• Monday, 19 February 2018
  • Published inFebruary 2018

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Country Risk Update – Oman
Risk Indicator – DB4d
Risk Level – Moderate
Ratings Trend – Deteriorating
Oman looks to reduce its reliance on Saudi food imports (which can be subject to political interference) by strengthening its food security.The government is targeting high-end tourism as an area for growth.The ports of Sohar and Salalah are emerging as regionally competitive infrastructure facilities, soon to be joined by Al Duqm.

Market Overview

Nearly 20 Million Jobs In The Middle East Could Be Automated
Nearly 45% of existing jobs in the Middle East could be automated in the near future, a new study has shown.According to a recent survey done by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the potential for automation could translate into large scale economic value and opportunities within the Middle East region. The survey of six Middle Eastern countries showed that $366.6 billion in wage income and 20.8 million full-time equivalent employees are associated with activities that are already technically automatized today.​However, this might not be applicable across all sectors. Research has shown that certain sectors are more suitable for automation than others as they follow a routine. Manufacturing, transportation and warehousing were found to be the most suitable for automation while arts, entertainment, recreation, healthcare and education- all of which require human interaction- had the lowest potential for automation.

Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank Signs Deal With Ripple
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with the U.S.-based blockchain company Ripple to help participating banks in the kingdom use its enterprise software to instantly facilitate cross-border payments.The pilot program is the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank, the company said in a statement. The central bank’s partnership with Ripple will potentially transform how banks in the Kingdom send money globally, while allowing bank customers access to faster, cheaper and more transparent cross-border transactions. As part of the deal, SAMA will also provide interested banks in Saudi with program management and training.​SAMA is the second central bank globally to introduce Ripple’s blockchain-based cross-border payments platform, following the Bank of England’s pilot project in 2017.

Careem Forays Into Food Delivery Through Acquisition of U.A.E.’s RoundMenu
Ride-hailing app Careem will now start testing food delivery services in the U.A.E. after the acquisition of online restaurant reserving and food delivery platform RoundMenu for an undisclosed amount, the company said.The investment signifies Careem’s ambitions to diversify within a competitive market. The startup, which is Uber’s rival in the region, has so far picked up Saudi Arabia-based food delivery service Enwani and Morocco’s taxi-booking service Taxii. Recently it launched Box, a delivery service that allows users to have items such as keys and documents delivered at a certain location. The service is similar to what companies such as Fetchr and Aramex offer.Careem’s buyout of RoundMenu would further help it to expand its footprint in the region’s lucrative food delivery space—a market where its rival Uber has a presence in form of Uber EATS.

Indian Billionaire B. R. Shetty Is Now Venturing Into Higher Education
After building a healthcare empire in the U.A.E., Abu Dhabi-based Indian billionaire B. R. Shetty is entering the region’s lucrative higher education sector. This week, Shetty’s BRS Ventures inked a deal with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)—one of the top-ranked management schools in India—to establish the first IIMA extension center in Dubai.The new center will offer all the academic and training expertise while BRS Ventures will be responsible for the infrastructure, logistics and industry links. New IIMA will add on to a crowded education sector in the U.A.E. and particularly Dubai. The emirate is home to the satellite campuses of many international B-school giants like UOWD, London Business School, CASS Business Schools and SP Jain School of Global Management while the neighboring Abu Dhabi houses campuses of NYU, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

Mumzworld Secures Its Largest Funding Round To Date Led By Swicorp And Wamda
Mumzworld, the ecommerce portal dedicated to new mothers and children, raised their biggest round of funding on February 14, 2018. The funding round was led by Swicorp and Wamda with a significant investment from the Tamer Group and other investors.While the company did not disclose the amount of new investment, the funds will be used to grow the company across Saudi Arabia and North Africa.​Alongside Swicorp and Tamer Group, other new investors include prominent Saudi groups operating in the ‘mother and child’ categories with both manufacturing and distribution capacities. These investments will not only fund the growth, but will also help the company build strategic partnerships especially in the Kingdom—the region’s largest market—which is going to be the main focus of Mumzworld in the coming year.​Founded by successful entrepreneurs and mothers Mona Ataya and Leena Khalil in October 2011 in Dubai,  Mumzworld  sells over 200,000 products to choose from. Out of these 20,000 products are sold exclusively.​

Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE
Dubai Lynx 2018
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
11 March 2018 To 14 March 2018
Business Updates

Dun & Bradstreet – D&B Credit
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