Business Transformation Issue 54

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business and digital transformation enabler.
AWS is preparing regional
executives to leverage
cloud as a
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Vijay Bakshi


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Rahul Arya



Today it is fundamental that the C-Suite understands the business benefits of cloud and how it enables an enterprise to accelerate in its digital transformation journey. So fundamental is this understanding, that leading hyperscaler AWS has a special internal team of high-level executives, evangelising the role being played by cloud.

Says Mark Schwartz, the role at AWS is to work with large customers, to help them with what are usually the non-technical challenges in a big transformation. Things like cultural change, organisational structure, governance models, investment strategies, change leadership, all of those kinds of things that often get in the way. The AWS team meets with about 150 customers a year.

According to AWS’ Schwartz, CEOs are focused on things like innovation, getting the right skills into their organisation, driving change. A very common topic of conversation is, do we have the right people to operate in the new ways, and do we have the right culture.

Cultural change, organisational structure, governance models, investment strategies, change leadership, often get in the way. One reason why companies do not innovate as much as they want to is because innovations are new and they have challenges and risks.

While cloud is a big part of this transformation, CEOs are not focused on details of cloud architecture or anything like that. AWS believes the cloud plays a really important role in building resilience and agility. One of the powerful things about cloud is you can quickly align with whichever direction the economy is going.

One of the lessons of the pandemic is you just do not know what the world is going to throw at you next and cloud can help in this direction. What CEOs need to do is align costs with revenues or volume of business. For more insights on CEO and the cloud, turn the pages ahead.


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While CEOs need to be evangelised and mentored towards digital transformation, CIOs face an entirely different challenge of sorts. According to IDC’s Jyoti Lalchandani, the ecosystem of decision makers for IT investments was previously concentrated. Now we are going to see that ecosystem expand. We are going see expansion in the decisionmaking ecosystem beyond IT.

Within IT, we are going to see other stakeholders of CXT, AI, DevOps, infrastructure teams, application teams in decision making. We are going to see IT embedded within various business units within an organisation. And the role of IT is going to be, how do I deliver end-toend services regardless of the business unit.

Wishing the readers of Business Transformation, Ramadan Kareem for rest of the holy month and Eid Mubarak as well.

Ronak Samantaray



is not the real issue in behaviour 54-57 PEOPLE TRANSFORMATION 5 APRIL 2023


Cloud-based ERP can automate mundane tasks allowing businesses to prioritise innovation, competitiveness, and drive business growth.

The pandemic has transformed the world forever, beyond debate. The crisis management and siege mentality that marked the early pandemic years has given way to economic existentialism that requires enterprises to ensure their survival through acts of will and strategy. Industries are reinventing the rules of engagement, and manufacturing is exploring

nearshoring and onshoring as strategies for the future, while also evaluating options for digital transformation.

In the Middle East, governments are reorganising their manufacturing sectors to diversify their economies, build resilience, and boost GDP. For example, the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology launched Operation 300 billion, aiming to increase the



l Manufacturing sector in the Middle East is adopting digital technologies to elevate operations and introduce new efficiencies.

l Manufacturers are incorporating IoT solutions, workflow automation, and a range of field, floor, plant, and back-office technologies.

l Operational overheads can be eliminated by moving ERP systems from premises to the cloud.

l The capital requirement for unlocking innovation potential are far less, and expensive upgrade cycles are a thing of the past.

l Cloud ERP solutions offer scalability and flexibility, permitting changes to business workflows without as much effort or investment.

sector’s GDP contribution to AED 300 Billion or $82 Billion by 2031. However, there is still work to be done, as manufacturing only accounted for 12% of MENA’s GDP in 2021, compared to the global average of 17%.

Digitisation is critical to advancing the sector. The region is incorporating Internet of Things solutions, workflow automation, and a range of technologies to enhance operations and introduce efficiencies. The ERP system is at the core of this digital ecosystem, enabling and optimising everything from materials sourcing and inventory management to quality assurance and delivery. However, it is crucial for this ERP system to be in the cloud, to align with the corporate vision and ensure success.


Cloud adoption is gaining momentum, as demonstrated by Epicor’s research and the influx of hyperscale providers such as AWS, Microsoft, and Google in the Middle East. Despite the benefits that the cloud brings, many manufacturers in the region are hesitant to migrate from their on-premises IT solutions to the cloud. The manufacturing sector is known for its long upgrade cycles and ‘if it is not broken…’ attitude towards legacy systems, which inhibits the adoption of cloud solutions.

However, the cloud offers prebaked infrastructure and reduces the capital requirements for unlocking innovation potential. Small businesses, in particular, can benefit from enterprisegrade capabilities and gain scalability and agility.

Cloud ERP solutions provide scalability and flexibility,

enabling changes to business workflows without significant effort or investment. Expensive, prolonged upgrade cycles become a thing of the past, as they are included in the subscription cost and managed by vendors and their partners. Overall, the cloud offers a trusted solution for infrastructure maintenance, backup systems, physical security, and more.


It does not stop there. The cloud is the gift that keeps on giving. Moving ERP systems to the cloud offers numerous benefits, such as eliminating operational overheads and faster implementation times. However, concerns about risk and the potential for downtime are justified, particularly for manufacturing operations that prioritise continuous uptime. Connecting critical operations and intellectual property to the internet carries inherent risks, but the cloud has come a long way in terms of security and reliability. Inaction can also pose a risk, as ageing infrastructure is prone to downtime and competitors may gain an advantage with more efficient and cost-effective solutions. Looking inward could lead to obscurity, so a pragmatic risk assessment is necessary.

Cloud adoption is gaining momentum, with many realising that it offers a competitive advantage, cost savings, and increased efficiency. ERP systems in the cloud can automate mundane tasks, allowing enterprises to spend more time thinking and training. This focus on innovation can lead to increased competitiveness and success for growing businesses. n

VIBHU KAPOOR Regional Vice PresidentMiddle East, Africa & India, Epicor.


Cooperative innovation model within a partner ecosystem and integrated solutions based on open standards are critical to driving the security sector.

Partnering with different companies enables organisations to leverage their combined strengths and participate in a security ecosystem that is greater than the sum of its parts. By pooling resources, skills, and knowledge, organisations can accelerate product and service innovation, simplify the integration process, and deliver more comprehensive solutions that cater to unique customer needs. Companies, along with their

partners must also adopt a cooperative innovation model to succeed.


An integrated approach is key in the security industry, following the trend set by the IoT industry, where products and solutions can easily integrate into an ecosystem. Open standards are essential for different industry segments to work seamlessly and create tailored solutions that



l Collaboration between different partners in the security sector is essential to address new and emerging threats.

l An integrated approach that encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge leads to more innovative products and services.

l Standardisation of solutions helps reduce dependence on proprietary systems and enables access to a wide range of solutions.

l Collaboration can help businesses gain valuable insights into their market and develop a better understanding of customers’ needs.

l The open exchange of information enables partners to develop more integrated products and services, stay ahead of their competitors, and maximise market opportunities.

increase operational efficiency and provide a better approach to security. This leads to products and services that can be applied across sectors, making them more interoperable, scalable, and sustainable. Standardisation reduces organisations’ dependence on proprietary systems, ensuring access to a wide range of solutions that meet their specific needs, now and in the future.


