Essential mineral supply may approach demand by 2030, IEA report says 

Essential mineral supply may approach demand by 2030, IEA report says 
Electric vehicles and battery storage are the main drivers of demand growth, says the IEA (Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 July 2023
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Essential mineral supply may approach demand by 2030, IEA report says 

Essential mineral supply may approach demand by 2030, IEA report says 

RIYADH: The critical minerals market is experiencing unprecedented growth as clean energy demand fuels a substantial increase in investment, according to the latest report by the International Energy Agency. 

According to the report, the adoption of sustainable energy technology drives the need for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper. 

Considering the latest advancements in technology and policy, the IEA has been revising its forecasts for future demand.

Most notably, key minerals will increase three and a half times to reach more than 30 million tons by 2030. 

“EVs (electric vehicles) and battery storage are the main drivers of demand growth, but there are also major contributions from low emission power generation and electricity networks,” said the IEA report. 

The need for minerals utilized in clean energy technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars, has grown steadily over the past five years. 

“From 2017 to 2022, the energy sector was the main factor behind a tripling in overall demand for lithium, a 70 percent jump in demand for cobalt, and a 40 percent rise in demand for nickel,” the report said. 

The market for energy transition minerals is anticipated to take center stage in the global mining industry. With a value of approximately $320 billion in 2022, the progressive field is projected to grow rapidly.  

In response, investment in critical mineral development rose 30 percent last year, following a 20 percent increase in 2021. 

“At a pivotal moment for clean energy transitions worldwide, we are encouraged by the rapid growth in the market for critical minerals, which are crucial for the world to achieve its energy and climate goals,” Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, said. 

“Much more needs to be done to ensure supply chains for critical minerals are secure and sustainable,” he added. 

The IEA research suggests supply may be adequate to meet the government-signed national climate pledges if all scheduled mineral projects worldwide are established. 

The study also acknowledges the challenges and uncertainties that could impact supply sufficiency, such as project delays and technology-specific deficiencies. 

“On the manufacturing front, the industry is witnessing a surge in announcements to build new battery gigafactories,” said the report. 

According to the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the aggregate of all proposed projects approaches the required scale.


Saudi FDI reforms poised to deliver transformative impact

Saudi FDI reforms poised to deliver transformative impact
Updated 09 December 2023
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Saudi FDI reforms poised to deliver transformative impact

Saudi FDI reforms poised to deliver transformative impact
  • Main contributors to investment surge include France, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore, the UAE, and the US

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia continues to vigorously pursue its reform agenda, with a focus on bolstering foreign direct investment inflows and diversifying investment strategies despite a recent deceleration in its financial account as reported by the Saudi Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

In the second quarter of 2023, FDI inflows experienced a 21 percent decline compared to the same period last year, amounting to SR6.2 billion ($1.65 billion).

FDI outflows, which encompass the capital invested by Saudi entities in foreign countries, reached SR18.34 billion, a 53 percent decrease from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Albara’a Al-Wazir, an economist at the US-Saudi Business Council, said: “Despite the recent decline in FDI to SR6.2 billion, the number of investment licenses issued by the Ministry of Investment … reached 1,819 in Q2, marking a 94 percent increase compared to the previous year.”

He added: “Saudi Arabia has implemented significant legal, economic, and social changes to attract higher levels of foreign direct investment since the launch of Vision 2030.”

Al-Wazir highlighted that the Ministry of Investment granted licenses to 180 companies to establish regional headquarters in the Kingdom ahead of the January 2024 deadline.

The economist anticipates that the regional headquarters program will expedite FDI in Saudi Arabia.

“As companies seeking government projects will need to relocate, the full impact of this program is expected to manifest in the medium term, albeit with a potential lag,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has also announced tax incentives for foreign companies establishing their regional headquarters in the Kingdom, including a 30-year exemption from corporate income tax.

These measures also encompass zero income tax for foreign entities relocating their regional headquarters, effective from the issuance date of the license, as outlined by the Ministry of Investment. 

