MEA Markets March Issue

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Middle East Markets | March


Markets 12


Dubai’s leading one stop design solutions company


Perfection in Perfumery


Most Innovative PR & Corporate Communications Firm

Editors Letter Welcome to the March issue of MEA Markets Magazine. Despite falling oil prices the economies of many countries in the MEA region are diversifying into exciting new areas in order to survive. In this issue of MEA Markets, your one stop shop for the latest news on businesses and markets throughout the region, we look into a number of businesses including perfumery CPL Aromas and PR group Absolute Communications, and explore how they have thrived despite the poor economic conditions in MEA currently. Many firms in the region have experienced such successful first quarters that they are looking to expand, such as Travelstart, the South African-based Online Travel Agency, which has just raised $40 million U.S in order to extend its market leadership and capture Africa’s fast growing online travel market. Another firm whose star is on the rise is YuppTV, which has recently announced its partnership with Sun Network, which will see the two firms launch 10 new channels in the MEA region. Another partnership set to change the entire technology market is between OT and Etisalat, with both firms set to launch Internet of Things services in Egypt. We examine how this latest pairing occurred and what it will mean for technology in the country. The World Bank President has announced that the group will be tripling its commitment to supporting war torn countries in the MEA region, which could have vital implications for many communities. We hope you enjoy this issue.



4 Latest News from Across the Middle East and Africa 8 Perfection in Perfumery CPL Aromas is an internationally renowned fragrance house dedicated to innovation and quality. 10 Most Innovative PR & Corporate Communications Firm Absolute Communications Group is a Specialised Independent Public Relation Agency based in Dubai, with additional offices in India. 12 Inspired Design House Inspired Design House is a Dubai based firm that specializes in exhibition stand design, conference signage design, corporate branding and more. 14 Innovation in Qatar Banking QNB First Bank in Qatar to launch NCR interactive video teller technology. 16 It’s time to unleash the power of youth capital

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18 Partnership to Change Egyptian Tech Market OT and Etisalat join forces to launch Internet of Things services in Egypt 20 Qalaa Holdings is the Platinum Sponsor of COMESA’s “Africa 2016 Investment Forum” in Sharm El-Sheikh 22 Tapping into African Online Travel Market Travelstart raises $40 million U.S to extend market leadership and capture Africa’s fast growing multibillion dollar online travel market 24 World Bank President Announces Cost of Support to MENA Region Support to the Middle East and North Africa will amount to us$20 billion in the next five years according to the President of the World Bank. 26 YuppTV Partners with Sun Network to Launch 10 Channels in MENA 28 M&A In MENA 30 Hibernia Networks Extends Service Reach into Middle East 32 Baran Telecom Selects Perception to Bring IPTV Services to Iran 34 Amira Nature Foods Ltd Announces New Partnership for UAE Market Cover Image:

mea Markets News

Middle East Finance Company Banks on UK Cooling Technology in the Searing Desert Heat Specialist UK engineering firm Aqua Cooling has completed its latest Middle East export deal by installing data centre cooling systems in one of the world’s hottest countries. Supplied to the Bahrain offices of a major Middle Eastern finance group, the job of the Hampshire company’s ColdLogik Rear Door Coolers will be to keep the bank’s computer room cool despite the region’s searing desert heat. The cooling system, which is equipped with Aqua Cooling’s Queen’s Award-winning leak prevention (LPS) technology, also has the capacity to use the local chiller water supply if the community’s distribution network fails in the face of summer air temperatures that can often soar above 50 degrees centigrade. Designed to revolutionise traditional data centre cooling methods, ColdLogik heat exchangers are fitted as back doors to computer cabinets that cool the heat at source before passing the air back into the data centre at the correct temperature. Mike West, Data Centre Cooling Products Manager at Aqua Cooling’s Fareham office, said: “It’s great to see our award-winning systems installed in such an exciting location, and an added bonus that they are capable of benefitting the local community as well as our new banking client. “As Aqua Cooling’s latest export order to the Middle East, this is a groundbreaking project. Our ColdLogik system is certainly efficient enough to deal with the Middle Eastern climate and offers significant size and operating cost advantages. “Hopefully the success of this installation will pave the way for further opportunities with other clients in the region and beyond,” added Mike. This latest Aqua Cooling installation in Bahrain is designed to keep its banking client’s data centre cool and operating at an optimum room temperature of 24 degrees centigrade. Capable of chilling loads of up to 58kW per cabinet, the ColdLogik Read Door Coolers are compact and efficient, effectively reducing the minimum size requirements of buildings that house them.

Theorem Expands Team in EMEA Region

Leading mobile strategist from Amazon joins Theorem London team. Theorem, a leading digital media services company, has hired Nik Dewar as its business director, in a new role that will oversee the company’s expansion into key regions across European, Middle East and African (EMEA) markets. Dewar previously worked in senior roles at Microsoft and most recently at retail giant Amazon, where he was responsible for their mobile advertising proposition across Europe - a hugely successful and fast growing area of Amazon’s business. “Nik brings with him valuable digital media and mobile experience which will be a major asset to the management team. His knowledge in this sphere, along with international experience, will be invaluable as Theorem looks to bring increasingly innovative solutions to its clients and grow its global presence,” commented Henry Rowe, who heads up Theorem EMEA. “The digital media industry is going through unprecedented change and I am joining Theorem at a very exciting time,” commented Nik Dewar. “Theorem has tremendous opportunity for growth, bringing with it strong business strategy along with unrivalled operational excellence and scale. I am delighted to be part of the team that will take it to the next level”. Theorem is a full-service digital media company that delivers an extensive range of flexible, tailored services to help organizations plan, scale, manage and optimize their digital media initiatives. Providing a blend of domain specialty and digital best practices, coupled with an unrivalled heritage and experience in media services, Theorem underpins the digital program successes of companies including The Guardian, Rocketfuel, Hearst, Autotrader and Advance Digital. Headquartered in Chatham, New Jersey, Theorem has offices in New York, London, India and the Dominican Republic. Theorem has over 1500 global employees and serves more than 200 leading agencies, publishers, networks, technology providers, and brands.

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mea Markets News

Gulf-Based Buyers Piling into UK Property Buyers from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are piling into the British property market in order to beat the UK’s stamp duty surcharge – but many will face hurdles, reveals one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations. The observation comes ahead of the introduction this April of a 3% stamp duty surcharge on UK properties for buy-to-let investors and second homeowners compared with residential buyers. Kevin White, Head of Distribution at deVere United Kingdom, part of deVere Group, affirms: “More than 70% of all enquiries at deVere Mortgages come from foreign nationals or Britons living and working abroad. The overwhelming majority of these individuals approximately 45% – are British expats currently residing in Qatar or the UAE or they’re nationals from those two countries. “There has been a 60% month-on-month uplift in enquiries from Qatar and the UAE. People based in these Gulf nations are now piling into the British property market. “We attribute this rush-to-buy phenomenon to those who, quite sensibly, want to avoid being subjected to the extra levy. No-one wants to pay an extra 3% in stamp duty.”

