Edtech startups flourish in first week of July

Edtech startups flourish in first week of July
CoinDCX, India’s largest crypto exchange, has announced the acquisition of BitOasis, a UAE-based virtual assets trading platform. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 July 2024

Edtech startups flourish in first week of July

Edtech startups flourish in first week of July
  • Startup ecosystem busy with venture investments and strategic acquisitions

CAIRO: From educational technology to digital content and cryptocurrency, the startup ecosystem is buzzing with activity as significant venture investments and strategic acquisitions take place across various sectors.  

Saudi-based Jeel, an edtech startup for children, adolescents, parents, and educators, has secured a seven-figure funding from RZM Investment and a group of prominent angel investors.

Jeel plans to strengthen its presence in the business-to-business and business-to-government sectors by offering its services to institutions and governments. 

“Our goal is to broaden our scope and impact in digital content by partnering with institutions and governments, thereby driving growth in the sector,” said a Jeel spokesperson.  

The funding will also be used to add new languages to the Jeel app, aiming to attract more users from various Arab countries and expand into new markets within the region. 

“We are committed to providing a superior user experience by integrating new features and continually improving our app,” the spokesperson added. 

Additionally, the company will launch a comprehensive online store to facilitate the purchase of Jeel app-related products and services, providing users with a seamless experience and contributing to the company’s revenue growth. 

“With this investment, Jeel reaffirms its commitment to providing innovative and purposeful digital content for children, adolescents, parents, and educators, with a focus on enhancing and enriching the Arabic language,” the spokesperson added.  

This strategic investment will enable Jeel to further its mission of delivering high-quality educational and entertaining digital content, positioning itself as a leader in the industry, the release stated.

CoinDCX acquires BitOasis to strengthen MENA presence 

CoinDCX, India’s largest crypto exchange, has announced the acquisition of BitOasis, a UAE-based virtual assets trading platform.  

This strategic move follows CoinDCX’s investment in BitOasis in August 2023 as the company aims to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and North Africa.

The acquisition will empower BitOasis to expand its presence across the MENA region, leveraging its newly acquired license in Bahrain and its platform reopening in Dubai. 

Established in 2018, CoinDCX claims it boasts a robust user base of over 15 million and facilitates average quarterly trading volumes exceeding $840 million in spot in 2024.  

“Building on six years of success, CoinDCX aims to become the go-to trading platform for crypto worldwide,” said Sumit Gupta, co-founder of the firm. 

Jeel plans to strengthen its presence in the business-to-business and business-to-government sectors by offering its services to institutions and governments. (Supplied)

“For us, investor protection has been paramount, and we have distinguished ourselves in India with unwavering compliance,” he added. 

BitOasis, founded in 2016 by Ola Doudin, Tarek Kaylani, and Daniel Robenek, is the first and largest crypto asset exchange in the MENA region. It is available in 15 countries across the region, allowing its users to buy, hold and sell over 60 cryptocurrencies. 

The company claims to have processed over $6 billion in trading volume and secured more than $40 million in funding from leading regional and global investors.  

“CoinDCX’s acquisition marks an exciting new chapter for BitOasis, one that propels us forward on much stronger ground,” said Doudin, CEO of BitOasis.  

“Trust and regulatory compliance have been key pillars in our mission to drive crypto adoption across MENA,” she added. 

The acquisition will enable BitOasis to offer a broader product portfolio, enhanced crypto services, increased liquidity, and improved trading options.  

“Users can expect an overall enhanced experience with access to a wider range of tokens and better trading options,” Doudin added.  

Sumit Gupta emphasized that BitOasis’ brand and leadership team will remain unchanged following the acquisition, fostering seamless synergy and collaboration between both organizations.  

“Joining forces with BitOasis aligns perfectly with our vision of establishing a formidable foothold across the MENA region, catering to a diverse range of retail and institutional clients,” Gupta said.

EdVentures invests $400k in Egyptian online education platform El Kheta 

Egyptian EdVentures, the investment arm of Nahdet Misr Group specializing in educational technology, has announced a $400,000 investment in El Kheta, an online platform for Egyptian students.   

El Kheta offers reinforcement lessons, exams, and interactive videos from the new Egyptian curriculum, providing students with a customized and flexible educational experience.  

