GCC telecoms urged to seize blockchain opportunity

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Jad Hajj, partner with Strategy& Middle East.
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Dr. Daniel Diemers, partner with Strategy& in Zurich.
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Ramzi Khoury, principal with Strategy& Middle East.
Updated 01 July 2019
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GCC telecoms urged to seize blockchain opportunity

Blockchain technology is expected to have a tremendous impact on GCC national economies. To harness its full potential, telecom operators have to adopt the right strategy, operating model, partnerships, and capabilities for their selected blockchain value proposition, and engage with regulators, according to a recent study by Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network. 

The new study discusses the benefits that blockchain can offer and how telecom operators in the Middle East and North Africa are positioned to profit from this technology. 

Dr. Daniel Diemers, partner with Strategy& in Zurich, said: “Blockchain as a technology has been adopted by businesses across various industries and its potential is expected to reach $96 billion by 2024, according to market estimates. Like other industries, we are witnessing an increased adoption of blockchain technology within the telecom sector.” 

Blockchain is one way to reassure customers that their information is protected. Due to its encryption technology and the dispersal of information, it is very difficult to hack and is not susceptible to a single point of technical failure. It can also reduce transaction costs by removing unnecessary middlemen and document duplication.

According to the study, internally, blockchain can streamline telecom operators’ storage of customer identities, reduce the costs of number portability, and facilitate roaming services between multiple operators. 

“However, telecom operators have to adapt,” said Jad Hajj, partner with Strategy& Middle East. “They must carefully analyze their own capabilities before selecting their value proposition and a target market. A portfolio of relevant use cases for each target market is needed for more effective marketing and business development.” 

Ramzi Khoury, principal with Strategy& Middle East, said: “There has been limited adoption of blockchain within the MENA region, although there is considerable interest in the countries of the GCC. Interestingly, GCC organizations are creating the very partnerships that telecom operators should consider.”

Dubai’s government is planning for all visa applications, bill payments, and license renewals to be transacted digitally using blockchain. 

Saudi Arabia’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, has declared a joint initiative with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to use blockchain to issue a digital currency for cross-border transactions.


King Abdullah Economic City launches summer festival

Updated 22 July 2019
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King Abdullah Economic City launches summer festival

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has announced the launch of the Turquoise World summer season in the coastline of turquoise water on the Red Sea. 

Taking place until Aug. 31, the festival will feature a variety of thrilling events and activities that fulfill KAEC visitors’ and residents’ expectations, particularly those who are seeking a distinctive lifestyle of recreational and entertainment within a modern environment.

“In line with the Kingdom’s ambitious vision 2030, King Abdullah Economic City is living rapid growth in its several strategic sectors, including the quality of life program along with the tourism and leisure sector, in order to create a world of entertainment at the heart of our nation,” said Ahmed Linjawy, group CEO of KAEC.

“Set to become the leading destination on the Red Sea, KAEC is fully equipped for hosting and organizing massive events and activities due to its logistical and state-of-the-art infrastructure, including world-class social, sports and leisure facilities that have been developed to provide a high-quality environment to meet the needs of those who aspire to a luxury lifestyle overlooking the virgin beaches of the Red Sea.” said Linjawy.

The “Turquoise World” festival was inspired by KAEC’s new identity “Another World” to offer an exceptional experience that has been designed to entertain all family members, with unique direct turquoise view of the Red Sea. 

The festival offers a variety of exclusive activities and events at the Beach Walk, and range of water sports at the Yam Beach, and the Bay La Sun Marina and Yacht Club, including water games at Aqua Fun, K-MAX — the first multi-dimensional movie theater in the Kingdom, and Juman Karting, among others. 

In addition to top-class hotels with an elevated standard of living and services that make KAEC an ideal destination to visit and live.

King Abdullah Economic City is the largest privately funded new city in the world, situated on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. 

KAEC covers an area of 181 sq km of land, approximately the size of Washington DC. KAEC comprises King Abdullah Port, the Coastal Communities residential districts, the Haramain Railway district and the Industrial Valley. 

The city is under development by Emaar, The Economic City, a publicly listed Saudi joint-stock company established in 2006.