Mortgages’ observations of an extremely buoyant UK property market, with demand at a three-month high. However, there are extra complications for non-UK residents. Mr White continues: “Whilst demand for UK property soars, expats and foreign buyers need to be aware that there are extra hurdles that they will have to face. “British expats and foreign buyers should know that they are typically deemed as ‘high risk’ by the vast majority of UK lenders. They are usually ‘red-flagged’ due to a lower UK credit rating as they have lived outside the UK, earned a different currency and worked for a non UK-based firm. This is often the case even for those who have substantial assets and/or a high, stable salary. “They also need to consider other important factors including the pitfall of wasting money on excessive rates and the ability to reclaim tax within 18 months. “Therefore to avoid wasting time, effort and money, it is recommended that expats wanting to purchase property in the UK seek advice from advisers who have the relevant experience of cross-border financial matters, who will help them fulfil the criteria in an increasingly strict mortgage environment, and who have established relationships with the relevant UK lenders.”

A series of recently published reports confirm deVere

Yardi Launches New Data Centre in Dubai Latest facility in the Middle East extends the Yardi Cloud, a global network of secure, scalable data management Yardi is meeting the data security and infrastructure needs of its rapidly growing client base in the Middle East by opening a new data centre in Dubai. The Dubai data centre adds to a network of more than 10 centres in North America, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Together they form the Yardi Cloud, a secure, scalable and cost-effective software provisioning and data management solution that relieves clients of IT infrastructure, support services and security responsibilities. “The client base in the Middle East has grown rapidly over the last four years and, with more and more organisations adopting cloud-based platforms, that demand continues to increase,” comments Neal Gemassmer, vice president of international for Yardi. “Our Middle East operation has grown substantially in a relatively short period of time, and the Dubai data centre is the latest step in a strategy that continues to

demonstrate commitment by investing further in the region. The Dubai data centre will provide our growing Middle East client base access to the Yardi cloud’s fast, best practice-based solution deployments, painless upgrades and reduced overhead and capital costs.” Yardi’s data centres are protected by multiple firewalls, onsite security, video surveillance, biometric screening, real-time offsite replication, fire suppression systems and other electronic and physical protections. Now in its fourth decade, Yardi is committed to the design, development and support of software for real estate investment management and property management. With the Yardi Commercial Suite™, Yardi Residential Suite™, Yardi Investment Suite™ and Yardi Orion® Business Intelligence, the Yardi Voyager® platform is a complete real estate management solution. It includes operations, accounting and services with portfolio-wide business intelligence and platform-wide mobility. Yardi serves clients worldwide from offices in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

mea Markets News Saudi Telecom Company Partners with Mirantis Partnership designed to offer the first OpenStack-Powered public cloud services in the Middle East and Africa Mirantis, the pure-play OpenStack company, and Saudi Telecom Company (STC), have announced a partnership to deliver public cloud services on Mirantis OpenStack. The largest telecommunication services provider in the Middle East and North Africa with a presence in nine countries, STC serves more than 100 million customers with a fibre-optic cable network spanning 137,000 kilometres. More customers rely on Mirantis than on any other company to get to production deployment of OpenStack at scale. Mirantis is among the top three companies worldwide in contributing open source software to OpenStack, and has helped build and deploy some of the largest OpenStack clouds in the world, at companies such as Cisco, Comcast, Ericsson, NASA, Samsung and Symantec. Mirantis is venture-backed by August Capital, Ericsson, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Insight Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, Siguler Guff & Co., and WestSummit Capital, with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Known as an innovator in the region, STC continues to invest heavily in next-generation networking services, such as OpenStack and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to increase business agility, lower costs and improve overall customer experience.

The Mirantis OpenStack partnership will initially deliver public cloud services to STC customers across the Kingdom and the region. It is the first OpenStack public cloud solution offered in MEA and STC is collaborating with Mirantis engineering to explore delivering future private cloud services and a carrier-grade NFV cloud service. “As the leading telecoms provider in our region, we are innovating the delivery of new cost-effective services to meet the fast-growing demands of our customers,” said Dr. Tarig Enaya, SVP of Enterprise Business Unit in STC. “Mirantis is an ideal partner to provide the base for STC’s OpenStack which is now powering our private, public and carrier-grade cloud initiatives to make STC Group the broadband provider of choice offering ubiquitous access, converged offerings and innovative content and application solutions.” According to Cisco, MEA will generate the highest cloud data traffic growth in the world, with cloud data forecast to increase to 260 Exabytes (260 billion Gigabytes) by 2018. “Mirantis has invested heavily in next-generation services delivery on OpenStack and we’re pleased to partner with an innovation leader like Saudi Telecom,” said Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO of Mirantis. “More and more of the world’s fast-growing telecommunications providers are turning to OpenStack as the preferred platform for their new cloud services.”

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mea Markets News VMA Group Launches in Cape Town

VMA Group, the global recruitment and headhunting specialist for corporate and marketing communications, has extended its reach in Africa by creating a hub in Cape Town. The move follows last year’s launch in Johannesburg and marks VMA Group’s ninth international practice. The opening comes hot on the heels of the successful expansion of VMA Group’s operations in Europe in recent months, with new office launches in both Paris and Frankfurt in 2015. The Cape Town office will provide additional reach for local and multinational organisations operating across African markets. Research by VMA Group has found that 60 per cent of communications teams in the region look set to expand in the next two years with 40 per cent of companies planning to expand their communications function into other fast-growing African markets to address local market needs. Like the Johannesburg hub, which is thriving in the hands of Principal Consultant, Daniel Munslow, the Cape Town office will focus on corporate and internal communications, investor relations, marketing and brand communication roles within South Africa and across the continent. In addition, VMA Group’s professional development brand, VMA Enhance, will deliver a comprehensive range of communication and leadership development training courses for teams and individuals in the locality. Lisa Wannell, Principal Consultant with VMA Group in London, has been appointed to lead the venture and has recently relocated from the UK. South Afri-

can by birth, Lisa has worked in media and private equity as well as executive search in the UK and brings over 10 years’ experience of recruiting within corporate communications and investor relations internationally. Commenting on the new office opening, VMA Group Chief Executive, Julia Meighan, said: “The growth of the communications function within emerging markets has been exponential in recent years, and I am proud that we can respond to client demand by introducing a second practice in Africa.” “This is the latest milestone in years’ of unprecedented growth for VMA Group, which includes market-leading operations across Europe, Asia, and a strategic partnership in North America. Our Cape Town practice will strengthen our offering to clients who are searching for global talent and expertise and ambitious candidates who are seeking out international roles.” Lisa Wannell, Principal Consultant, VMA Group Africa, said: “I am enormously excited by this opportunity to help build on the successes of VMA Group’s Johannesburg office over the past year. As the communications landscape in South Africa continues to evolve, so does the need to source, retain, and develop the top talent we have in our marketplace. VMA Group, with a strong track record of working both with multi-national companies as well as with local organisations in-country, is perfectly positioned to support its clients and candidates as the communications function continues to grow across Africa in all the specialist disciplines VMA represents.”