Understanding your customers is crucial to developing successful business strategies. Collaboration can help businesses gain valuable insights into their market and develop a better understanding of their customers’ needs. For example, a technology vendor can work with a channel partner who specialises in a particular industry vertical to gain insights into the challenges faced by the customers. By understanding their pain points, vendors can tailor their products and services to meet specific customer needs, ensuring that offerings are relevant and effective. The vendor can use a partner’s knowledge to develop innovative solutions that address their customers’ specific pain points in that vertical.


The UAE is a hub of technological innovation and a leader in smart city technologies. Recently, deeplearning analytics and camera technology integration opened new doors for the industry, achieved through collaboration. Axis, which is supported by a network of over 90,000 partners across the globe, recently teamed up with UAE traffic monitoring companies, demonstrating the advantages of partnership. Integration of these technologies

empowered cities to make data-driven decisions using real-time information, creating an efficient traffic management system and reducing congestion. This collaborative project brought real-world benefits to the country and its citizens, highlighting the potential of collaborative innovation in the UAE’s smart city industry.


The open exchange of information enables partners to develop integrated products, stay ahead of competitors, and maximise opportunities in today’s market. Without collaboration with technology and channel partners, a business may lack the latest technology and expertise to address the evolving threat landscape. This limits the offerings, erodes customer confidence, and damages the company’s reputation.

A cooperative innovation model within a partner ecosystem and integrated solutions based on open standards drive the security sector. Working together enables success sharing, and finding the right partners is critical to avoid falling behind. n

SORRI Segment Development Smart Cities EMEA Axis Communication. 9 APRIL 2023
A model of cooperative innovation within a partner ecosystem is key to driving the security sector forward



Epson has partnered with Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato to unveil creations that are sustainable. In addition to utilising Epson’s digital textile printing, Yuima Nakazato realised some of its creations with the help of a sustainable industry-transforming textile production process. Epson’s dry fibre technology, which is used commercially to recycle office paper and which requires virtually no water, has been adapted to produce printable non-woven fabric from used garments. The new fabric production process was revealed in Paris as part of a three-year collaboration between Epson and Yuima Nakazato. The partnership combines inkjet and dry fibre technologies to create stunning designs from recycled clothing.



James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam instrument captured Titan’s cloudy atmosphere and surface in November 2022. On the left, the image was captured using F212N, a 2.12-micron filter sensitive to Titan’s lower atmosphere. The bright spots are prominent clouds in the northern hemisphere. On the right, the colour composite image uses a combination of NIRCam filters. Several prominent surface features are labelled. Kraken Mare is thought to be a methane sea; Belet is composed of dark-coloured sand dunes; Adiri is a bright albedo feature.

CREDIT: NASA, ESA, CSA, Webb Titan GTO Team.

Roundtable on Future Ready Supply Chains

Business Transformation hosted the ‘Future Ready Supply Chains – Runway to Growth’ roundtable in association with Pando on 16 March 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The roundtable was attended by supply chain directors, logistics heads, procurement and purchase managers, and IT heads. The roundtable examined the latest strategies and technologies that are transforming the supply chain sector and redefining the existing delivery models. The event was attended by executives from key enterprises including- Saudi Chemicals, Saudi Ceramics, Saudi Mechanical Industries, ABANA Enterprises, AlShaya, PIF, SBM-SABIC, and others. Delegates discussed how intuitive, network-first user experience drives speedy adoption across supply chain networks and how plug and play APIs can integrate seamlessly with enterprise ERPs, carrier systems, IoT devices, and other solutions in the business. Pando, a global leader in supply chain technology that develops the world’s fastest time-tovalue fulfillment cloud platform, contributed to the success of the roundtable. Pando enables rapid agility for supply chain teams by providing value, satisfying stakeholders, and growing customer talent.


l The significance of achieving end-to-end supply chain visibility for enterprises

l The essential technologies and tools required for end-to-end supply chain visibility.

l The advantages that firms may anticipate from obtaining end-to-end supply chain visibility, such as increased efficiency, reduced costs, and

client satisfaction

l Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things are among upcoming trends and technologies that are expected to affect the future of the supply chain logistics space.

l Using these tools, businesses may enhance the supply chain visibility and optimize operations.


l The use of supply chain automation leads to advantages such as higher productivity, cost saving, and better precision.

l The effects of supply chain automation on firms and employees include alterations in job requirements and the need for new skills and training.

l Many types of supply chain automation, including robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles can be utilized to automate various supply chain segments.

l Costs, complexity, and resistance to change are obstacles and challenges to automating supply chain operations.

l The potential of supply chain automation to revolutionize the industry in the future entails new technology, trends, expansion, and creativity prospects.

l Supply chain automation promotes sustainability by reduction of waste and emissions resulting in the enhancement of social and environmental responsibility.


Technology Day with ADNOC

Technology Day was hosted by Global CIO Forum and GCF Academy in association with Alteryx on 21st March 2023 at Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The workshop was attended by leaders from the distribution and logistics departments of ADNOC Group.

The event was planned for sharing knowledge and exploring pressing technology issues faced by organizations today.

Alteryx, our technology partner, has worked over the years with leading Oil & Gas companies in the region to solve strategic issues related to analytics, data science, and process automation to scale their businesses. So, Analytics Automation Hands-On Workshop was planned by Alteryx for ADNOC data users and analysts to showcase how they can help in scaling the work to deliver deeper insights in a very short time by using automated, end-to-end analytics to prepare and blend data from all sources and apply analytics -predictive, statistical, and spatial.

Alteryx as a Software Development Company delivers easy end-to-end automation of data engineering, analytics, reporting, machine learning, and data science processes, enabling enterprises everywhere to democratize data analytics across their organizations for a broad range of use cases.

On Technology Day, experts from different fields came together to share their insights, experiences, and best practices on key technologies such

as Robotic Process Automation, Data Mining, Analytics, Cybersecurity, and much more.

The theme of Automating Analytics was specially designed for the core team of ADNOC who were invited for a 2-hr workshop and interactive session on how automated technology can help various departments in an organization be it Information Technology, Finance, Human Resources, or Procurement department. One of the key benefits of Technology Day was the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and engage in meaningful discussions about the latest trends and advancements in technology.

The workshop session was designed to be both informative and interactive especially for ADNOC Team. It was indeed a fun-filled, knowledgesharing event with plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and collaboration.

The event was attended by senior leaders of ADNOC and the workshop was quite an engaging one for everyone present as it was full of case studies and examples.

GEC Media Group, Global CIO Forum, and GCF Academy keep organizing Technology Days, which are monthly events dedicated to exploring pressing concerns faced by organizations today and thereby offering them customized solutions to their technological problems.

We wish to thank all the attendees for attending the Technological day with full enthusiasm and zeal.


Mastercard launches Google Pay in Kuwait using virtual card numbers for transactions

Mastercard has announced that it has teamed up with Google to launch Google Pay in Kuwait, expanding the country’s digital payment capabilities. Users can pay using their Android phone or Wear OS device at stores with contactless payment options and also make payments online or through apps.

Google Pay ensures security and privacy, as transactions use virtual card numbers and do not share actual credit card details with merchants. Central Bank of Kuwait has recently

granted multiple banks licenses to activate Google Wallet in the country, which aligns with Kuwait Vision 2035 ‘New Kuwait’ and the nation’s digital transformation journey.

To set up Google Pay, Mastercard cardholders can download the Google Wallet app and follow the instructions, or visit online. Once the Mastercard is added, users can choose Google Pay at the checkout, confirm their purchase, and pay.