Riyadh has announced tax incentives for foreign companies establishing their regional headquarters in the Kingdom, including a 30-year exemption from corporate income tax. (SPA)

Al-Wazir said the newly introduced NEOM Investment Fund is strategically positioned to draw investors and play a role in the development of the new city.

Despite the decline in FDI in the second quarter of 2023, he emphasized that the Kingdom achieved the second-highest amount in the Middle East and Africa region during this period.

As per information disclosed by the Ministry of Investment, the FDI stock, representing the cumulative ownership stakes, equity, and financial interests held by the Kingdom’s residents in foreign enterprises, saw a 2.89 percent increase during this period.

The ministry highlighted that this rise signifies the growing confidence of foreign investors in the Saudi investment ecosystem.

Reforms to the Kingdom’s economy are not new, with a report from the World Bank issued in 2020 noting the significance of a series of measures primarily concentrated on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and facilitating international trade.

Additionally, the report noted that protections for minority investors were strengthened, a value-added tax was introduced, and notable improvements in trading and contract enforcement were implemented.

These reforms collectively demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s commitment to creating a more efficient and investor-friendly business environment.

According to the International Bar Association report on the Kingdom’s FDI legal framework and outlook in April 2023, Saudi Arabia is witnessing an increasing flow of FDI across various sectors. The main contributors to this investment surge include France, Japan, Kuwait, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, the UAE, and the US.

As outlined in the report, key sectors drawing substantial FDI include the chemical industry, real estate, fossil fuels, as  well as automobiles, tourism, plastics, and machinery. This diversification indicates a growing interest and confidence from international investors in Saudi Arabia’s economic landscape.

Data from the Ministry of Investment indicated a 135.4 percent annual increase in the number of investment licenses issued, reaching 2,192 in the third quarter of this year.

According to the ministry, this surge underscores Saudi Arabia’s appeal as an attractive investment destination, offering competitive advantages within a stable and supportive business environment. 

FASTFACT

Data from the Ministry of Investment indicated a 135.4 percent annual increase in the number of investment licenses issued, reaching 2,192 in the third quarter of this year.

Gross Fixed Capital Formation, reflecting investment in tangible assets like buildings, machinery, equipment, and infrastructure for production, saw a notable 7 percent increase during this period totaling SR278.9 billion, as reported by the ministry.

Within this, non-government GFCF accounted for approximately 85 percent of the total, reaching SR236.6 billion. This marked a 7.6 percent growth compared to the corresponding period last year.

In contrast, government GFCF held a 15 percent share during this quarter, with a 3.5 percent increase, reaching a total of SR42.3 billion. This data underscores the significant role of both non-government and government sectors in driving capital formation within Saudi Arabia’s economy.

The Kingdom’s financial account, which includes net values for direct investment, portfolio investment, and reserve assets, amounted to SR42.97 billion. This figure represents a 70 percent decline compared to the corresponding period last year, according to the report from the Kingdom’s central bank.

Portfolio investment, the second component of Saudi Arabia’s financial account, experienced a 66 percent decrease, primarily attributed to the Kingdom’s increased borrowings.

Meanwhile, the net acquisition of financial assets showed a robust 25 percent annual growth in the second quarter, totaling SR50.14 billion. However, this increase was countered by a rise in the portfolio’s liability section, with debt securities increasing from -SR18.53 billion to SR25.69 billion during the same period.

According to Al-Wazir: “The Kingdom signaled that it would utilize debt markets to raise liquidity to fund its projects. The increase in borrowing via debt securities underscores its commitment to achieve its desired diversification goals.”

He added: “The Kingdom has more recently issued both external and domestic debt, with domestic riyal-denominated debt accounting for approximately 63 percent of the total. In H1 2023, the government issued SR23 billion in domestic debt, while growing total domestic debt from SR615 billion to SR624 billion.”

Reserve assets, encompassing special drawing rights and currency, deposits, and securities, witnessed a 70 percent decrease. This decline is attributed to the devaluation of securities within this category.