Perfection in Perfumery CPL Aromas is an internationally renowned fragrance house dedicated to innovation and quality.

The CPL Aromas story began a century ago, when John Pickthall first experimented with ways to improve the crude toiletry products of his time. This meeting between the art of the perfumer and the new possibilities offered by industrialization was to prove a defining moment – and its fruitful combination of traditional values and new technologies an inspiration for so much of what followed. John’s son Jack, an innovative chemist and world-renowned perfumer, went on to significantly shape the emerging trade, co-founding the BSP and SCS, and it was his sons Michael and Terry who were to found Contemporary Per-fumers Limited (CPL) in 1971. The company is to this day a family-run business with the next generation active in senior positions in the company. CPL Aromas is now a major international fragrance house, operating from seventeen key loca-tions worldwide, serving over 100 countries and ranking around 10th in the sector’s global league – despite being one of the youngest companies in the top tier. The company has sales of $120 M and employs 500 staff worldwide.

coupled with their commitment to good service which drove those very first ambitious experiments. In May 2015 CPL Aromas opened the MENA regions first fully automated fragrance compound manufacturing site in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free zone. The 10,000 square metre factory employs 75 staff and uses state of the art equipment ensuring world class levels of quality and service. The company now has the ability to serve its clients in the region in days rather than weeks. As well as production the facility also incorporates a full service creative centre, sales and marketing teams together with an R&D and evaluation centre. With their mission to be their customers’ first choice for fragrances, no matter what their needs, the firm’s overall aim which they use to achieve this ambitious mission is to use their trusted ex-pertise, cuttingedge technology and outstanding customer service to create fragrances that help drive client success. Moving forward the firm will continue to drive innovation, constantly seeking new sources of inspiration in order to ensure that their clients receive a top quality, unique product which they will treasure.

As the firm has grown through their dedication to pushing both technical and geographical boundaries through innovation and expansion into new regions they have retained their longstanding values. These values are the passion and spirit of independence

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mea Markets Company: CPL Aromas Address: CPL Aromas FZE, PO Box 17643, S31202, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Telephone: +971 4 880 9001 Fax: +971 4 880 9002 Website: Email:


Most Innovative PR & Corporate Communications Firm Absolute Communications Group is a Specialised Independent Public Relation Agency based in Dubai, with additional offices in India. We spoke to Victor King from the firm to gain an insight into the services it provides. Through our bespoke communications strategies including media relations, leadership Communications and Stakeholder Relations, we pride ourselves in helping local and international brands in communicating with their stakeholders and adding a layer of strategy to their corporate, product, brand and people communications. Using my prior experience in the industry, while incorporating Absolute Communications Group we developed a business model that I believe can help us obtain true success in our industry. The Business Model – C.R.U.L.E, stands for Consult; Research; Understand; Learn; Execute, and this is the structure we function under. Personally I believe that to deliver the best possible service to our clients it is important to help them understand the essence and depth of public relations, clearing any myths or assumptions very often made by clients. It is also important to maintain a transparency in service while ensuring that targets set are realistic to ensure a happy and satisfied client. Another key element of ensuring our clients are satisfied with our work is understanding the reason behind their requests. Why are we doing what we are doing and why are the clients doing what they are doing. If the reason is strong then the solutions will reflect this.

Mobility has given a rise to a growing trend of Digital/ Online PR, and as such it is important to keep in mind how the content crafted will look on smaller screens and how to constantly communicate with consumers. ‘Customization or Bespoke’ is the word of the day with PR incorporating strategic and innovative tactics to create and convey personalised messages to consumers. There is a clear shift in strategies with traditional PR playing a minor aspect and innovative communication and relational models gaining momentum. Our new organizational structure and identity is be crafted in line with these trends and industry requirement. As a 5 year old start-up my vision moving forward is to grow the business organically and horizontally. Our new operations in India is our first major step into international markets. We plan to expand further deep in India, North and South Africa, Europe and Americas in the coming years Another major development to watch out for will be our new identity launch during the second quarter of this year. This will showcase our new corporate structure and the specialist verticals that we plan to penetrate into within the communications landscape.

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Company: Absolute Communications Name: Victor King Address: 403, Al Ameri Tower, TECOM, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Telephone: +971 56 424 1999 Website: Email:


Inspired Design House Inspired Design House is a Dubai based firm that specializes in exhibition stand design, conference signage design, corporate branding and more. We speak to An¬upa Vara about the firm’s work and how she has grown the firm into the successful enterprise it is today. Inspired Design House is ultimately my company and creation, which was born from my passion for design. Starting the firm offered me a chance to tap into the expanding market for exhibitions within the GCC and specifically Dubai.

discipline in myself. Looking back after five years and I believe that dedicating myself to the management of the business was the best decision I have ever made.

Five years after I started my journey with the company it has grown to become the first choice for major brands and corporations to find creative and trust worthy solutions in the world of exhibitions and conferences, from the design and implementation of Brand identity, to the development of their key brand messages combined with our creative vision. One of our core values as a team is to exceed client’s expectations and that comes from communicating with them from start to the end, ensuring their requirements are put forward first. Along with this, I encourage my team to expand their creativity in order to set us apart from our competition as there is always a way in which we can deliver good design within a given budget. Time is very much of the essence and in this industry if we don’t work effectively and to deadlines then there is always another company who can. Therefore working fast does not mean we produce better work; instead I practice working efficiently and effectively above all else. This business can be a tiresome one in terms of the level of dedication that’s needed from the hours spent in the office to being onsite delivering outstanding results. Having said that, I have been fortunate enough to have sourced a team of like-minded individuals who not only have a passion for using their creativity within the company but in being a part of the expansion and development in IDH specifically. Passion is and always will be the most important quality to me. Ultimately I have always believed that IDH can only be successful through making sacrifices, and for me personally that has meant that I’ve had to step aside from the aspect of designing for my clients. I am a graphic designer by profession but I have had to put that aside for the time being to concentrate solely on developing and growing the business. As such I have had to focus my attention to detail on marketing, business development and act solely as a managing director for the company. This has not only instilled a great level of trust and commitment from my staff and designers but

My work to drive success in the business has included giving IDH a completely new identity. We have rebranded the company through a fresh new website, one that falls in line with the image of a company that has produced excellent work and showcases top of the range clients and demonstrates exactly how those clients have been serviced from start to completion. Since the rebranding, we’ve attracted a vast amount of new business and clientele and it certainly was the best investment we have made over recent years. Image is particularly important in a highly competitive market such as design. I am a firm believer in establishing a mutually respectful and cohesive environment when taking on a new client as I feel business is always based off of establishing great relationships first. It certainly helps in terms of understanding my client’s needs and expectations and sometimes that doesn’t always come across when the relationship hasn’t been established. It’s important that IDH is a personable company whereby my clients feel their vision is appreciated and viewed with respect and met with opinions and thoughts in a mutually beneficial way. It is key that we offer competitive pricing for each package and do not follow one set regime of pricing as that does not work for all clients, especially in this region. Staying one step ahead of the competition is also a key factor in surviving in this market. I ensure that I myself, along with my team still manage to visit all the important trade shows every year, whether our clients are exhibiting or not. It’s always important to understand what is trending in the market, what we can improve on and learn from our competitors in order to develop IDH. We constantly strive to push boundaries in terms of creativity and innovation in the Exhibition and Conference markets. Our attention to detail and quality of work and level of service is what we pride ourselves on creating long lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships with our clients.