Mastercard’s New Payments

Index 2022 reveals that 64% of MENA consumers increased their usage of at least one digital payment method in the last year, including digital cards, SMS payments, digital money transfer apps, and instant payment services. The company aims to bring 1 Billion people and 50 Million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. The partnership between Mastercard and Google will strengthen digital payment capabilities in Kuwait and provide customers with a seamless way to transact. Google Wallet securely stores payment cards, loyalty cards, boarding passes, and more, allowing customers to save their cards for Google Pay. The launch of Google Pay in Kuwait saves customers from handing over their payment cards, touching physical buttons, or exchanging cash. With security and privacy built into every aspect, Google Pay ensures data protection and paves the way for high-security digital payments to accelerate the country’s digital transformation.

Govt of RAK plans first free zone dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies

The Government of Ras Al Khaimah has announced its intention to launch RAK Digital Assets Oasis, the world’s first free zone dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies. According to the announcement made at Blockchain Life 2023, RAK Digital Assets Oasis will be a purpose-built, innovationenabling free zone for nonregulated activities in the virtual assets sector.

It is intended to be the only free zone in the world dedicated to digital and virtual assets service providers innovating in new and emerging sectors like metaverse, blockchain, utility token, virtual asset wallet, non-fungible token or NFT, decentralised autonomous organisation or

DAOs, decentralised applications or DApp, and other Web3-related businesses. RAK Digital Assets Oasis will open for applications in the second quarter of 2023.

Ras Al Khaimah has established a reputation as a global business-friendly hub with political stability and a progressive, supportive, and quick-to-adapt approach. It also offers an innovation-enabling environment in a strategic time zone that fills the gap between financial centres in the West and the East. The unique lifestyle proposition of RAK Digital Assets Oasis will support companies with robust, innovation-enabling adoption frameworks, advisory and professional services, hybrid workspaces, accelerators and

incubators, sandboxes, access to funding, and an environment that encourages entrepreneurs to imagine, create, and evolve.

Dr Sameer Al Ansari, CEO, RAK Digital Assets Oasis.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Chairman, RAK ICC and Chairman, RAK Digital Assets Oasis.

Schneider, Obeikan Digital partner to manage energy in manufacturing in Saudi Arabia

Obeikan Digital Solutions, a subsidiary of Obeikan Investment Group, one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia, has partnered with Schneider Electric to digitise and electrify sustainable manufacturing. As a new member of Schneider Electric’s global EcoXpert Partner Programme, Obeikan will receive training and certification to equip industrial firms with

energy management software EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert.

Designed to help power-critical industries augment energy management and make informed data-driven decisions, the software will help manufacturing companies in Saudi Arabia reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The EcoXpert Partner Programme trains and

certifies EcoXperts to serve as the implementation arms of Schneider Electric’s Internet of Things or IoT-enabled smart architecture platform EcoStruxure for homes and buildings all over the world. Through the partnership agreement, Obeikan Digital Solutions and Schneider Electric will collaborate to accelerate digital transformation in critical power industries. Joining the programme will enable the company to grow its business by embracing opportunities to pioneer the future of intelligent buildings, increasing market share and profitability. The agreement with Schneider Electric will also help Obeikan Digital Solutions deliver major benefits to industrial companies seeking to drive digitisation and sustainability in line with the Saudi Green Initiative.

Shaffra unveils Metaverse-as-a-Service company that has entered the UAE market

The metaverse-as-a-service company, Shaffra, has entered the UAE market with the launch of its platform that can help organisations transform how they engage with their customers and stakeholders. The company uses 3D technologies to introduce the next era of virtual experiences where users can interact and collaborate with others as well as with digital assets in real time. The solution can revolutionise the way organisations engage with customers in the virtual space and create a higher quality of marketing in the metaverse.

Shaffra’s 3D engine is built to ease the process of entering the metaverse for everyone, particularly corporates and government agencies, by providing a cost-effective solution and a simple interface. Government entities and corporates can now build their metaverse without having to go through the expensive and time-consuming effort of creating a platform from scratch. With the launch of its platform, Shaffra aims to help companies and governments capitalise on the burgeoning

market and create a seamless, engaging virtual experience for their target audience.

A MarketsAndMarkets report points out that the metaverse industry is projected to grow from $61.8 Billion in 2022 to $426.9 Billion by 2027, a CAGR of 47.2% during the forecast period. According to Gartner, by 2026 at least 25% of people will spend a minimum of one hour every day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, and entertainment. The launch of Shaffra is in line with Dubai’s Metaverse Strategy, announced by the government in July 2022, which aims to contribute $4 Billion to the economy, support 40,000 virtual jobs, and position the city as a global leader in the metaverse industry.


Emirates Development Bank and Hub71 host pitch day to support Abu Dhabi’s fintech

Emirates Development Bank, EDB and Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, hosted the ‘Hub71 FinTech Pitch Day’ at the EDB Business Lab Abu Dhabi to support and explore growth opportunities for Hub71’s leading fintech startups. Following the event, EDB is also looking forward to further collaborating to jointly identify opportunities that will support the growth of UAE fintech capabilities.

Nine Hub71 fintech startups presented advanced technology-enabled financial solutions and capabilities to the EDB decision forum and EDB fintech partners, including SME funding support solutions, payment solutions and open banking solutions. The solutions showcased offered unique approaches to conceptualising digital financial platforms for small and medium enterprises or SME segment customers.

Hub71 has established several partnerships and collaborations to support the growth of

important sectors and stimulate the digital economy and the ‘Hub71 FinTech Pitch Day’ exemplifies the meaningful engagement of major UAE organisations in promoting the advancement and use of innovative technologies, as well as supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. Hub71 plans to continue working with EDB to help disruptive startups grow and scale from Abu Dhabi.

partners with Asia-Pacific-based Investible to support growth of Abu Dhabi tech startups

Hub71, the global tech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, has partnered with venture capital firm Investible to provide support for the growth of tech startups and early-stage companies in Abu Dhabi. The partnership will grant access to Investible’s Early-Stage Funds, which are valued at approximately AUS $180 Million, to founders at Hub71. Additionally, Hub71 startups will be able to leverage Club Investible, a global network of over 130 high-net-worth investors who provide both capital and expertise, for further growth support.

As part of this partnership, Investible will have the opportunity to gain a foothold in Abu Dhabi and connect with Hub71’s startup community to contribute to mentorship programs and events that

provide additional value to founders scaling early-stage startups. Climatetech startups will also be able to explore funding opportunities through Investible’s Climate Tech Fund and Global Climate Tech Strategy. These startups will benefit from the company’s team of investment, climate, and sustainability experts who can help to deploy sustainability-driven technologies that can reduce emissions and promote climate adaptation.

Hub71 Acting Chief Executive Officer Badr Al-Olama and Investible Co-founder and Chair Trevor Folsom signed the agreement in Melbourne alongside a delegation from the Australia UAE Business Council to Australia and Australian MP Hon Christopher Pyne. The Memorandum of Understanding was facilitated by Maysaffron, a member company of the Australia UAE Business Council.