“The topic of drawing down reserves, in this case securities, is a strategic move to decrease SAMA’s reserve holdings and redirect cash across a diversified set of vehicles,” explained Al-Wazir.

“Saudi has been adjusting its investment strategy in recent years whereby it is allocating money to national funds like the Public Investment Fund and National Development Fund. An example of this is when SAMA transferred SR150 billion from its foreign reserves to PIF in 2020,” he added.

The economist concluded by asserting that public debt remains sustainable, comfortably staying below the 50 percent debt to gross domestic product ceiling, and the fiscal capacity is substantial. He emphasized that the government’s borrowing strategy primarily aims to lengthen maturities, reduce refinancing costs, and establish a yield curve.


Camel milk set to provide sustenance for Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation

Camel milk set to provide sustenance for Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation
Updated 09 December 2023
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Camel milk set to provide sustenance for Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation

Camel milk set to provide sustenance for Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation
  • Camels have long served as a crucial food, natural and cultural resource of the Middle East region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is currently one of the biggest producers of camel milk and a host of new ventures are making the business a lucrative one in the transformation of the country’s economy.

The Kingdom has an annual output of approximately 0.271 million tons of the product, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has set up a new firm, Sawani Co., to catalyze the growth of the sector as part of its efforts to transform the country’s economy.

The move comes at a time when the Public Investment Fund’s various investments in the Saudi food and agriculture sector to support its produce industries gain momentum.

“Saudi Arabia has extensive experience and knowledge of the camel dairy industry, and enormous potential to expand its operational capabilities and wider ecosystem,” said Majed Al-Assaf, head of Consumer Goods and Retail in the Middle East and North Africa Investments Division at PIF, in a statement.

He added: “These factors represent a competitive advantage across the entire supply chain, which will enable significant growth of the industry, and eventually lead to the export of camel dairy products to regional and global markets.” 

Ahmed Gamaleldeen, CEO of Sawani, affirmed the company’s position in its sector, telling Arab News: “Sawani Co. has an essential role to play in elevating standards within the camel dairy sector. Based in Saudi Arabia with a global reach, our organization seeks to actively contribute to the development of the sector, highlighting the merit of camel-based products from both a health and commercial standpoint.”

He added: “We are committed to raising awareness of camel products through our operations and initiatives, helping to continue a longstanding tradition of sustainable camel milk production to serve Saudi Arabia, the region and other parts of the world.”

While seeking to become a leading producer of camel dairy products, the company will also place sustainability at the center of all stages of production, distribution, and marketing as well as raise awareness of the health benefits of camel dairy products among consumers.

Sawani looks to work with the private sector to boost production capacity and drive sustainable growth of the camel dairy industry.

This includes raising the standards of the domestic production ecosystem through modernizing operations and introducing best scientific practices, improving knowledge localization and transfer and investing in the sector’s latest manufacturing technologies. 

Saudi Arabia has extensive experience and knowledge of the camel dairy industry, and enormous potential to expand its operational capabilities and wider ecosystem.

Majed Al-Assaf, head of Consumer Goods and Retail in the Middle East and North Africa Investments Division at PIF

Highlighting the company’s aspirations within the camel dairy industry, Gamaleldeen said Sawani has both regional and international ambitions.

“With a myriad of health benefits associated with camel-based products, our aim is to showcase the product’s commercial viability as a solution for consumers who are lactose intolerant, diabetic or seeking nutrient-dense dairy products,” he said.

The CEO added that Sawani’s long-term strategy is rooted in “Saudi Arabia’s rich camel heritage and sustainable cohesion with one of nature’s most loyal and giving creatures.”

According to research company IMARC, the camel dairy market across the Gulf Corporate Council region reached a value of $702.4 million in 2022, and is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 4.51 percent from 2023 to 2028.

Camels have long served as a crucial food, natural and cultural resource of the Middle East region.