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Company: Inspired Design House Name: Anupa Vara Address: JLT, Dubai Telephone: + 971 4 454 2413 Website: Email:


Innovation in Qatar Banking QNB First Bank in Qatar to launch NCR interactive video teller technology.

QNB, the leading Financial Institution in the Middle East and North Africa, becomes the first bank in Qatar to introduce Interactive Teller, from NCR Corporation, the global leader in consumer transaction technologies. The Interactive Teller technology, located at QNB’s Al Sadd branch, allows a live teller to take remote control of the ATM to assist customers with up to 95% of traditional transactions typically completed by tellers inside a branch. The launch of NCR’s advanced software is part of QNB’s ongoing efforts to find creative solutions to exceed the expectations of its valued customers. The Interactive Teller offers additional services than can be conducted on an ATM or other self-service devices. For instance, customers can perform secure transactions without using a traditional ATM card, and, like branch tellers, remote tellers can provide customers access to cash withdrawal and deposits from their accounts in amounts over the standard ATM daily cash withdrawal limits. “The NCR Interactive Teller is a strategic investment for QNB, as it cost-effectively delivers a new face-toface branch teller experience to our customers via the Interactive Teller, anywhere, anytime,” said Heba AlTamimi, General Manager of Group Retail at QNB. She added, “Designed to provide remote assisted service, the Interactive Teller enables our customers to carry out the entire branch banking transactions 24/7 at the ATM, and that allows us to get closer to our customers and offer them an unrivalled experience. During this phase, the service will be available based on the branch operating hours.”

privacy and security to execute transactions using private touchscreens via secured video and voice communication sessions, which can be recorded for quality purposes. Customers can have private conversations by using the handset on the Interactive Teller or by simply plugging in their own personal headset. “The Interactive Teller enables the migration of routine, expensive transactions from the teller counter at the branch to the ATM channel, giving financial institutions the combined benefits of personalized services, lower processing costs, faster transacting and smaller footprint branches,” said George Flouros, NCR, vice president for Middle East and Africa region. “QNB will now be able to give its customers live face-to-face interaction with experienced tellers at the Interactive Teller, delivering a highly personalized and secure banking experience for customers, beyond traditional banking hours.” The Interactive Teller allows QNB customers to execute all branch banking services, such as cash withdrawals above the daily limit than a standard ATM, cash deposits, Cheque deposit, Cheque encashment, credit card payments, money transfers, and others. The services will now be available beyond the traditional branch banking hours. As the biggest bank in Qatar, QNB endeavors to constantly build its relationships with customers by providing outstanding and unique services. Recently, the bank was awarded “The Best Bank in the Middle East” and “The Best Bank in Qatar” by the renowned international finance magazine Euromoney and “Best Direct Bank” by the Asian Banker in 2015.

In addition to Cheque deposit and encashment, the Interactive Teller allows QNB customers with adequate

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It’s time to unleash the power of youth capital The world’s population has never been younger and nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in emerging markets, home to more than 1.8 billion 15 to 24-year-olds. This is the demographic dividend; the prospect of unleashing youth capital to fuel spectacular growth. Emerging markets account for more than 50% of the global economy. While growth has stagnated in many developed economies, the speed of change in the BRICs is unprecedented. China apart, they have youthful populations; their energy and potential is apparently limitless. “Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress,” according to the United Nations Population Fund. Yet, in too many of these societies, there is a generational divide. Political leaders, far from exploiting the “youth bulge”, seem frightened by it. They see problems, rather than opportunities. In India, which has a youth population of 356 million, it is ‘surplus’ young men; in China, university-educated manual labourers; in Russia, young alcoholics. Too many young people are trapped in cycles of inequality; social and economic mobility remains elusive; education is sub-standard; youth unemployment and underemployment is alarmingly high and rising; alienation is breeding violence and despair. Economic progress cannot be sustained if robust health, education and welfare systems are not put in place. The prosperity of a society does not exist in a vacuum; it must be underpinned by social, legal and environmental policies that promote it. Every aspect is intimately linked.

focus specifically on the social and welfare issues with which these countries are grappling. In previous years, the symposium has published reports on subjects such as child health, urbanization and security, but this year our focus is on young people in emerging markets - perhaps the most important subject of them all. Appropriately, of the 45 experts from 20 emerging markets and high-income countries, who were joined by 14 graduate students, one in three were under 30. The aim is to provide realistic answers to complex issues, identifying unexploited opportunities, and to do that credibly, we need to ensure the voice of this generation is heard. Jo Boyden, Professor of International Development at Oxford University, told the symposium that an estimated 200 million young people are failing to achieve their development potential. Young people comprise around 50% of the world’s poor, yet most live in middle-income countries, not the world’s poorest societies. Professor Boyden heads an innovative research programme, Young Lives, which has been studying the progress of 12,000 children in India, Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam over the last 15 years. Her team of researchers report dramatic improvements in infrastructure projects during this period, but the divide between rural and urban societies remains the key determinant of educational attainment and life outcomes. The scale of the social and geo-political challenges faced by emerging economies is immense. The challenge of sustaining economic growth goes hand in hand with tackling human welfare issues.

Over the past decade, plenty of conferences and summits have been held to consider the economic and financial implications of the remarkable growth of emerging markets, but generally from the perspective of investors. That focus is too narrow. We cannot ignore the wider issues because a society’s prosperity depends on social cohesion just as much as the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

Young people are disproportionately affected by societal challenges. Youth unemployment is often double the national average in emerging economies - yet these young people who cannot find jobs are often more highly skilled than the generation who are in work. This is happening at a time when traditional social institutions are losing their authority: a perfect storm.

That’s why C and C Alpha Group, which does business all over the world, set up the Emerging Markets Symposium eight years ago in partnership with Green Templeton College at Oxford University. Experts from across the globe come together under the chairmanship of Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, to

The purpose of the Emerging Markets Symposium, which we have committed to fund for at least another three years, is to persuade policy-makers there are practical, affordable answers to these difficult questions. Failing to answer them is not an option.

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We had three days of intensive and informed debate. Our full report will be published later this year, but three key priorities have been identified: •

overhauling education strategies to promote citizenship, critical thinking, entrepreneurism and social skills alongside academic and vocational skills re-designing health systems to make them more youth sensitive, including a more focused approach to mental health problems; greater participation of young people in civic and political life by lowering the voting age to 16, and setting up domestic ‘Peace Corps’ to promote social inclusion

Excluding young people from political systems and failing to prioritise investment in their health, education, well-being and productive capacity undermines the sustainability of these emerging economies. No one under-estimates the difficulty of achieving change; but the starting point surely needs to be a more positive dialogue between the generations. Bhanu Choudhrie is founder of C&C Alpha Group, an international private equity business headquartered in London.