Everdome announces moon skimmer experience as part of Metaverse adventure

Interplanetary metaverse project

Everdome has announced the first look at its Endurance Moon Skimmers, one of the several in-world immersive multiplayer experiences currently in development. Everdome’s compact and resistant Ground Effect Vehicles, or Endurance Moon Skimmers, will be part of the company’s diverse metaverse environment, allowing the digital explorers or Evernauts to take time for a unique experience of Moon-based exploration during

their journey to Mars from Earth’s Lower Orbit. During this interactive gameplay experience, the interactive free ride and exploration mode of these Moon explorers will include a smooth and rapid ride hovering just inches from the surface of the Moon. Everdome has been developing an extremely high-quality metaverse experience since early 2022 based on scientific research. It is centred on a Mars and

space exploration theme and is part of their commitment to creating immersive experiences for individuals and brands by using the most pioneering Web3 technology. The announcement by Everdome demonstrates how the company plan to integrate the player experience into its metaverse world-building project. Following on from their maiden rocket launch, which was streamed live in November 2022 as a metaverse world first, these vehicles form part of the company’s hyper-realistic metaverse landscape. It also includes an epic interplanetary journey from the futuristic Hatta Spaceport in the UAE to Everdome’s Mars city. With further brand partnerships planned for announcement across 2023, this first look at features being created to augment Everdome’s experience marks the beginning of a ground-breaking platform that engages users and audiences of Everdome and its brand partners alike.

e& partners with Mastercard benefitting 16 markets across Middle East, Asia, Africa

Technology company e& has partnered with Mastercard to bring innovative payment options and user-friendly experiences to consumers and businesses across 16 markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The collaboration will enable the two companies to integrate digital payment services and tools into people’s day-today lives and encourage greater agility and flexibility in business operations.

Consumers will benefit from exciting, personalised offerings and opportunities to engage with multiple brands. Additionally, they will have access to innovative alternatives for paying for a variety of lifestyle activities.

The benefits of the partnership will be available whether making purchases in-store or online, and consumers will be able to send and receive money internationally through a simple, safe, and convenient remittance

payment option.

Mastercard’s goal is to bring 1 Billion people into the digital economy by 2025, including 50 Million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, with a focus on empowering 25 Million women entrepreneurs. By creating a future where payments keep pace with the way people live, work, and do business, Mastercard aims to support the rapid transition to digital solutions and offerings. As more people enter the financial mainstream, money management tools and solutions must be fit for purpose, inclusive for all, digitally driven, and built on a foundation of security.


Shorooq Partners and Gulf Capital invest in healthtech cloud-based software SANTECHTURE

Gulf Capital, one of the largest private equity firms investing from the GCC to Southeast Asia, and Shorooq Partners, a leading seed-stage venture capital firm in the MENAP region with over 60 portfolio companies across fintech, software, platform, and blockchain, have joined hands to back Santechture, a cloud-based software-as-a-service healthtech company.

Santechture aims to revolutionise healthcare in Saudi Arabia and the UAE through its full suite of end-to-end Revenue Cycle Management or RCM software solutions. The company leverages the advancements in artificial intelligence, AI and deep technology to offer innovative solutions to healthcare providers, enhancing the overall experience for providers, payers, and

ServCity, backed by Nissan and UK Govt deploys advanced autonomous driving in London

Nissan-backed project ServCity has completed the deployment of autonomous drive technology in complex urban environments in London. The project, which was supported by the UK Government integrated the advanced autonomous drive technology

with the city’s infrastructure. Over three years, Nissan collaborated with consortium partners to develop a blueprint that will assist UK cities in incorporating advanced autonomous vehicle technologies with city infrastructure. The


The strategic and close collaboration between Gulf Capital and Shorooq Partners marks a significant milestone in the development of the technology ecosystem in the Middle East. It also serves as a strong testament to the maturity of the venture capital and private equity industries. Gulf Capital has a long history of investing in technology, fintech, and healthtech sectors, and Shorooq Partners brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in technology investing, spotting emerging trends, and backing founders and startups that have the potential to disrupt established industries.

The firms have been working together for some time, and the latest venture is a clear indication of their shared belief in the long-term growth potential of the healthcare and healthtech industries in the region.

project that conducted more than 1,600 autonomous test miles also explored how cities can provide a Robotaxi-style service in the future for the benefit of city residents and commuters.

ServCity’s connected and autonomous vehicle, which used a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, completed increasingly challenging validation trials on London’s roads connected to the Smart Mobility Living Lab or SMLL in Greenwich. The vehicle leveraged SMLL’s network of roadside sensors and data processing suite to create a futuristic cooperative infrastructure environment, improving its situational awareness. The infrastructure can detect objects outside the vehicle’s line of sight, such as around a corner or in the distance, and inform the vehicle to ensure smooth traffic flow.


Hub71 launches Hub71+ Digital Assets, a Web3 specialist ecosystem with $2+ billion capital

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, announced the launch of Hub71+ Digital Assets, a dedicated Web3 specialist ecosystem, with a commitment of more than $2 Billion to fund Web3 startups and blockchain technologies from Abu Dhabi. Hub71+ is a specialist ecosystem dedicated to advancing specific technology sectors. The first Hub71+ to launch is Hub71+ Digital Assets, focused on unleashing the disruptive potential of Web3 and the growth

of digital assets.

Web3 describes the evolution of the Internet into a decentralised online space increasingly built on innovations such as blockchain technology and metaverse applications. Web3 startups, from seed to unicorn stage, will benefit from the ability to scale globally through Hub71+ Digital Assets, unlocking access to a host of programmes, initiatives, and its extensive range of Web3-focused corporate, government and investment partners in the UAE

and global markets.

Hub71+ Digital Assets will be based at Hub71 in Abu Dhabi Global Market where Web3 startups can operate in a progressive regulatory environment, which offers world-class blockchain and virtual asset infrastructure. First Abu Dhabi Bank or FAB, the UAE’s largest bank and its research and innovation centre, FABRIC join Hub71 as the anchor partner of Hub71+ Digital Assets. FAB will identify leading Web3 startups, entrepreneurs, and breakthrough technologies to help the UAE’s largest bank reimagine financial services in the metaverse.

Web3 startups at the unicorn stage will also benefit from Hub71’s value creation programme to support business relocation to Abu Dhabi and growth in the Middle East and global markets. The Hub71+ Digital Assets also plans to support the UAE Digital Economy Strategy, which aims to double the contribution of the digital economy to non-oil GDP to more than 20% within 10 years.

Hub71 has also onboarded a diverse range of partners and Web3 players that form part of Hub71+ Digital Assets including digital asset exchanges and service providers like Binance and MidChains, technology providers bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3 and providing effective infrastructure platforms like Amazon Web Services and Mastercard, venture studio facilitating the build and acceleration of new Web3 and digital assets startups like Founders DAO, and blockchain platforms enabling transparent recording, tracking, and sharing of assets like Algorand, Polygon, SUI Blockchain, Ton Foundation, and Venom Foundation. It also includes venture capital funds.

Hub71 launches Hub71+ Digital Assets, a dedicated Web3 specialist ecosystem. 21 APRIL 2023
(Left to right) Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Hub71; Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO, ADGM; and Suhail Bin Tarraf, Group Chief Operating Officer, First Abu Dhabi Bank at the launch of Hub71+ Digital Assets.

Tarabut Gateway partners with Bahrainbased Rain to accelerate crypto payments in MENA

Tarabut Gateway, the largest open banking platform in the MENA region, has announced its partnership with Rain, the first regulated crypto asset trading platform in the region. This marks Tarabut Gateway’s first collaboration with a crypto asset service provider. The partnership aims to offer faster and more cost-effective fiat-to-crypto transactions for Bahrain users, allowing them to make funding payments directly from their bank accounts without leaving Rain’s platform.

