Sami Al-Helwah, founder and CEO of Saudi online grocery shopping Nana Direct

Sami Al-Helwah
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Updated 29 March 2020

Sami Al-Helwah, founder and CEO of Saudi online grocery shopping Nana Direct

Sami Al-Helwah is founder and CEO of Nana Direct, an online grocery shopping and home delivery service in Saudi Arabia, since August 2016.

The service ensures that all groceries and products are carefully chosen and packaged to be delivered directly to customers’ houses — an appealing concept to many under the present circumstances.

Al-Helwah received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2004 from Qassim University.

While still studying, Al-Helwah began his career by joining ExaServe in 2002, where he worked for the next 14 years, overseeing many software and financial system projects. He was later promoted to CEO.

In 2014, Al-Helwah co-founded Sadeem, a cloud hosting service, and worked with the company for two years. 

His most recent endeavor, Nana Direct, has raised $18 million for expansion across the Middle East in order to meet the rising demand for delivery services created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Bloomberg, the funds were raised from investors, including venture capital fund STV and Middle East Venture Partners.

Nana Direct has tripled its capacity and plans to expand further with the newly imposed curfew in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Helwah spoke in an interview about the company’s objectives, as well as the opportunity to expand into a still-growing market.

“The penetration of online grocery shopping in the region is very low, and our target is to expand across the region and beyond groceries into other products,” he said. “Ultimately, we want to become the Amazon of the Middle East.”

Al-Helwah’s Twitter handle  is @SamiAlhulwah.


Saudi G20 presidency joins UN meeting on development financing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 1 min 48 sec ago

Saudi G20 presidency joins UN meeting on development financing amid COVID-19 pandemic

  • Heads of states and international organizations, representatives from NGOs and the private sector joined the UN meeting
  • The G20 International Financial Architecture (IFA) working group also held a meeting

DUBAI: Saudi G20 presidency, represented by the Kingdom’s minister of finance, joined the UN meeting titled “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond,” state news agency SPA reported.
Heads of states and international organizations, representatives from NGOs and the private sector discussed six topics mainly, global liquidity and financial stability, debt vulnerability, private sector creditors engagement, external finance and remittances for inclusive growth, illicit financial flows and recovering better for sustainability and growth.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including in its capacity as the G20 President, remains committed to work with others to address what is, first and foremost, a human tragedy, and its global health, economic and social impacts, including on the most vulnerable,” Mohammed Al-Jadaan said during the meeting.
The minister highlighted the G20’s response to the challenges in the health, economic and social sectors created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“As the president of the G20 in 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia immediately took concrete steps to drive and coordinate international response, with the aim of developing collective actions to address the global challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The meeting was co-chaired by UN head Secretary-General António Guterres, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 
It launched a collective effort to create proposals which will help overcome challenges in the six areas mentioned earlier, which will be presented during a political forum in July and at the General Assembly in September, SPA added.
Meanwhile, the G20 International Financial Architecture (IFA) working group held an extraordinary meeting to assess the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
The initiative, which could provide around $14 billion in immediate and critical liquidity relief through official bilateral creditors for the poorest nations, received 36 applications during the first month.
The DSSI “would help vulnerable countries strengthen their fight against the pandemic. This amount could increase significantly if additional creditors, including multilateral development banks and private sector creditors, join the initiative” Saudi G20 Presidency Policy Lead of the IFA Bandr Alhomaly said.
Experts from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Institute of International Finance, Paris Club Secretariat and various regional development banks joined the meeting.
The group will host another extraordinary meeting on June 23 to further examine the DSSI implementation efforts, ahead of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in July.