Author: Fatema Fouad

This article first appeared in April’s print edition of Business Monthly. With its vast resources, the MENA region possesses the potential to thrive and excel in the global economy, establishing a position as a formidable powerhouse. Ahmed Ismail, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said in January, “With Saudi Arabia becoming the first trillion-dollar economy in MENA, the UAE delivering record non-oil growth and Egypt achieving a positive trajectory despite recent compounding and challenging headwinds … they represent the fastest growing economic block in the world.” Increased economic activity in those countries should allow them to fuel an expansion in…

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This article first appeared in March’s print edition of Business Monthly. Festive buying gives marketers an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen their brand footprint by tapping into customers’ festive spirit, creating an emotional connection. According to ObjectSol Technologies, a software development company, “Festive seasons present a golden opportunity for businesses to boost sales and enhance brand visibility.” There is no more festive event than the holy month of Ramadan, which starts this year on March 10 and ends on April 9. It is a season that witnesses changes in marketing strategies to adapt to significantly more consumption. “Ramadan retail sales were…

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This article first appeared in February’s print edition of Business Monthly. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have become an indispensable business component, significantly reshaping the labor market dynamics. Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the World Economic Forum (WEF), noted that in 2023, “labor market transformations driven by technological breakthroughs, such as the coming of age of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) [which can generate bespoke content], were being compounded by economic and geopolitical disruptions and growing social and environmental pressures.” While the first idea associated with AI is that it might replace people in workplaces, the WEF report says AI will create…

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This article first appeared in February’s print edition of Business Monthly. Social media platforms have become instrumental in influencing buying decisions, as their reach spans almost everyone with an internet connection. “Social media has given consumers a bigger voice and new channels to communicate with brands and share their opinions with peers,” noted The Keen Folks, a developer of AI tools for businesses, in a September 2023 post. Users, particularly the young generation, increasingly use social media to search for written, audio, and video content. According to Google’s internal data for 2022, nearly 40% of Gen Z, born between 1997…

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Throughout 2023, the global economy has encountered an array of volatilities due to the war in Ukraine, inflation, rising international debt, the crisis in the Gaza Strip, and others. In October, the IMF published three annual reports: World Economic Outlook 2023, Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia, and a special issue on Africa analyzing economic growth outlooks in 2024. Egypt’s economic prospects in 2024 and beyond are closely linked to the global economy, with important trade relations with the United States, the EU, China, Russia, and the GCC. “Egyptian manufacturers … depend heavily on imported inputs…

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Ranked 14th most populous country in the world with over 112 million people inhabiting only 13.7% of the total area of the country’s 1 million square kilometers, pressure is rising on existing cities’ infrastructures. Accordingly, the government is in the process of expanding its livable land by developing new urban areas. According to the World Bank, 70% of the global population will reside in cities by 2050, compared to 56% today. This rapid urbanization will increase emissions and pressure on public services, such as healthcare, transportation, and education. Accordingly, governments are keen on utilizing smart solutions. “If cities are our…

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The international community increasingly recognizes the importance of coalitions such as the G20, which includes the world’s biggest 19 economies and the EU. Such alliances offer valuable support and assist in economic, trade, energy, and climate discussions. In September, the Financial Times noted that advanced and emerging economies can no longer live in isolated pockets: “The health of our planet and our economy depends on our cooperation.” In September, the African Union (AU) joined the G20 and earned a permanent seat as the second regional bloc in the group. Given Africa’s untapped economic potential and fast-growing population, such a step…

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As governments accelerate the digital transformation of their economies, they must ensure that citizens and businesses are comfortable making payments online. “The MENA region has actively embraced digital payments, enabled by a supportive government focus and a strategic push toward digital, or cashless, economies,” according to Fast Company Middle East,  a business media platform. To give citizens more access to financial services, Egypt has pushed for more use of financial technology (fintech) such as electronic payment systems, mobile payment apps, mobile wallets, and contactless payments. But it is more than just the end consumer that should be using digital payment…

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Developing sustainable, eco-friendly methods to process raw materials abundantly available in Egypt, but little used locally, might be an economic boon. The processed raw material could be exported to new markets, something the Egyptian government has been working on since the war in Ukraine amid ongoing supply chain bottlenecks. In the long term, local industries might find new uses for those raw materials. A case in point is the sustainable production of spirulina, freshwater microalgae high in antioxidants used as a nutritional supplement. Local companies hardly use it, and those that do import it. Imtenan Group, a food and health…

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