The new feature will utilise Tarabut Gateway’s open banking payment solutions to enable on and off-ramp or fiat-crypto-

ftNFT, an NFT phygital shop, opens franchise in Ether Store in Yas Mall Abu Dhabi

fiat transfers for users, which will significantly speed up the process and reduce errors associated with traditional bank wire transfers. The move is part of Rain’s plan to provide a premium and seamless crypto wallet experience for its MENA users.

Rain, through its subsidiary Rain Management, is a licensed crypto assets broker and custodian by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The company aims to provide a safe and secure platform for users to buy, sell, and store crypto assets while offering educational opportunities for those interested

in learning more about them.

The partnership strengthens Tarabut Gateway’s role in the MENA open banking ecosystem and adds another dedicated partner to its fintech client base. Tarabut Gateway provides the connectivity for data and payments to flow between banks and fintech companies offering financial services to end users for a better consumer experience.

The MENA region is currently the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency market, according to Chainalysis, with the volume of crypto received in the region rising by 48% in the year to June 2022.

ftNFT, the world’s first NFT phygital shop, has opened its first franchise in Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. The store is located within the Ether store, which brings together NFTs, food, art, and fashion under one roof. Designed to include virtual and social media brands, the store features 11 screens showcasing various NFT collections, and a selling terminal that allows customers to purchase NFTs with a single tap of their bank cards.

This marks another achievement for ftNFT, which won the Best Phygital

Implementation award just two months after opening its Mall of the Emirates branch. In addition to opening the Yas Mall franchise, ftNFT also opened its Dubai Mall branch on 16 March 2023 in the presence of several celebrities and influencers, including Luca Gallone and Tigran Tsitoghdzyan. The Mall of the Emirates branch, which opened in December 2022, has also received an overwhelming response.


AstraZeneca setting up sustainable office in Dubai Science Park by Q3 2023

British multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, AstraZeneca, has announced its plans to construct sustainable offices at Dubai Science Park. Scheduled for launch in Q3 2023, the initiative is part of the biopharmaceutical behemoth’s worldwide environmental programme. It is also in line with the UAE’s ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision and the Year of Sustainability.

The new office plans, structure, and materials will conform to the platinum standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design as outlined by the US Green Building Council. The Green Building Classification System is one of the most commonly used classification systems internationally and is a symbol of healthy, productive, and carbon-reducing structures.

AstraZeneca aims to magnify its environmental efforts by

partnering with the community of international and local enterprises across the healthcare, energy, and environmental sectors while supporting medical and research excellence.

The fresh environmentallyfriendly offices will assist AstraZeneca in expanding its local presence in the UAE and displaying its commitment to the government’s objective of fostering and accelerating sustainable healthcare development, aligning with the vision of We the UAE 2031.

This year has a significant focus on sustainability. UAE’s President HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has designated 2023 as the Year of Sustainability leading up to the eagerly anticipated COP28 conference in Dubai later this year. The new offices reflect AstraZeneca’s commitment to the UAE Sustainability Goals and its global Ambition Zero Carbon strategy, which strives to eliminate carbon emissions from its worldwide operations by 2025.

Tadweer signs MoU with Amman Municipality to make investments in waste management

Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Greater Amman Municipality in Jordan, to explore investment opportunities in the waste management sector. The two parties will be exploring partnerships and investment opportunities between public and private sectors in both countries, and will also exchange best practices, knowledge, research, and studies, and organise training and awareness initiatives in the waste management sector.

This partnership is part of the efforts to develop solutions, exchange knowledge and expertise based on world-class research and studies, and build on the successful initiatives of both countries, thereby enhancing the waste management sector for both parties.

The MoU also aims to speed up cooperation and experience sharing in the environmental sector and facilitate knowledge exchange on waste sorting, recycling, and management. It highlights Amman’s continuous efforts to partner with the private sector to advance solid waste management projects.

The MoU was signed by Ali Al Dhaheri, Chief Executive Officer, Tadweer and HE Dr Yousef Al-Shawarbeh, Mayor, Amman during the visit by the company’s delegation to Jordan. It was signed in the presence of HE Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Presidentdesignate for COP28 and UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change; Dr Bisher Khasawneh, Prime Minister of Jordan; and Dr Muawieh Radaideh, Minister of Environment, Jordan.


Boeing’s Insitu, Tawazun Council sign MoU to open Centre of Excellence at Tawazun Park

Boeing has signed an agreement with the Tawazun Council to establish a Centre of Excellence, CoE for unmanned systems at Tawazun Industrial Park. The CoE will provide a range of services, including aircraft engine overhauls and repairs, as well as training for operators in the region. The facility will be owned and operated by Insitu, a whollyowned subsidiary of Boeing, and will employ a skilled Emirati workforce to develop advanced capabilities that enhance the operational performance of the UAE Armed Forces.

The new facility will further strengthen Tawazun Council’s position as an industry enabler and demonstrate the ongoing efforts to offer state-of-the-art innovations and expert technical know-how to the market.

This partnership underscores the Council’s efforts to boost export potential through smart, long-term partnerships. Boeing’s investment in the UAE is expected to drive innovation, create jobs, and grow the local aerospace sector.

The agreement was signed at Tawazun Chalet in IDEX 2023 and NAVDEX 2023 by Abdulla Saif Al Awani, CEO - Economic Program, Tawazun Council; Lynn Fox, President and Chief Executive Officer, Insitu; and Mike Woodward, Vice President, International Strategic Partnerships, Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

SLG Group investing AED 200M to set up manufacturing facility in

Dubai Industrial City by 2025

Silver Line Gate Group, one of the top milk powder suppliers in the Middle East, is constructing a new manufacturing, warehouse and corporate offices facility at Dubai Industrial City. The new facility will span 1.37 million square feet and cost AED 200 Million. The new manufacturing base will use advanced technologies and fully automated machinery and equipment and will create over 300 jobs. The facility is expected to open in 2025 and will support the distribution of wholesale bakery products like butter, whey powder, and vegetable shortening to bakeries, restaurants, ice cream manufacturers, hotels, caterers and other users across the UAE.

Dubai Industrial City, which is part of TECOM Group’s portfolio of 10 business districts, is helping to strengthen the local

food supply chain by attracting regional and global F&B brands to the UAE. It offers industryspecific infrastructure, industrial land, warehouses, workers’ accommodation, and open yards to support the complete manufacturing and distribution industry. The industrial hub provides customers with convenient access to key markets via an extensive transport network that includes land, air, sea, and soon Etihad Rail. The UAE’s success in

developing a global-scale food production and distribution capacity is due to the country’s National Food Strategy 2051, which was first announced in November 2018 by Minister for Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri. The company’s new facility will meet the demands of B2B and B2C customers across the GCC, African market and Southeast Asia, boosting foreign trade and supporting the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the Middle East and Africa dairy ingredients market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% between 2020 and 2025. The popularity of whey proteins, driven by a renewed focus on active lifestyles and fitness, and the growing use of infant milk formula contribute to greater demand for milk products.


Amazon Payment Services, launches re:Imagine Payments, a thought leadership forum

Amazon Payment Services, a leading digital payments provider in the Middle East and North Africa region, has launched a thought leadership forum re:Imagine Payments. The forum aims to help merchants and stakeholders in the digital payments space increase their knowledge through a series of engagements including roundtable discussions, webinars, and white papers.

The first publication from the forum, the white paper on What’s Next for Digital Payments in the Middle East and North Africa, was sponsored by Amazon Payment Services, while the research was conducted by Euromonitor International and Sixth Factor Consulting. The whitepaper provides insight into digital payment trends across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

The white paper identified 14 of the fastest-growing industries in digital payments with a focus on the dynamics and drivers of these industries in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The research shows that the overall digital payments market in the UAE is expected to increase at a CAGR of 18.3% between 2021-2023; 13.6% in Saudi Arabia and 19.6% in Egypt.