“We firmly believe in the potential of the El Kheta platform to revolutionize the online education sector in Egypt,” said Dalia Ibrahim, founder and chairwoman of Nahdet Misr for Entrepreneurship EdVentures.  

“We are committed to supporting talented entrepreneurs in the educational technology sector and helping them achieve their vision of creating a better and easier educational experience for everyone,” she added. 

The El Kheta platform offers students the ability to choose their preferred curricula and create study plans that suit their needs.  

Services include reinforcement lessons, interactive educational videos, homework assignments, and direct communication with teachers.  

This personalized approach aims to improve students’ academic performance and overall success. “Our goal is to empower youth and expand the scope of online education opportunities for school students in Egypt,” Ibrahim said.

Germany’s Mitgo Group launches $20m fintech Capy 

Germany-based holding company Mitgo Group has launched a $20 million fintech startup called Capy, targeting the MENA market.  

This investment package will be distributed over the next three years. The initial tranche will be allocated towards developing the platform’s first version, with a particular focus on early and accelerated payment solutions. 

In the first quarter of 2024, Mitgo Group announced the introduction of fintech services for publishers in the affiliate market, including cashback services, media buying, loyalty programs, and buy-now-pay-later services.  

This new direction is being launched on the foundation of the recently acquired UAE-based embedded finance platform, Embedded.

Since the acquisition, Embedded has received additional funding and comprehensive support, and it has been relaunched as Capy within Mitgo’s global holding company.

Egypt achieves record primary surplus of $18.14bn in fiscal year 2023-2024

Egypt achieves record primary surplus of $18.14bn in fiscal year 2023-2024
Updated 20 sec ago

Egypt achieves record primary surplus of $18.14bn in fiscal year 2023-2024

Egypt achieves record primary surplus of $18.14bn in fiscal year 2023-2024

RIYADH: Egypt’s budget recorded a preliminary surplus of 875 billion Egyptian pounds ($18.14 billion) for the fiscal year 2023/2024, compared to 164 billion during the previous period, a top official revealed.

During a Cabinet meeting chaired by Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk highlighted that this improvement came despite economic activity shocks.

The North African country’s economy has witnessed blows over the last year due to the ongoing crisis in Gaza, which has slowed tourism growth and cut into Suez Canal revenue, two of Egypt’s biggest sources of foreign currency.

To help alleviate the inflationary effects that have been burdening the Egyptian public, the government in April increased the amount of funding required in its 2024-2025 budget by over 2.8 trillion pounds ($59 billion).

Kouchouk stated that revenues represented an annual growth of about 59.3 percent during the fiscal year 2023/2024.

The budget also achieved a total deficit that was about 706 billion pounds lower than what was listed in the revised budget.

Kouchouk noted the reduction in the overall deficit in the general budget during 2023/2024, which amounted to about 505 billion Egyptian pounds, compared to a deficit of about 610 billion pounds in the previous fiscal year – a decrease of 17 percent.

Despite the deficit shrinking, there were sectors that exceeded their allocated budgets. 

Education required around 256 billion pounds in funding, compared to around 230 billion pounds in the original budget.

Health sector needs totaled about 180 billion pounds, against an initial allocation of about 148 billion pounds.

The public treasury paid the Insurance and Pensions Fund’s dues, which amounted to 185 billion pounds, and settled all fees related to food subsidy support, amounting to 133 billion pounds, compared to about 128 billion pounds in the original budget.

He noted that this, alongside increasing wages and salaries of government employees and providing adequate allocations for various support items and social protection programs, contributed to an annual expenditure growth rate of 37.4 percent.

Kouchouk emphasized the continued efforts to improve the expenditure structure, which was generally achieved for all budget chapters, pointing out that the debt service bill remains high, and efforts are underway to reduce it.

The Minister of Finance reviewed the rates and developments regarding allocations for subsidies, grants, and social benefits, especially those related to supporting industrial production, export incentives, as well as social protection programs, and the health and education sectors.

Kouchouk also discussed the future budget estimates for the fiscal year 2024/2025, explaining that the Ministry of Finance aims to reduce the budget’s debt and place it on a downward trajectory.

Despite the difficulties the public treasury faced in the fiscal year 2023/2024 as a result of regional geopolitical unrest, high rates of inflation, and social programs put in place to protect citizens and pensioners, Kouchouk reiterated that the ministry was able to achieve strong financial performance by taking the required steps to mobilize revenues and control public finances.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157
Updated 32 min 46 sec ago

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Wednesday, gaining 77.24 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 12,157.61. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR7.37 billion ($1.96 billion) as 157 of the listed stocks advanced, while 64 retreated.    