Partnership to Change Egyptian Tech Market OT and Etisalat join forces to launch Internet of Things services in Egypt Oberthur Technologies (OT), a leading global provider of embedded security software products, services and solutions, has announced its collaboration with Etisalat Misr, a leading Telecommunications service provider, to launch M2M and IoT services. Relying on OT’s M-Sense solution, a cutting edge software platform enabling fast service deployment, Etisalat Misr will enable its Enterprise customers to quickly launch new M2M and IoT services. OT is a world leader in embedded digital security that protects you when you connect, authenticate or pay. The firm is strategically positioned in high growth markets and offers embedded security software solutions for “end-point” devices as well as associated remote management solutions to a huge portfolio of international clients, including banks and financial institutions, mobile operators, authorities and governments, as well as manufacturers of connected objects and equipment. OT employs over 6 300 employees worldwide, including almost 700 R&D people. With a global footprint of 4 regional secure manufacturing hubs and 39 secure service centers, OT’s international network serves clients in 140 countries. This partnership is a concrete outcome of the Frame Agreement signed between OT and Etisalat Group (Abu Dhabi) in July 2015. The project aims to deliver a tailored and modular solution enabling selected local ecosystem partners to leverage the platform’s ready-made components and use existing application frameworks. These components include sensor data visualization, reporting, business rules and off-the-shelf applications in order to further build customized applications. OT’s reactivity to develop and propose a scalable commercial configuration has been a critical element in Etisalat’s decision. Indeed, the full platform serving the initial priority projects and selected IoT Services will be available in a short timeframe. Etisalat Misr has selected OT’s M-Sense platform, powered by Cumulocity, the leading software

provider of IoT application enablement and device management (source: MachNation December 2015 IoT Report), for its rich set of horizontal capabilities for both application enablement and device management. M-Sense allows easy and fast device integration over any network. It secures collection, visualization and real-time management of various IoT data from any M2M device and controls remotely connected enterprise assets in real time. OT’s M-Sense solution will enable Etisalat to accelerate the deployment of vertical applications, whether they are for Smart Cities, Universities or enterprises operating in the Transport, Oil and Energy or Real Estate sectors, to name but a few. Etisalat, the leading emerging markets telecom group, is headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Since its inception almost four decades ago, Etisalat has been introducing innovative connectivity solutions for its customers across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These cutting-edge solutions have given Etisalat the ability to expand its subscriber base to more than 173 million in the 19 international markets it operates in. Etisalat’s market cap is 96.8 billion AED, equaling 26.4 billion USD. Etisalat Misr from launch to date has maintained technology leadership and serves millions of customer across Egypt with the best quality of products and services making it a market leader in the telecom industry in Egypt and aiming to “Become the ICT provider of choice in the Egyptian telecom market”. Etisalat believes in innovation and under the slogan “A New Day A New ideas” customers are provided by daily below the line campaigns and promotions as well as focusing and addressing the enterprise segment demands in the Egyptian market. “OT has been a long-term partner for Etisalat, already supplying Etisalat with both SIM cards and secure mission-critical software platforms. Moving from quality of service era to quality of life one is our approach in Etisalat Misr. Our IoT solutions will dramatically improve energy efficiency, security, logistics, education and many other aspects of everyday things”,said Khaled Rabie CBO at Etisalat Misr, adding “OT’s solution for IoT application

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enablement and M2M device management will help us to drive our IoT strategy, test innovative concepts and build the many value-added services the market is looking for and that we are willing to bring to our potential customers.” “We are extremely happy to partner with Etisalat Misr to have a rich portfolio of M2M and IoT applications and services, and increase the benefits

for their Enterprise customers. As OT’s M-Sense is an open and standardized platform, Etisalat customers will get access to a wide range of tools and software components and they will be able to quickly develop and launch a large portfolio of innovative M2M and IoT applications” said Arnaud de La Chapelle, OT’s RMEA President.


Qalaa Holdings is the Platinum Sponsor of COMESA’s “Africa 2016 Investment Forum” in Sharm El-Sheikh Qalaa Holdings an African leader in energy and infrastructure, announced today its participation in the Africa 2016 Investment Forum, which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh on 20-21 February under the patronage of President Abdelfattah El-Sisi. The event will bring together government officials, private sector leaders and other stakeholders from the COMESA region who will collaborate to create a unified vision based on their collective experience ahead of the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). “African markets continue to offer unique investment opportunities. Despite the challenges, Africa has unmatched fundamentals and remarkable potential for growth that is commensurate with the aspirations of its young, growing population,” said Ahmed Heikal, Founder and Chairman of Qalaa Holdings. “However, this growth will be conditional upon the continent’s ability to pool the global capital and expertise required to maximize efficiency and achieve sustainable and impactful growth that will advance Africa’s competitiveness on the global economic arena.” “Africa has a clear US$ 93 billion annual deficit in infrastructure spending and that’s a massive opportunity by any count. With the continent set to become home to the world’s largest workingage population within a few decades, there’s never been a better time to invest in Africa, which stands today as a 1 billion-strong consumer market and home to seven out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies,” said Heikal. “In each of the industries in which we invest, we seek to address a specific value proposition that will help drive growth on the African continent. These include energy deregulation, demand for infrastructure, population growth, and the favorable economics of exporting,” said Karim Sadek, Qalaa Holdings Managing Director and Head of Transportation and Logistics investments including railway operations in Kenya and Uganda through RVR and river transport investments in Egypt and South Sudan under the umbrella of Nile Logistics. “Ongoing collaboration and aligned vision on the economic front is integral to achieving sustainable development in Africa. The lack of efficient modes

of transport is one of the major hurdles that stand in the way of growing intra-regional trade volumes. Government efforts to coordinate and upgrade cross-border regulatory frameworks must go hand in hand with private sector investment to build new infrastructure that would facilitate the transport of goods and reduce the cost intra-regional trade creating global export hubs within the region. RVR is Qalaa Holdings’ primary investment in the African rail transport sector with a 25-year concession to operate the Kenya-Uganda railway. Since the start of the USD 287 million capital investment and turnaround program that began in January 2012, RVR has invested in modern rail operating technology, rebuilding infrastructure, expanding haulage capacity and developing modern rail operating skills in the company’s 2,000 strong workforce. The time that it takes to move a container by rail from Mombasa to Kampala has been reduced by more than half and trains are running on time for the first time in decades. RVR has also overhauled more than half of its fleet of locomotives and purchased 20 additional locomotives in addition to hundreds of new wagons. Previous Qalaa Holdings press releases on this subject and others may be viewed online from your computer, tablet or mobile device at qalaaholdings. com/newsroom Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is the Kenya-Uganda concessionaire operating freight rail services in Kenya and Uganda on an exclusive basis. The concession company went through a shareholder restructuring in Q3 of 2010 and was given the mandate to operate railway services on 2,352 kilometers of track linking the port of Mombasa with the interiors of Kenya and Uganda, including Kampala. Qalaa Holdings(CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Stock Exchange) is an African leader in infrastructure and industry. Formerly known as Citadel Capital, Qalaa Holdings controls subsidiaries in industries including Energy, Cement, Transportation & Logistics, and Mining. To learn more, please visit