The research indicates that 89% of consumers in Saudi Arabia have used at least one new payment method in the past year, including options to buy now, pay later and person-to-person transfers. In Egypt, digital payments were found to promote financial inclusion with penetration of prepaid cards and mobile wallets approaching 40% of the adult population.

UAE introduces

financing for SMEs

in defense industry as part of Make it in Emirates

UAE-based SMEs in the industrial sector will soon benefit from new financing solutions and incentives following a memorandum of understanding signed at IDEX and NAVDEX 2023. The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Tawazun Industrial Park, and the Emirates Development Bank signed the MoU on the sidelines of the defence exhibition to attract industrial investors to strategic sectors by providing a package of incentives and benefits. The initiative aims to support the sustainable development of the industrial sector, provide an attractive business environment for local and international investors, and encourage the use of advanced technologies in industrial solutions.

The MoU was signed by key

officials, including HE Omar Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Faiz Saleh Al Nahdi, CEO, Tawazun Industrial Park. The Emirates Development Bank will provide flexible and competitive financing solutions, such as green financing, financing capital expenditure, and financing start-ups and SMEs. This will help support the UAE’s domestic defence expenditure, which is set to increase from 10% to 30% of

its total defence expenditure by 2030.

The defence sector is a priority industry for MoIAT, which aims to increase the contribution of the industrial sector to GDP to AED 300 Billion by 2031, raise productivity, and create more job opportunities for Emiratis. The MoU is in line with the Make it in the Emirates initiative, which seeks to provide a supportive business environment and attract industrial investors to strategic sectors.

Peter George, Managing Director, Amazon Payment Services, Middle East and North Africa.

Digital healthcare provider Alma Health expands to Riyadh, and Jeddah, Dammam in future

Alma Health, a fully integrated digital healthcare provider aimed at improving the lives of individuals suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, has announced its official launch in Riyadh. The company plans to expand to Jeddah and Dammam soon.

Founded by Khaldoon Bushnaq and Tariq Seksek in May 2021, Alma Health offers doctors’ consultations via its mobile application with licensed, in-house, and experienced physicians. Patients can obtain prescriptions on a renewal basis and receive same-day medication delivery at no additional cost. Alma Health also provides convenient lab tests that can be done in the comfort of a patient’s home. Patients can also benefit from a second opinion on their chronic condition,

as well as a customised management plan to improve clinical outcomes.

Alma Health has already made a significant impact in the UAE, with over 20,000 consultations completed through its digital clinic and 50,000 orders fulfilled through its cloud pharmacies. The launch of Alma Health in Saudi Arabia is a significant milestone in the company’s mission to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for people with chronic conditions worldwide. With its innovative technology and dedicated team, Alma Health is well-positioned to deliver on its promise of helping chronic patients lead healthier and happier lives.

Saudi carriers intend to purchase 120+ 787 Dreamliners creating fifth largest commercial order

Boeing and Saudi Arabian Airlines, SAUDIA have announced that the national flag carrier will be expanding its long-haul fleet with the purchase of 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The national flag carrier will be acquiring 39 Dreamliners with an option to purchase additional 10 options. SAUDIA will utilise Dreamliner’s outstanding efficiency, range, and flexibility to sustainably grow its global operation. The agreement will include both 7879 and 787-10 models.

This decision is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub. In total, Saudi Arabian carriers have announced their intent to purchase up to 121 787 Dreamliners. This will be the fifth-largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history. The

purchase supports Saudi Arabia’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030. Currently, SAUDIA operates over 50 Boeing aeroplanes on its long-haul network, including the 777-300ER or Extended Range and 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliner. The additional 787s will complement SAUDIA’s existing fleet, allowing the

airline to effectively harness the value of the 777 and 787 families. Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787-family has launched more than 350 new nonstop routes around the world, including approximately 50 new routes since 2020.

The Dreamliner reduces fuel consumption and emissions by 25% compared to the aeroplanes it replaces.


UAE’s EDGE acquires majority stake in Estoniabased Milrem Robotics for autonomous systems

UAE-based Edge Group has announced its acquisition of a controlling stake in Milrem Robotics, a leading European developer of autonomous systems and robotics, based in Estonia. The deal represents the largest foreign investment in Estonia’s growing defence industry. As part of the transaction, Milrem Robotics will become a new subsidiary of Edge Group, which will expand the group’s existing multi-domain capabilities.

Established in 2013, Milrem Robotics specialises in providing innovative robotic solutions for challenging environments. Its main products include unmanned ground vehicles or UGVs, such as the THeMIS and Multiscope, which support dismounted soldiers and for commercial purposes such as forestry and firefighting, respectively. The Type-X is an unmanned combat vehicle designed to act as a wingman for mechanised defence


Milrem Robotics will continue to be headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia, and employs around 200 skilled personnel. The company has offices in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States. Following the acquisition, Edge will hold a controlling stake in Milrem Robotics. Other shareholders include Krauss Maffei-Wegmann, company founder and CEO Kuldar Väärsi, and Estonian private investors, among them company employees as minority shareholders.

Milrem Robotics’ products have been sold to 16 countries, eight of which are NATO members, including Estonia, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Edge’s acquisition of the majority stake in Milrem Robotics signals the valuable opportunities that exist for international investors in Estonia’s advanced technology and defence sectors.

EDGE entity, AL TARIQ, signs MoU with Bharat Dynamics to jointly produce precision-guided munition

Al Tariq, a subsidiary of the Edge Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bharat Dynamics, BDL during Aero India 2023, which is Asia’s largest aerospace exhibition held in Bengaluru. BDL is known for designing, developing, and manufacturing missiles and underwater weapons, while Al Tariq specialises in developing and producing highly modular long-range precisionguided munitions.

The MoU is in line with the event’s theme, The Runway to a Billion Opportunities, which highlights local partnerships and investments in India. Al Tariq and BDL will work together to produce a range of all-weather, daynight, long-range precision-guided munition kits for the Indian Air Force.

The MoU demonstrates the intent and willingness of both Al Tariq and Bharat Dynamics to collaborate and identify opportunities to jointly produce the LR-PGM in India, meeting the Indian Air Force’s requirements while fulfilling the government’s Make in India mandate.

Under the MoU, BDL’s state-of-the-art facilities will develop and produce Indian variants of Al Tariq’s LR-PGMs. The partnership will enable BDL to add to its kitty modular, advanced long-range capability to its precision-guided munition offerings.

(Left to right) Theunis Botha, CEO, Al Tariq and Commodore A Madhavarao (retired), Director –Technical, BDL.

UAE’s AL TARIQ signs MoU with India based HAL for integration of precision-guided munitions

Al Tariq, a company under Edge Group that produces highly modular, long-range precision-guided munitions, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL during Aero India 2023, Asia’s largest aerospace exhibition, held at the Yelahanka Air Base in Bengaluru. HAL is a leader in the design, development, manufacturing, supply, and maintenance of aircraft, helicopters, engines, aerospace equipment, avionics, and related accessories for military and civil markets.

Under the MoU, Al Tariq will explore the possibility of integrating its line of LR-PGMs onto HAL platforms for enhanced mission flexibility. The two companies will work together to explore the integration of Al Tariq’s family of modular, long-range, all-weather,

day-night precision munitions onto HAL’s fixed-wing aircraft. Al Tariq also plans to offer customers LR-PGM that provides long stand-off ranges and increased safety. It also plans to offer a unique, modular LR-PGM solution that will expand and enhance the aerial strike capability of the end user.

