rates to surpass 5% but experts predict drop

Interest rates will climb beyond 5 percent by the middle of 2023 before stabilising later in the year, according to senior UAE banking experts. Martin Tricaud, group head of investment banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank, warned there was no timeline to predict when rates would start to fall, but he remained confident that “the […]

GCC dollar peg

GCC sticking with the dollar peg, but changes could be afoot

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were joined by Iraq this week in exploring alternatives to the dollar for non-oil global trade. While industry experts believe the dollar peg will remain in the short term, they say a move to decouple from the US greenback could soon become a reality. The UAE has been working with […]

People, Person, Man, farm

AeroFarms: the US business growing up (and up) in the Gulf

Agtech giant AeroFarms is seeding its indoor vertical farms all over the Gulf, launching significant ventures in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The US company is set to play a pivotal role in tackling problems of farming in the desert-climate region, which has historically imported around 90 percent of its food requirements. AeroFarms claims […]

Aquaculture is part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 programme to diversify its economy

Baiting the hook to develop Saudi’s aquaculture industry

Aquaculture – farming in water – is the world’s fastest-growing food sector, accounting for more than half of global seafood supply. For Saudi Arabia, eager to bolster its food security and to build non-oil exports, this is an opportunity. On February 12, Arabian Agricultural Services Company (Arasco) signed an agreement with Neom Food and Cargill, […]

People, Person, Man, cart

Top 10 agtech innovators shaping the Mena market

Lush plains criss-crossed by fresh water lakes and grasslands where hippos and elephants roamed. This was the Arabian peninsula in prehistoric times, according to archaeologists who have uncovered traces of fertile landscapes beneath the desert sands. Today the terrain looks very different, as the region’s governments race to confront food scarcity on a warming planet. […]

People, Person, Adult

Coronation, Eurovision and tea to entice Gulf travellers to UK

The coronation of King Charles III, Liverpool’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest, and Britain’s obsession with drinking tea are some elements set to feature in a marketing campaign to encourage more Gulf travellers to visit the UK this spring. VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, said spending by GCC-based tourists visiting the UK climbed above […]

Asian Agri's Buatan oil palm plantation in Riau, Indonesia. Apical is one of the largest exporters of refined palm oil in the country

Top Gulf banks help raise $787m in sustainable credits

Two leading Gulf banks have helped arrange nearly $800 million in sustainability-linked loans for a leading agricultural producer based in Singapore, as local institutions prioritise green lending in their portfolios.  First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank by assets, and National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s biggest financial institution, acted as lead arrangers, […]

The Russia-Ukraine war continues near the frontline town of Bakhmut on February 21

One year on, what the war in Ukraine means for the Middle East

A year since Russia invaded Ukraine, the war’s impacts are reverberating across the Middle East and North Africa.  While some Gulf oil producers have prospered during the conflict, it has heaped suffering on some of the most fragile and volatile economies in the region.  “It has contributed to the difficulties in Egypt and the worsening […]

Factory, Building, Architecture

Southeast Asian investors flocking to Gulf to deploy capital

A growing number of businesses from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are investing and expected to set up operations in the GCC to capitalise on deepening trade links. Freddie Neve, senior Middle East associate at UK-based think tank Asia House, said that rapidly expanding ties between the Gulf and emerging economies in Asia […]

solar panels, woman, man, helmet

Sunny times ahead for Gulf’s solar market

Developers are making the most of an expanding pool of public tenders for the Gulf’s solar market, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia leading the way. Experts said the sector was in a healthy state despite the coronavirus pandemic and war in Ukraine curbing development, compounded further by the global spike in inflation during 2022. […]