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Tapping into African Online Travel Market Travelstart raises $40 million U.S to extend market leadership and capture Africa’s fast growing multibillion dollar online travel market Travelstart, the South African-based Online Travel Agency (OTA) with offices throughout Africa and subsidiaries in the Middle East and Turkey, has announced a US$40 million funding from Amadeus Capital Partners, the global technology investor. Founded in 1999 in Sweden as the true pioneer of online travel, Travelstart’s African businesses were spun off in 2010 to focus on the emerging market opportunity, where it has been growing profitably since and now has 75% market share. Travelstart addresses the complexities in the African travel market by directly accessing local supply, solving language and currency problems as well as the diverse plethora of payment methods. In addition to its first class technology platform which meets the need of travel bookers on mobile and desktop, Travelstart prides itself on delivering an exceptional service experience to its customers. The firm provides travellers with real-time access to thousands of flights from all carriers and serves 2 million monthly users in 16 countries. Travelstart has been in South Africa since 2006 and has offices in Cape Town, Dubai, Istanbul, Lagos, Cairo and Dar es Salaam. Their new investor, Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor which, since its inception in 1997, has raised over $1bn for investment and backed more than 100 companies in the software, mobile, internet, cyber security and medical technology sectors. The investment team is based in India, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA, has deep experience in technology and invests in high-growth companies from early stage to pre-IPO. With the new funding comes a strategic partnership with Africa’s largest mobile telecommunications provider MTN which has a subscriber base of more than 230 million. The funding will be used for Travelstart’s expansion and to solidify the company’s position as the biggest OTA player on that continent. Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30 September 2015, MTN recorded 233 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville),

Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Africa is considered the last frontier in online travel. In most developed countries Internet and mobile travel purchases now represent the lion’s share of the online travel market while in Africa web-based travel companies share less than 5% of the entire market. “Travelstart celebrates 10 years in Africa this year,” says Travelstart CEO Stephan Ekbergh, “In that time our in-house team has built a robust platform to serve consumers and significantly lower fares for all travellers. We take all the complexities out of travel for both travellers and suppliers and solve real problems that only exist in the most diverse of markets.” The investment is the largest of its kind on the African continent in Turkey and the Middle East, “Africa alone is a US$50 billion travel market growing between 3% and 5% annually. The investment from Amadeus Capital and the MTN partnership is a fantastic fit for our company as we share the same ideology and long term commitment,” said Ekbergh. Amadeus Capital Partners’ Andrea Traversone will join Travelstart’s Board of Directors as part of this financing. “The market potential for Travelstart is huge and the company is already a tour de force in emerging markets. They are one of the most profitable e-commerce companies on the African continent and with this new round of funding Travelstart will be able to fast-track its already rapid growth. We’re excited to spearhead this round and to see the company’s continued growth and success,” said Traversone. Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer, MTN, added: “MTN’s vision is one of delivering a Bold New Digital World and this investment in partnership with Amadeus is a key step on a multi-year journey to achieve that promise. It strongly complements our existing investments in online and e-commerce in retail, marketplaces, classifieds and travel. This investment in the largest multi-national player in a very large and rapidly growing market positions MTN as an enabler of exciting new leading edge businesses. The MTN footprint, subscriber base, payment capability, network and brand awareness strongly underpin the synergies already being manifested in our other investments. We look forward to working with Amadeus and the Travelstart team to accelerate the business development of this adjacency.”

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World Bank President Announces Cost of Support to MENA Region Support to the Middle East and North Africa will amount to us$20 billion in the next five years according to the President of the World Bank.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has announced that the World Bank Group will be tripling its commitment to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the next five years to nearly US$20 billion to address the consequences of conflict and to help countries recover and rebuild. Speaking at the UK’s Supporting Syria and the Region conference, Kim said, “It is imperative that we rise to the challenge of the humanitarian crisis at hand, and that we do so in a way that supports development for generations to come.” To support countries hosting large numbers of refugees, the World Bank Group is working on an extraordinary measure to provide US$200 million dollars in concessional financing to help create jobs and increase access to education in Lebanon and Jordan. “More than 2 million refugees from Syria are now in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Lebanon,” said Kim. “The world owes a great debt to those two nations, who have generously helped Syrians, even though it has meant great sacrifice for their people and their economies.” In addition, the World Bank Group in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank and the United Nations has launched an initiative to expand the amount of financing available to the region. For Jordan and Lebanon, the MENA Financing Initiative aims to provide concessional financing by using grants from donor countries to buy down interest on loans. The goal is to raise US$1 billion dollars of grants from donors to leverage between US$3 and US$4 billion dollars in concessional finance. A second facility aims to support countries in rebuilding and recovering from the consequences of war and fragility by tapping international financial markets to issue special

bonds, including sukuk/Islamic bonds. “In short, we are doing all we can to find innovative ways to help these countries,” said Kim. “One prominent example is that Prime Minister David Cameron, His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan and I began discussing, in September, how best to create jobs for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees. We are exploring the creation of special economic zones, and encouraging investments in municipal projects and labor intensive work. Our purpose is to create mutual benefit for the host communities as well as the refugees.” The Government of Jordan, UK’s Department for International Development, and the World Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm are working on a proposal for special economic and industrial zones near Jordan’s border with Syria. The project aims to give refugees more job opportunities by attracting foreign investors and supporting the relocation of displaced Syrian businesses. “We’re determined that our resources will be put to immediate and long-lasting use,” concluded Kim, “to create jobs, to educate children, and to provide economic opportunities for both Syrian refugees as well as their generous hosts in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.” These financing initiatives emerge from a new strategy for the World Bank in the MENA region that aims to work with partners to address the causes of instability. The goal is to promote measures to rebuild the relationship between the state and its citizens, boost the resilience of countries coping with the consequences of conflict and hosting large numbers of refugees, strengthen mechanisms for regional cooperation and prepare for recovery and reconstruction.

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YuppTV Partners with Sun Network to Launch 10 Channels in MENA YuppTV, the world’s largest Over-The-Top (OTT) provider for Indian content, has partnered with leading South Indian television network Sun Network to offer numerous regional entertainment options to its users.

With the partnership in place, YuppTV will launch 10 channels in four languages – Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada – in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). YuppTV is one of the world’s leading Over-the-top (OTT) content providers for South Asian Content. YuppTV was founded in 2006, with headquarters in Atlanta, GA, and has branch offices in the USA and India. YuppTV started with two channels and has grown to deliver more than 200+ TV Channels today. YuppTV is accessible on more than 25 internet enabled - Connected TVs, Internet STBs, Smart Blu-ray players, PCs, Smart Phones and Tablets. Under the agreement, YuppTV will make the following Sun Network channels available for its MENA viewers – Surya and Kiran (Malayalam), SunTV, KTV, Sun Music, Adithya TV (Tamil), Gemini TV, Gemini Movies & Gemini Comedy (Telugu) and Udaya TV (Kannada). The move will add more content to YuppTV’s entertainment repertoire which boasts of over 25000 hours of video content in its catalogue. Speaking on the partnership, Mr. Uday Reddy, Founder & CEO, YuppTV, said, “As the leading digital entertainment provider for expats from the South Asian community, we pride ourselves on making the latest content available to our users across the world. By entering into partnership with Sun Network, one of the largest TV networks in South India, we will curate even more regional entertainment options to add to our already impressive library.”

