Spotlight on $30bn franchise in the Middle East market 

Munir Mohammed Nasser. (SPA)
Updated 30 June 2019

Spotlight on $30bn franchise in the Middle East market 

  • Saudi Arabia has acquired 50 percent of the market value of the franchising market in the Middle East and North Africa

MADINAH: With a market value of $30 billion and an annual growth rate of 27 percent, franchising is the fastest-growing non-oil sector in the Middle East region, according to Munir Mohammed Nasser, chairman of the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 
Nasser was speaking at the World Franchise Exhibition held at the chamber’s exhibition center in Madinah. The event, which the chamber has organized in cooperation with Three Dimensions for Events and Exhibitions, coincides with the UN’s Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day.
Nasser said that the exhibition promotes local talent and products, gathers international brands and develops investment in the province. He said franchising is the ideal model for both the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector as it contributes 4 to 5 percent of a country’s GDP and provides 6 percent of private sector jobs in countries with advanced franchising systems.
The Kingdom has acquired 50 percent of the market value of the franchising market in the Middle East and North Africa, which has become the fastest-growing non-oil sector, he said.
The exhibition has expanded its presence, with 56 participants from around the world, 12 from Madinah and 17 from outside Saudi Arabia. SPA Madinah

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”