They provide meat and milk as well as play a role in heritage rituals throughout Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East. It is estimated that there are around 1.6 million camels in the Kingdom, with over half residing in the provinces of Riyadh, Makkah and the Sharqiya or Eastern Province.

Compared to cow’s milk, camel’s milk has lower levels of fat – perfect for those who are wishing to maintain a healthier lifestyle. 

Sawani looks to work with the private sector to boost production capacity and drive sustainable growth of the camel dairy industry. (Supplied)

It contains high amounts of vitamins A, B, E and C, and is also rich in calcium, iron, protein and antioxidants.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has endorsed products made from camel milk, saying such goods are greater in nutritional value than goat and cow’s milk in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein.

The Kingdom’s investment in the industry reflects Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the economy away from its reliance on hydrocarbons.

In the Kingdom, three licensed projects are specializing in camel milk and its various uses, while three other initiatives have been granted preliminary licenses to manufacture consumable camel milk products. 

We are committed to raising awareness of camel products through our operations and initiatives, helping to continue a longstanding tradition of sustainable camel milk production.

Ahmed Gamaleldeen, CEO of Sawani

According to Shujaa Al-Bogmi, an associate professor at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Sawani’s investment in the camel industry will have a great impact on the growth of the market both locally and internationally.

It will not only raise the production standards for products made from camel milk, but also result in an increased demand for the products from the Gulf region.

An eagerness to make products from camel milk has already jump-started in the Kingdom.

In September, Sawani launched Noug, the first camel milk café opened in Riyadh, specializing in milk, cheese, butter and even gelato. 

HIGHLIGHT

The Kingdom has an annual output of approximately 0.271 million tons of the product, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has set up a new firm, Sawani Co., to catalyze the growth of the sector as part of its efforts to transform the country’s economy.

As IMARC noted in its report, the increasing awareness of the health benefits of camel milk as well as the potential of the market for the product make it a favorable investment opportunity for government initiatives and a crucial catalyst for growth.

Investment in the market also has the potential to promote sustainable farming practices in the Kingdom.

To this end, Sawani is offering financial incentives and subsidies to encourage the growth of the camel dairy sector. Such support extends to both large-scale commercial farms and small-scale farmers, promoting inclusivity and sustainable growth in the industry.

As Gamaleldeen notes: “Sawani Company is dedicated to driving growth in Saudi Arabia’s camel dairy sector. As consumers become aware of the health benefits of camel-based dairy products, we aim to amplify awareness of products, ethically sourced from an animal that has remained a source of pride for the people of the Kingdom.”


Biotech firm utilizes hemp to boost sustainability

Biotech firm utilizes hemp to boost sustainability
Updated 09 December 2023
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Biotech firm utilizes hemp to boost sustainability

Biotech firm utilizes hemp to boost sustainability
  • Green Desert extends its sustainability solutions using hemp fibers

CAIRO: Saudi-based biotech startup Green Desert is aiming to boost the Kingdom’s sustainability with a fresh line of industrial hemp products.

Founded in 2020 by Abdulhadi Al-Amer and Lucas Dietrich, GD was built on the foundation of utilizing biotechnology to commercialize hemp usage in the push toward a more sustainable future.

In an interview with Arab News, GD’s CEO Al-Amer explained how the company is aiming to address the significant benefits and unperceived value of industrial hemp in the region.

“Green Desert offers a wide range of high-quality transformed industrial hemp products. These include hurds, also known as shives, designed explicitly for animal bedding. They are suitable for small pets like poultry, birds of prey, rabbits, and larger animals such as horses and camels,” Al-Amer explained.  

“In addition, GD provides hempcrete blocks that can be used in construction projects. These blocks are made from hemp and have excellent insulation properties, making them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice,” he added.

GD extends its sustainability solutions through the provision of hemp fibers, acclaimed for their durability and versatility. These fibers are adeptly utilized for insulation and in the manufacturing of various clothing items, Al-Amer explained.

Additionally, the company provides an array of industries with high-quality hemp seeds, notably utilized in the production of oil and animal feed. Recognized for their nutritional value, these seeds offer a versatile ingredient option across numerous product lines.