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Mahesh Kumar, President, Sun TV Network Ltd remarked. “The partnership with YuppTV is yet another initiative in line with our strategy to improve SunTV’s presence on digital networks and beef up distribution through a variety of OTT platforms worldwide.” Sun TV Network Limited is a leading name in Indian broadcast media industry headquartered in Chennai, India. Established in the year 1993, Sun TV is the largest regional TV network offering a bouquet of thirty three TV channels that are watched by over 95 million Indian households and several more in over 27 other countries. Sun TV also operates - through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies - a network of 48 FM Radio stations across India. Sun TV also owns the Hyderabad-based cricket team Sunrisers Hyderabad that plays in the Indian Premier League, the most watched sporting event in the country. As the leading OTT provider for South Asian content, YuppTV already has content partnerships with leading television networks to provide 200+ channels in the South Asian region. With entertainment options in 13 languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Gujarati, Sinhala, Urdu and Bangla, the brand has established itself as the digital destination for South Asian content in the world.

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M&A IN MENA The world of private equity and M&A is changing fast: opportunities are increasing, but so is the challenge of maximising risk-adjusted returns. This is especially true in Africa and the Middle East, which are the most promising markets but where the lack of valuable data and an uncertain legal framework could turn the budding green fields into barren lands. John Shehata, of counsel, BonelliErede talks us through the latest on the activity in the region and how it is affecting the wider markets.

In terms of data, it is interesting that leading GCCbased accounting and consulting firms recently emphasised how the negative backdrop in the MENA region (such as the political turmoil and the repercussions of the slump in oil prices) led to significantly reduced M&A there in 2015. In fact, the estimated value of completed transactions was US$11 billion for the first quarter, followed by a dramatic fall to approx. US$3 billion in the subsequent two quarters. However, other reports suggest otherwise. According to estimates from US and Canada international data collection and analysis providers, the value of reported M&A transactions in the region reached US$33.7 billion in the first nine months of 2015: 23% more than the amount registered for the same period in 2014, with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates being the most active markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Other analyses are even more positive: in the first few weeks of 2016, well-known consulting firms based in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates reported a record-breaking number of cross-border deals by value in the Middle East in 2015 – despite political and economic change, low oil prices and macroeconomic uncertainty. According to consulting firms, investors are becoming increasingly hungry for good deals in key sectors such as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), energy and infrastructure and healthcare. Indeed, the data shows that while the industrial sector led by volume with 195 cross-border deals globally, the healthcare and consumer sectors performed particularly well by value, recording US$219.2 billion and US$152.8 billion in deals respectively. Although the data is not univocal, a common denominator can be seen: across the global spectrum, transactions in emerging markets, such as the MENA region, increased in terms of volume and

value; but while the numbers for Europe remained quite stable, Latin America suffered a dramatic fall. Of all the markets in the region, Egypt deserves particular attention: this is where some of the biggest deals were done, including the acquisition of Amoun Pharmaceutical S.A.E. by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (for an estimated value of approx. US$800 million) and the acquisition of Commercial International Life S.A.E. by AXA Insurance. More recently, French telco Orange increased its market share in North Africa by taking a 5% stake in the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services for US$184 million. Furthermore, BiscoMisr and Arab Dairy attracted takeover bids from Gulf and international investors, but many large companies, such as Emaar Misr, Etisalat Misr, Orascom Development and Beltone Financial, took the route of the local stock market to facilitate their intense growth plans. Nevertheless, the Egyptian market continues to suffer due to the various shortcomings in its legal framework. These include problems with company law and the weaknesses of local courts, which cause most international investors to use vehicles incorporated outside Egypt in order to invest there, to choose foreign law to govern their contracts, and to require any disputes to be resolved through international arbitration outside Egypt. If the country wants to offer a more welcoming environment for foreign direct investment, a key step will be to revise its company law to reflect international norms. On the more positive side, Egypt’s Corporate Governance Code of 2005 deserves merit for its significant contribution to achieving the best protection of, and balance between, the interests of company management, shareholders and other stakeholders. Unfortunately, however, compliance is not mandatory, so many companies do not comply with it.

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Finally, foreign currency flow should also be better regulated to make hard currency available in Egypt and to encourage foreign investors, who are usually keen to repatriate part of their profits in dollars or euros. Moreover, market protectionist strategies should be avoided, especially to prevent investors being forced to buy raw materials and components from the local market and to permit non-Egyptians to obtain legal residency in order to manage their investments directly or through their employees, which has the added benefit of enhancing capacity building of the local workforce. To conclude, although data on M&A activity in the region, particularly in Egypt, is positive overall, a

certain lack of consistency exists. Furthermore, the flaws in the local legal frameworks, primarily Egypt, should also be carefully addressed and taken into particular account when evaluating new business opportunities. Nonetheless, a more comprehensive analysis of the industry and the local legal framework is needed if the country is to help investors orient themselves. Thus, a study of these issues by a reputable independent body would be welcomed by all investors keen to explore the opportunities in Egypt. This will provide investors with a really useful tool to properly evaluate all the challenges Egypt presents and all the opportunities of the country that is best placed to be the hub for investors keen to discover Africa’s great potential.


Hibernia Networks Extends Service Reach into Middle East New Dubai Point of Presence provides customers with lowest latency connection between New York and Dubai Hibernia Networks, a leading provider of global telecommunications solutions, has announced that it has established a Point of Presence (PoP) in Dubai, UAE. The new PoP enables customers to benefit from Hibernia Networks’ comprehensive suite of data and media services, as well as industry leading low latency connectivity solutions linking Dubai to other major financial and media centres in Europe, North America and Asia. Hibernia Networks owns and operates a global network connecting North America, Europe and Asia, serving 89 markets and spanning 25 countries. The firm serves customers with unparalleled support, flexibility and service in a variety of industry segments including the financial services, web-centric, media and entertainment, and telecom service provider segments. Alongside these services Hibernia Networks also provides secure and diverse dedicated Ethernet, DTM, Wavelengths and carrier-grade IP Transit services. As a true, end-to-end service provider, Hibernia Networks also offers cloud connectivity, low latency services and HiberniaCDN for seamless anytime, anywhere content delivery. Hibernia Networks’ new transatlantic cable, Hibernia Express, provides the lowest latency connectivity available between North America and Europe. “With its strategic location, Dubai is a major international hub for financial markets as well as media and content distribution throughout the region and beyond,” states Omar Altaji, CCO of Hibernia Networks. “Hibernia Networks’ presence in Dubai confirms our commitment to strategically expanding our global network reach into new geographic locations in order to provide customers with the high-speed, high-quality connections they require around the globe for applications such as split second financial transactions and live broadcast feeds. We look forward to continued growth in key local and regional markets to better serve increasing global demand for secure and diverse low latency connectivity solutions.” The new PoP is located in one of Dubai’s major telecom hubs, enabling seamless cross-connects to other networks extending into the Middle East and the rest of the world. The Ethernet-based connectivity