HAL believes that Al Tariq’s high-precision, longrange, focused munition integration will improve the lethality of its fighter aircraft. HAL’s Aircraft Research & Design Centre, along with other stakeholders, will explore the possibilities of integrating Al Tariq’s LRPGM solution into fixed-wing aircraft of Indian origin.

New Saudi Arabian carrier Riyadh Air selects Boeing fleet of up to 70+ 787-9 Dreamliners

Boeing and Riyadh Air have announced that the new Saudi Arabian carrier has selected the 787 Dreamliner to power its global launch and support its goal of operating one of the most efficient and sustainable fleets worldwide. Riyadh Air, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, plans to buy 39 highly efficient 787-9s with options for an additional thirty-three 787-9s. The airline, based in the capital city, will play a crucial role in growing Saudi Arabia’s air transport network.

This decision is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub. Saudi Arabian carriers have announced their intention to purchase up to 121 787 Dreamliners, which will be the fifth-largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s

history. This purchase supports Saudi Arabia’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030.

The 787-9 offers the longest range of the 787 Dreamliner family of aeroplanes, flying about 300 passengers 7,565 nautical miles, nearly 14,010 km with additional cargo capacity.

Passengers can enjoy a better experience with the largest windows of any jet, air that is more humid and pressurised at a lower cabin altitude for greater comfort, large overhead bins with enough room for everyone’s bags, soothing LED lighting, and technology that senses and counters turbulence for a smoother ride.


Investcorp distributes $1.2 billion to GCC investors from private equity exits in United States

Investcorp, a global firm offering alternative investment opportunities, has announced that it has distributed $1.2 Billion to its investors based in the GCC over the last year. These value realisations have been made across a range of asset classes, and include the recent exits from Investcorp’s private equity platform in the United States.

These investment realisations reflect the company’s private equity strategy of investing in mid-market business services companies that demonstrate long-term growth drivers, high cash flow generation, and minimal capital intensity, targeting industries that have proven their resilience throughout economic cycles. The company chooses businesses that are well-placed to outperform their peers and adapt to changing market conditions, while

also demonstrating innovation and leading their sectors. Investcorp has identified such businesses based on their growth potential since it launched its growth strategy in 2015. This approach has led to great returns for investors, as the company continues to drive value even during challenging periods in the market cycle. Since it was established in 1982, Investcorp has completed over 70 private equity transactions in North America, deploying over $22 Billion in transaction value. The company’s North American investments across all asset classes make up $21 Billion of its overall $50 Billion AUM.

Hassan Allam Utilities, Agility Logistics form JV to create YANMU logistics parks in Egypt

Hassan Allam Utilities, the investment and development arm of Hassan Allam Holding, and Agility, the industrial development specialist, have announced the formation of Yanmu, a joint venture aimed at developing, building and operating modern logistics parks and Grade A warehousing facilities in Egypt. Yanmu East Logistics Park, the first site to be developed by the partnership, is a 270,000 square metre space located on the new Cairo Suez road, situated 15 km from Cairo Airport, and proximate to the Ring Road.

Yanmu East Logistics Park is scheduled to open in August 2023, while Yanmu West Logistics Park is set to launch in 2024. Both parks are designed to serve the storage and distribution needs of companies in a variety of sectors, including e-commerce, manufacturing, consumer products, food and beverage, technology, automotive, energy, industrial goods, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and others.

It offers tenants Grade A warehousing facilities, while also providing 24X7 security, power, connectivity and facility management. The facility incorporates advanced warehouse engineering features, including 14-metre ceilings, super-flat floors, efficient docking systems and docking. The site also features sustainable design elements, such as solar rooftops, which are designed to reduce power and water use, as well as to increase operational efficiency.

Both Agility and Hassan Allam Utilities have recently announced significant new investments and expansion plans in Egypt. In October, Agility unveiled plans to invest around $60 Million to develop and operate two customs and logistics centres in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. The project aims to modernise operations and improve the flow of goods and commodities in the Ein Sokhna industrial zone and at East Port Said.

Mohammed Alardhi, Executive Chairman, Investcorp.


The role of Mark Schwartz at AWS is to work with enterprise customers at the senior executive levels, to help them with non-technical challenges in transformation. Excerpts of the discussion with Arun Shankar, previously Editor with GEC Media Group.

[BT] As an evangelist at AWS, what is your primary role?

[Schwartz] I am part of a small team, we call it Enterprise Strategy, of people who were C-suite executives before they joined AWS. All of us were leaders at large enterprises. We all did digital transformation, move to the cloud, and we learned some of the challenges, the things that often get in the way when an organisation is trying to do a big change like that.

The role at AWS is to work with large customers, the enterprise customers, generally at the senior executive levels, to help them with what are usually the non-technical challenges in a big transformation. Things like cultural change, organisational structure, governance models, investment strategies, change leadership, all of those kinds of things that often get in the way.

Each of us meets with about 150 customers a year. I have been doing this for about five and a half years now. We have a pretty good sense of what executives are thinking, what kinds of things

are hard for them, and our job is really just to be there for support and to see if we can make our customers more successful. That is my perspective. When we talk and when I try to answer your questions, I am coming from that kind of deep interaction with customer executives and thinking about how we can help them get the most business advantage out of working with the cloud. And, I work with both public-sector customers and commercial.

[BT] How do you marry the role of the CIO through the C-Suite and connect them with the AWS offering?

[Schwartz] I hope we do speak the language of the business. That is my job, largely. I am often working with the entire C-suite, sometimes meeting with CFOs, sometimes CEOs, sometimes boards of directors or the public sector equivalents. Our point of view is always to start from the business needs or the mission needs of the organisation and work backwards from there to the technology solutions.

Mark Schwartz, Enterprise Strategist and Evangelist, AWS.

The CEO checkbox

Schwartz’s role at AWS is to work with large customers, to help them with what are usually non-technical challenges. Here are some of his pointers


• Digital transformation is about building agility and responsiveness and resilience.

• What you want is the ability to respond to changes in the environment quickly and appropriately.

• The way our customers seem to be defining it, is building agility to be able to respond to whatever happens.

• You do not yet know what it is going to be, but you need the flexibility.

• It is framed as the ability to innovate or disrupt or respond to disruption.

• With digital transformation, the goal is to reduce the risk of trying out innovations.

• Amazon created the idea of chaos engineering, trying to cause failures in components.

Pain points

• CEOs are very much focused on things like innovation, getting the right skills into their organisation, driving change.

• A very common topic of conversation is, do we have the right people to operate in the new ways, and do we have the right culture.

• Cultural change, organisational structure, governance models, investment strategies, change leadership, often get in the way.

• One reason why companies do not innovate as much as they want to is because innovations are new and they have challenges and risks.

Macro environment

• It is not bad news it is just less growth than people were expecting.

• There is a realisation now that things are not going to grow quite as much as expected.

• One of the lessons of the pandemic is you just do not know what the world is going to throw at you next.

• What they really need to do is align their costs with their revenues or their volume of business.


• The cloud is a big part of transformation.

• CEOs are not focused on details of cloud architecture or anything like that.

• We believe the cloud plays a really important role in building resilience and agility.

• One of the powerful things about cloud is you can quickly align with whichever direction the economy is going.