The MSCI Tadawul Index increased by 6.82 points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 1,520.39. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu decreased by 31.22 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 25,887.91. This comes as 36 of the listed stocks advanced, while as many as 32 retreated. 

The best-performing stock of the day was AYYAN Investment Co., with its share price surging by 9.97 percent to SR19.42. 

Other top performers include the Miahona Co. and Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co., whose share prices soared by 9.88 percent and 9.41 percent, to stand at SR42.25 and SR24.88, respectively. 

National Gas and Industrialization Co. and Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. were also amongst the top gainers.  

The worst performer was the Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. whose share price dropped by 2.46 percent to SR31.70. 

Other underperformers included Baazeem Trading Co. and Arabian Pipes Co., with their share prices declining by 1.53 percent to SR64.30 and 1.20 percent to SR131.40, respectively.

Saudi Public Transport Co. and Red Sea International Co. also experienced declines in their stock prices.

Value Capital Co., serving as the financial advisor and lead manager, announced that Tharwah Co. intends to offer 705,735 ordinary shares, representing 15 percent of its total shares post-offering. The company’s shares will be listed on Nomu. 

Tharwah Co.’s application for listing on the parallel market. was approved by the Saudi Exchange on May 19, and the Capital Market Authority approved the offering on June 3. The price per share for subscribers will be determined after the book-building period. The one-week offering period is scheduled to commence on Aug. 4. 

Alkhabeer Capital, a Shariah-compliant investment and financial services firm, has announced the listing and commencement of trading for the Alkhabeer Diversified Income Fund 2030 on the Saudi Exchange. 

In an official statement, the fund reported successful participation from a diverse group of investors, including individuals and institutions, during its initial public offering.  

The IPO concluded on June 13, attracting 144,132 subscribers and raising a total of SR305.4 million. 

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program
Updated 28 min 19 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program
  • Program aims to develop Kingdom’s infrastructure and support local supply chains
  • Saudi Arabia’s mineral wealth is valued at an estimated $2.5 trillion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to launch a new national minerals program, further strengthening its position as a regional and global center for the mining and metals sector. 
The Saudi Cabinet has approved the establishment of the initiative, which is set to be linked to the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, according to a statement. 
The newly announced program is expected to meet the growing local, regional, and global needs for minerals, build local capabilities, and contribute to exploration operations. 
This is in line with Saudi Arabia’s ambition to transform mining into a foundational industrial pillar of the country’s economy. It also aligns with the ministry’s goal to further bolster the sector and contribute to ongoing developments under Saudi Vision 2030. 
According to a ministry statement released earlier this year, the Kingdom’s mineral wealth is valued at an estimated SR9.4 trillion ($2.5 trillion). 
The Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the cabinet’s approval and said the program will effectively drive growth in the minerals sector and exploit the country’s mineral wealth. 
“The Council of Ministers’ decision to establish the National Minerals Program will constitute a qualitative shift in supporting supply chains in the industrial and mining sectors and strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a regional and global center for the mining and minerals sector,” Alkhorayef said in a statement. 
“The Kingdom’s directions aim to develop mineral value chains so that the mining sector becomes the third pillar of the national industry and to benefit from the Kingdom’s geographical location, which represents one of the most important major trade intersections,” he added.
The statement further revealed that the initiative will entail important functions, including ensuring the quality and adequacy of supply chains for current and future minerals and developing and managing their strategic storage.
It will also work on quantifying and following up on securing Saudi Arabia’s mineral needs, developing plans and strategies, and providing industrial supplies of mining raw materials.
The nation’s mining sector has been expanding locally and internationally, with significant strides being made.
In March, the Kingdom’s mining sector recorded a 138 percent increase in the issuance of exploitation licenses since the new Mining Investment Law was implemented in 2021. 
The number of permits recorded rose from eight in 2021 to 19 last year as the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources actively works to boost mineral production and investment. 

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge
Updated 17 July 2024

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge
  • Payments in restaurants and cafe held the largest share of POS transactions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale spending totaled SR11.9 billion ($3.19 billion) from July 7 to 13, driven by a 3.8 percent weekly surge in hotel sector transactions, official data showed.