Sustainability and hemp

GD is pioneering a shift in sustainability, aligning with Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives. GD’s approach centers on developing advanced bioproducts, biofuels, and bioplastics from renewable resources.  

At the heart of the firm’s sustainability vision is the hemp plant, a resource that GD believes can be a game-changer for the planet.  

“Hemp has numerous impacts that contribute to a sustainable future, such as its short vegetative cycle, high yields, ability to grow almost everywhere, lack of need for plant protection chemicals, zero waste, contribution to agricultural soil regeneration, low water requirement, and its ability to store a large amount of CO2,” Al-Amer said. 

Founded in 2020 by Abdulhadi Al-Amer and Lucas Dietrich, GD was built on the foundation of utilizing biotechnology to commercialize hemp usage. (Supplied)

Furthermore, he explained that hemp’s regeneration of agricultural soil leads to an increase in the yield of subsequent crops by up to 10 percent. Additionally, hemp achieves this with a low water requirement, eliminating the need for extensive irrigation systems.

“One of the most notable environmental contributions of hemp is its capacity to sequester carbon dioxide. Hemp can store approximately 15 tons of CO2 per hectare per year, making it a powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” Al-Amer said.

Addressing a regional misconception

“The market in which GD operates, specifically the industrial hemp industry, is highly sensitive. To ensure continued growth and success, GD has implemented several key strategies,” Al-Amer told Arab News.

“Firstly, we prioritize education and awareness about hemp and its benefits in Saudi Arabia and the region. To achieve this, GD leverages successful education campaigns conducted by European countries, the US, and other countries. The goal is to dispel misconceptions and clarify that hemp is not a drug but a valuable resource,” he continued.

“Additionally, GD has established partnerships with experts and organizations in Europe and the US. Through these partnerships, they develop educational
materials and programs specifically tailored to the Saudi Arabian market and the Gulf countries. These strategies aim to foster understanding and acceptance of hemp, ultimately driving the growth and success of GD in this sensitive market,” he added.

Furthermore, the company has positioned itself as a catalyst for commercializing the undervalued hemp industry by becoming a center of knowledge and reliability.

“GD’s strategy includes presenting substantial evidence and records to affirm that hemp cultivation and utilization can be effectively controlled and regulated, ensuring it is devoid of THC, the psychoactive component, thus addressing prevalent misconceptions and demonstrating hemp’s safe and versatile applications,” Al-Amer explained.

Strategic cooperation  

GD is setting a new standard in sustainability by establishing strategic partnerships with leading companies and government bodies.  

The company recently received a license from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture to further extend its research and operations.

“GD is actively partnering with governmental entities, specifically MEWA in Saudi Arabia. The collaboration between GD and MEWA strongly indicates their close cooperation and shared goals,” Al-Amer said. 

The market in which GD operates, specifically the industrial hemp industry, is highly sensitive. To ensure continued growth and success, GD has implemented several key strategies.

Abdulhadi Al-Amer, Green Desert CEO

“This license showcases the trust and confidence MEWA has placed in GD, acknowledging its expertise and commitment to compliance with regulatory requirements,” he added. The company also holds several intellectual properties, the most notable one is an exclusive authorization granted by the Saudi government.

Furthermore, GD recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement with France’s La Chanviere to further boost its biotech capabilities.

“By incorporating the knowledge gained from these partnerships into their operations, GD actively contributes to creating a knowledge-based economy. 

This aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and further strengthens GD’s position as a leader in innovative biotechnology solutions,” Al-Amer said.

Business foundations

“As the only company authorized to bring transformed industrial hemp products into the Saudi market, GD enjoys a significant competitive advantage. This distinction not only sets the company apart from its competitors but also positions it as a trusted and reliable source of high-quality hemp-based solutions,” Al-Amer said.

The company’s revenue streams stem from several hemp-based products. The primary source of income is the supply of hemp hurds or shives. 