service leverages the unmatched latency performance of the Hibernia Express cable across the Atlantic, which connects Europe and North America. “Network latency has become a critical performance factor for financial firms, content providers, and cloud computing platforms,” stated Erik Kreifeldt, senior analyst at TeleGeography. “These industry segments stand to benefit from the low latency connectivity option that Hibernia Networks has introduced to and from Dubai.” According to TeleGeography, demand for international bandwidth between the Middle East and North America is projected to grow 39% annually from 2015 to 2022, making the move a strong strategy for Hibernia to grow future sales. Finally, foreign currency flow should also be better regulated to make hard currency available in Egypt and to encourage foreign investors, who are usually keen to repatriate part of their profits in dollars or euros. Moreover, market protectionist strategies should be avoided, especially to prevent investors being forced to buy raw materials and components from the local market and to permit non-Egyptians to obtain legal residency in order to manage their investments directly or through their employees, which has the added benefit of enhancing capacity building of the local workforce. To conclude, although data on M&A activity in the region, particularly in Egypt, is positive overall, a certain lack of consistency exists. Furthermore, the flaws in the local legal frameworks, primarily Egypt, should also be carefully addressed and taken into particular account when evaluating new business opportunities. Nonetheless, a more comprehensive analysis of the industry and the local legal framework is needed if the country is to help investors orient themselves. Thus, a study of these issues by a reputable independent body would be welcomed by all investors keen to explore the opportunities in Egypt. This will provide investors with a really useful tool to properly evaluate all the challenges Egypt presents and all the opportunities of the country that is best placed to be the hub for investors keen to discover Africa’s great potential.

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Baran Telecom Selects Perception to Bring IPTV Services to Iran PerceptionTV Ltd partners with Baran Telecom to create new internet television service for Iran PerceptionTV Ltd was founded as a software licensing and platform services company responsible for the global development and distribution of the Perception™ multi-screen IPTV / OTT platform. The firm is responsible for the global sales and marketing of Perception™, a complete, fully scalable and rapidly deployable platform, operational since 2006. Perception™ combines live TV, catch-up TV, video on demand and network PVR into a single user interface across multiple screens. Headquartered in London, PerceptionTV also has offices in Slovenia, UAE and Brazil, offering a global reach. The firm has announced that its Perception platform has been chosen by Baran Telecom as the preferred platform for a new IPTV service in Iran. Perception was chosen for its unique endto-end capability to quickly roll out IPTV to any connected device. The deal secures PerceptionTV’s lead in tackling new global business opportunities, including Iran, a vibrant country eager to move into the multiscreen market. The Perception platform delivers that high quality multiscreen TV entertainment combining live TV, catch up services, video on demand and a cloud-based personal video recorder, through one intuitive programme guide to offer the most flexible and effective internet television service available today. Baran Telecom announced the launch of the AIO trial service on the 1st February, hoping to secure 500,000 viewers during the current Iranian year, with a forecast of three million viewers over the longer term. With 20 linear channels already live they are also working closely with content providers to secure 1,000 titles of audio and visual on demand content by 19th March 2017 – ranging from local Persian news to globally recognised films. The Perception platform will be available via set top box, smart TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones.

Baran Telecom is one of five licence holders, issued by the government and AIO is one of the first IPTV platforms to be launched in Iran. The deregulation of TV has allowed Perception to enter a rapidly developing market that is eager to roll out additional services on the platform such as educational courses, TV banking and online gaming in years to come. Baran Telecom was founded in 2015 by Arya Hamrah and Fanap to establish a new and dynamic telecommunications business fit for the rapidly changing Iranian market. Since its launch, the firm has successfully established itself as a market leader becoming one of five companies who have been granted an IRIB IPTV/OTT license, forming a consortium with other authoritative Iranian companies to deliver the expertise and resources required.
Baran Telecom provides a combination of the most advanced solutions, including live streaming, VOD, AOD and other value-added services such as distance learning, health, entertainment, e-Commerce and banking. These ubiquitous services are delivered via fixed and mobile telecommunications networks to Persians all over the world. John Mills, CEO of PerceptionTV Ltd comments: “With 74 million citizens and a developing hunger for technology and television, Iran is a critical new market for the Perception platform. The deal with Baran Telecom demonstrates how the Perception platform can be deployed quickly and simply to enable new television services to any connected device. We are committed to leading the way in opening up new IPTV markets across the globe” Kaivan Jamehbozorg, CEO of Baran Telecom Co. comments: “The quality, flexibility and speed of the IPTV platform was extremely important to us. Following evaluation, Perception proved to be the best in class technology to introduce varied television content to Iran”

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Amira Nature Foods Ltd Announces New Partnership for UAE Market Amira Forms Strategic Alliance with MAN Consumer, One of the Fastest Growing FMCG Distributors in the United Arab Emirates Amira Nature Foods Ltd, a leading global provider of branded packaged Indian specialty rice, has recently announced that it has joined hands with MAN Consumer, a wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Investments UAE, to form a strategic alliance for the distribution of Amira products in the United Arab Emirates. The agreement was formalized last week with an official signing ceremony in Dubai at Gulfood 2016, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality trade show. Amira was a gold sponsor for the event which drew approximate 85,000 attendees over a five day period. Founded in 1915, Amira has evolved into a leading global provider of branded packaged Indian specialty rice and other products, with sales in over 60 countries. The Company primarily sells Basmati rice, which is a premium long-grain rice grown only in certain regions of the Indian sub-continent, under its flagship Amira brand as well as under other third party brands. Amira sells its products through a broad distribution network in both the developed and emerging markets. The Company’s global headquarters are in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and it also has offices in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

MAN Consumer, one of the fastest growing distribution companies in the United Arab Emirates, is a wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Investments, which is a part of Mohammed Juma Al Naboodah’s private office, a major Emirati conglomerate. With a vision to be the largest FMCG distributor in the UAE and a leading player in the broader MENA region, MAN Consumer presently distributes 30+ brands in the region, spread across diverse set of segments. Amira’s Chairman Mr. Karan A. Chanana during the press meet stated, “We are delighted to be working with MAN Consumer to strengthen our brand distribution. This marks an exciting step for Amira in the UAE. We look forward to working with the group to increase our product availability in the region, allowing more Emirates consumers to discover the Amira brand and our excellent range of quality rice.” MAN Consumer General Manager Mr.Taranjit Singh stated, “Amira’s premium aged rice ranges intend to bring delight to consumers, like no other. With our strong distribution strengths, MAN intend to ensure Amira’s availability in every single corner of the country and make Amira a household name.”

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