The latest data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, revealed that the hospitality industry showed the only increase during the week, with total transaction values reaching SR269.6 million. 

Point-of-sale is where transactions between merchants and customers take place, using systems like cash registers or digital terminals to manage sales and payments. 

Saudi Arabia’s apex bank releases weekly POS data to provide insights into consumer spending patterns, economic activity, and trends in various sectors such as retail, hospitality, and services. 

During the seven-day period starting July 7, POS transactions in the Kingdom declined by 9.8 percent, reversing from an increase in the previous week, to reach SR13.2 billion.  

Data from SAMA indicated that payments in restaurants and cafes decreased by 6.4 percent compared to the previous week, totaling SR1.84 billion, while still holding the largest share of POS transactions. 

Expenses on food and beverages dipped by 12.5 percent to reach SR1.79 billion, the third-largest fall compared to the previous week.  

Miscellaneous goods and services came in third place in spending size, recording an 11.2 percent dip, reaching SR1.57 billion. 

Gas stations witnessed the smallest dip this week, recording a 3.2 percent decrease, reaching SR841.4 million.  

Construction and building materials experienced the second-smallest drop in POS transaction value, diminished by 4.7 percent to SR329.7 million. Furthermore, expenses on transportation witnessed the third-smallest surge, with a 5.6 percent decrease, reaching SR733.1 million. 

According to data from SAMA, 33.37 percent of POS deals occurred in Riyadh, with the total transaction value reaching SR3.91 billion, representing an 8.3 percent decline from the previous week when it was SR4.26 billion. 

Riyadh has expanded into a major growth hub, with Spinneys recently debuting its flagship 43,520 sq. ft. outlet at La Strada Yard, marking the start of its expansion in the capital and Jeddah to meet the increasing demand for high-quality groceries in Saudi Arabia.  

In Jeddah, purchases accounted for 14.6 percent of the total, amounting to SR1.71 billion, reflecting an 8 percent weekly decrease, the third-largest decline compared to the previous week.  

Expenditures in Abha and Makkah declined by 4.8 percent and 4.2 percent, reaching SR224.2 million and SR459.5 million, respectively. 

The highest fall was spotted in Tabouk with a 12.8 percent weekly change, reaching SR216.2 million. 

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data
Updated 17 July 2024

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crude exports rose to 6.12 million barrels per day in May – up 2.51 percent compared to the previous month, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative revealed.

Data also indicated that the Kingdom’s crude production increased to 8.99 million bpd, reflecting a monthly rise of 0.08 percent.

Refinery crude output, representing the processed volume of crude oil yielding gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil, surged to an almost six-year high. It increased by 17 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 3.026 million bpd, according to JODI data.

This also marked a 16 percent increase from the 2.61 million bpd recorded during the same month in 2023.

Exports for refinery oil products reached 1.22 million bpd, a 13 percent decline compared to the previous month.

The data revealed Saudi demand for petroleum products rose by 75,000 bpd to 2.355 million bpd.

As one of the world’s leading oil producers, Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in supplying these refined products to meet global energy demands.

OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed in June to extend most of its substantial oil output cuts into 2024, with plans to gradually phase them out in 2025.

This decision aims to support the market amid sluggish global demand growth, high interest rates, and increasing US production.

OPEC+ has implemented several deep output cuts since late 2022. The countries participating in the second round of voluntary cuts included Algeria, Gabon, and Kazakhstan, as well Kuwait, Oman, and Russia. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iraq also took part.

When it came to the third round, all countries participated apart from Gabon.

OPEC+ also delayed the deadline for an independent assessment of its members’ production capacities from June 2024 to the end of November 2025. These figures will guide the reference production levels for 2026.

Direct crude usage

Saudi Arabia’s direct burn of crude oil, involving the utilization of oil without substantial refining processes, experienced a decrease of 2,000 bpd in May, representing a 0.5 percent decline compared to the preceding month. The total direct burn for the month amounted to 398,000 bpd.

Compared to May last year, direct crude usage decreased by 80,000 bpd, a 17 percent decline.

The Ministry of Energy aims to enhance the contributions of natural gas and renewable sources as part of the Kingdom’s goal to achieve an optimal, highly efficient, and cost-effective energy mix.

This involves replacing liquid fuel with natural gas and integrating renewables to constitute approximately 50 percent of the electricity production energy mix by 2030.