HIGHLIGHT

GD is pioneering a shift in sustainability, aligning with Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives. GD’s approach centers on developing advanced bioproducts, biofuels, and bioplastics from renewable resources.

Another source is the company’s production and sale of its hempcrete blocks.  

“We aim to supply every horse, camel and small pet owner in the Gulf countries with the best quality bedding they can get on the market. Additionally, we aim to supply building companies and mega projects such as the Line with the most sustainable construction material available on the market,” Al-Amer said.

Future potential

“As pioneers in Saudi Arabia’s hemp market, GD is focused on fostering competition by highlighting the importance of its solutions,” Al-Amer explained.

He stated that this includes highlighting the environmental advantages of hemp, such as its ability to sequester carbon dioxide and reduce the need for synthetic materials.

Moreover, Al-Amer underscored the importance of collaboration and engaging with stakeholders to shed light on the nascent sector.

“By doing so, GD increases awareness and creates a platform for dialogue and collaboration, which can further foster competition and innovation in the market,” he added.


Qatar Airways launches NEOM Bay flight

Qatar Airways launches NEOM Bay flight
Updated 09 December 2023
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Qatar Airways launches NEOM Bay flight

Qatar Airways launches NEOM Bay flight
  • The NEOM Bay flight will be the 10th route by the airline to the Kingdom

Riyadh: Qatar Airways expanded services to Saudi Arabia with the launch of the Doha-NEOM Bay flight on Saturday.

The NEOM Bay flight will be the 10th route by the airline to the Kingdom.

Qatar Airways announced two weekly flights with Airbus A320 aircraft starting Dec. 9 from Hamad International Airport in Doha.

Saudi Arabia was ranked second globally in tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2023, the Saudi Press Agency reported last month.

The Kingdom saw 58 percent growth in tourist numbers up to the end of July compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The data was sourced last month from the UN World Tourism Organization and came from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.


Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia leads November’s funding spree with $338m

Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia leads November’s funding spree with $338m
Updated 09 December 2023
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Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia leads November’s funding spree with $338m

Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia leads November’s funding spree with $338m

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s startup ecosystem continues to dominate the region after raising the most funds in the Middle East and North Africa during November.

According to Wamda’s Monthly report, the MENA region saw $764 million raised across 42 rounds in November – a 390 percent month-on-month increase and a 74 percent growth year-on-year.

Saudi Arabia topped the charts with $338 million secured across nine deals. The UAE came in second with $284 million across 22 deals and Egypt followed with $130.5 million over 5 deals.

Omniful provides merchants with a unified management system, warehouse management system, and transport management system to scale their businesses.

Furthermore, the remaining capital was raised by startups based in Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, and Tunisia.

Funding activity experienced a notable resurgence across all stages, with mega rounds constituting a significant portion of the capital influx.  

Noteworthy among these rounds were a $250 million debt round secured by Saudi Arabia-based Tamara, a substantial $200 million series D funding by the Kingdom’s Tabby, and a $130 million raised by Egypt’s MNT-halan through securitized bonds.

Collectively, these three rounds made up around 76 percent of the total funding raised during November.

In the recent funding landscape, the fintech sector emerged as the frontrunner in terms of funding volume, raising $485.9 million, primarily driven by the significant rounds raised by Tamara and Tabby.  

FASTFACT

Noteworthy among these rounds were a $250 million debt round secured by Saudi Arabia-based Tamara, a substantial $200 million series D funding by the Kingdom’s Tabby, and $130 million raised by Egypt’s MNT-halan through securitized bonds.

This sector also ranked second in terms of the number of deals, recording nine in total. Furthermore, a notable boost to the super app sector’s funding status was recorded with the industry raising $131 million during the month, thanks to MNT-Halan‘s round.  

The education technology sector managed to secure $41.4 million in funding, largely due to a major transaction by Saudi Arabia-based Noon.

Additionally, several other sectors witnessed funding rounds reaching into the tens of millions.

Notable among these were Saudi-based Retailo’s $15 million, Saudi Ajras’ $28 million, UAE’s Flow48’s $25 million, and Emirati Immensa’s $20 million round.

Out of the 42 deals reported, 10 successfully attracted direct global investment, predominantly from US-based investors.  

Within the region, UAE-based investors took the lead, participating in 21 deals, with Modus Capital standing out through its investment of $2.8 million across eight startups via its venture builder program. Saudi Arabian investors followed closely, engaging in 10 deals.

In terms of founder gender dynamics, male-founded startups dominated the funding scene, securing $753 million across 29 deals, accounting for 98.5 percent of the total funding.  

In stark contrast, female founders received less than 2 percent of the overall capital, amounting to $9 million. Mixed-gender founding teams raised the remaining 0.2 percent.

Mtor’s founder and CEO, Mohamed Maged, established the startup in April 2022. (Supplied)

The report indicated that nine startups did not disclose their exact funding amounts. A conservative estimate of $100,000 was assigned to each of these ventures.

These were NOWmoney, Awfar, and Lynk, as well as Lath, Chari, Wayup Sport, and Winshot, Akhdar, and Farcana.

Supply chain and ecommerce enabler Omniful raises $5.85m to boost regional operations

Supply chain and ecommerce enabler startup Omniful, co-headquartered in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has raised $5.85 million in a seed funding round.

Led by VentureSouq, the round saw participation from 500 Global, DASH Ventures, Jahez Group, as well as SEEDRA Ventures, Bunat Ventures, Hala Ventures, and RZM Investments, along with family offices including Al Rasheed, Siraj Holding, Al Bawardi, Al Nafea, and a number of angel investors.

Founded in 2022 by Mostafa Abolnasr and Alankrit Nishad, Omniful provides merchants and fulfillment providers with a unified management system, warehouse management system, and transport management system to scale their businesses.

Mostafa Abolnasr, Omniful cofounder and CEO

Abolnasr, also the company’s CEO, said: “The future of commerce is hyperlocal and omnichannel, with consumers expecting brands to be closer to them, to deliver faster and offer a personalized experience. At Omniful, we are equipping merchants in this $4 trillion industry with a single platform to manage all their sales channels and deliver on time and in full, improving their efficiencies by 40 percent and their customer retention by 15 percent.”

He added: “Our seed round marks a major milestone, and together with our investors, we are excited about going out of stealth and launching our sales and marketing efforts in the Middle East, Africa, and India, followed by Europe and US.”

The future of commerce is hyperlocal and omnichannel, with consumers expecting brands to be closer to them, to deliver faster and offer a personalized experience.

Mostafa Abolnasr, Omniful cofounder and CEO

The company aims to utilize its fresh influx of capital to boost its operations in existing markets, primarily the UAE and the Kingdom, as well as double down on its technology development.

Nishad, the company’s chief technology officer, said: “As a product-led organization, our technology is a clear differentiator, making us the platform of choice for omnichannel merchants and high-volume 3PL (third party logistics) fulfillment providers. Over the next year, we will double down on growing our technology capabilities in India, while also planning for the launch of our platform there.”

Egypt’s Mtor closes $2.8m in a pre-seed round

Egypt’s online car parts marketplace Mtor has closed a $2.8 million pre-seed funding round led by Algebra Ventures with participation from Dutch Founders Fund, Aditum Ventures, LoftyInc Capital Management, and angel investors.

Founded in 2022 by Mohamed Maged, Moaz El-Megharbel, Mohamed Altaf, and Khaled Kandil, Mtor aims to revamp the car parts industry in Egypt with a unified online platform.

“It can be a car owner’s nightmare to get their car serviced. Mtor was founded to fundamentally transform this reality and make the process easier and more efficient, empowering a layer of local car workshops that are well rounded with quality parts, a suitable price position, and a good customer experience,” Maged, CEO of Mtor, said.

The company aims to utilize the received funding to further grow its product range and expand its local workshop client-base.