But when I talk to executives, I am talking in terms of those business outcomes that they’re looking for. I rarely talk in terms of specific AWS services.

I have a lot of confidence that the cloud will be part of that picture. It usually is part of the underpinnings, especially because digital technology is so important to company strategy these days.

A big concern right now is cost optimisation or cost control. Given the financial situation around the world, a lot of company leaders are talking about how do we make sure we have control of costs.

[BT] How do you address the questions that CEOs may have about AWS offerings, innovation, digital transformation, among other things?

[Schwartz] Our customers at AWS include companies in pretty much every sector of the economy. The cloud underpins a lot of what businesses can do with digital technology these days.

We are constantly innovating and adding new things. We are always listening to customers, and we are driving our roadmap for the services we think they need based on what they tell us they need. About 90% of our roadmap is driven by the things we hear straight from customers. About 10% are the things that, because we know our customers well, we are pretty sure are things they need even if they have not come up with it themselves.

We created serverless computing. That was not really something customers knew they needed, but it has become important now, especially when we talk about cost control. Serverless computing is often one of those things that can help a lot.

Increasingly, goals that we hear from customers are around sustainability and ESG goals. Services like serverless computing, help a lot to manage carbon footprint and reduce carbon footprint.

It is kind of an interesting thing we have noticed that a lot of the things

that help control costs in the cloud also help control carbon footprint in the cloud. Things that reduce intensity of computing, also reduce the intensity of carbon emissions.

We are talking to customers and trying to figure out what it is that they need in order to reach their business outcomes. And those are the things that we are building or innovating on behalf of customers.

[BT] Does the C-Suite understand the journey of digital transformation that the organisation has embarked into? Do they understand that they are being accelerated into becoming digital enterprises?

[Schwartz] Digital transformation is about building agility and responsiveness and resilience and some of the things that come with that. One of the lessons of the pandemic is you just do not know what the world is going to throw at you next. It could be a pandemic, it could be the impact of a war, it could be the impact of supply chain disruptions.

There are so many things that can happen, and part of digital transformation, the way we define it, the way our customers seem to be defining it, is building that agility to be able to respond to whatever happens. You do not know yet what it is going to be, but you need the flexibility.

And building that to be able to take advantage of business opportunities that appear, to survive disruption or make it through disruption, also to be resilient in the face of disasters and unexpected. We believe the cloud plays a really important role in building that kind of resilience and agility.

What they really need to do is align their costs with their revenues or their volume of business so that when the economy picks up, they will be able to grow as well. What you want is the ability to respond to changes in the economic environment and other aspects of the environment quickly and appropriately.

There is a realisation now that things are not going to grow quite as much as


C-Suite My first questions to the

• What is important to the business right now?

• What is the focus of the CEO, Board of directors?

• What is the competitive situation?

• What is top of mind for what they are trying to accomplish?

• How do you get the value from being in the cloud?

• How do you maximise the value that you are deriving?

• How do you make sure you have control of costs

• How do you use the cloud as a way to control spending?

expected. And it is not bad news, it is just less growth than people were expecting over the last few years, and perhaps they over-invested.

One of the powerful things about the cloud and about digital transformation is that ability not to have to make speculative investments based on projections of growth. You can quickly align with whichever direction the economy is going.

If you need to grow, you grow. If you need to shrink, you shrink, and you shrink your cost structure at the same time. I think that is what digital transformation really is about.

Sometimes, instead of that kind of agility, the agility to adjust, it is framed as the ability to innovate or disrupt or respond to disruption.

And I think the cloud is very powerful for that too because innovation, it has its risks, traditionally.

One reason why companies do not innovate as much as they want to is because innovations are new and they have challenges and risks with the cloud. And with digital transformation, the goal is to reduce the risk of trying out innovations, trying out new ideas.

Amazon created the idea of chaos engineering, trying to cause failures in order to see the different ways that components need to be protected from failure. So, we engineer groundup for the best availability and resilience and of course security built into everything.

[BT] When you are talking to CEOs, what are the typical metrics that they want to know about and that you discuss with them?

[Schwartz] CEOs primarily are not focused on the details of the cloud architecture or anything like that, they are very much focused on things like innovation, getting the right skills into their organisation, driving change.

A very common topic of conversation is, we need to operate very differently as we transform and as we move to the cloud. Do we have the right people to operate in the new ways, and do we have the right culture very much on their minds? We rarely talk about the infrastructure itself. Where I can best help the executives of the customers is in figuring out how they are going to get that value.

The cloud is a big part of that transformation. And I am going to try to bring what I learned from the other companies I talked to, and especially from my own experience, bring ideas for them on how they might accomplish some of the things they are trying to accomplish. n 34 APRIL 2023 08 JUNE - KSA 15 JUNE - UAE 2023 TRANSFORMATION IN SECURITY TRANSFORMATION IN NETWORKING TRANSFORMATION IN BUSINESS APPLICATIONS TRANSFORMATION IN IT & COMPUTING DRIVING BUSINESS EXCELLENCE & TOTAL EXPERIENCE TRANFORMATION

Boeing agrees to purchase 21 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel produced by Neste

Boeing has announced that it has agreements to buy 21.2 million litres of blended sustainable aviation fuel, SAF produced by Neste to support its US commercial operations until 2023. These agreements more than double the company’s SAF procurement from last year. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel, made from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials such as cooking oil and animal fat waste, is blended with conventional jet fuel at a 30:70 ratio to produce the blended SAF. The purchase agreements include the supply of this blended SAF which meets strict sustainability criteria.

EPIC Fuels, Signature Aviation, and Avfuel companies will provide 2.3 Million gallons and 300,000 Gallons of this blended SAF respectively for the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight test programme and the company’s commercial sites in Washington state and

South Carolina. Boeing will also purchase an additional three million gallons of the same blended SAF from EPIC Fuels and Signature Aviation, generating emissions reduction credits for commercial deliveries, Dreamlifter, and executive flights. These benefits are generated by a book-and-claim process that displaces petroleum jet fuel with SAF in fuelling systems outside the company’s fuel supply.

In 2021, Boeing pledged to deliver commercial aeroplanes that are capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030. SAF reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100% in the future and is recognised as having the greatest potential to decarbonise aviation over the next 20 to 30 years. SAF is certified for commercial use and can be blended up to 50% with traditional jet fuel without any modifications in aeroplanes, engines or fuelling infrastructure.

70% of foreign investors willing to pay a premium for sustainable properties finds ZāZEN Properties

ZāZEN Properties, a sustainable property developer based in Dubai, has noted a rising interest in sustainable real estate. The locally-grown brand has stated that 80% of investors in the UAE’s real estate sector are now prioritising sustainability, while 70% of foreign investors are willing to pay a premium for sustainable properties.

Since 2010, millennials have consistently been the primary group of home buyers in the UAE. However, Gen Z, individuals born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, are expected to surpass them in the coming years. Despite this projection, millennials will continue to play a critical role in the country’s real estate success. With global data showing that

90% of these demographics are making an active effort to reduce their environmental impact, the demand for sustainable residential real estate is growing. Although the UAE’s property market generates around 5.5% of the country’s overall GDP, there is potential for it to contribute more as progress towards a sustainable future is realised. The country’s wise leadership is aware of this, and numerous environmentally-

focused initiatives have been implemented as a result, with the Dubai 2040 Urban Masterplan and UAE Net Zero 2050 being among the most recognisable. The UAE is leading the sustainability trends among the GCC countries, with the highest share of green buildings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but it continues to stand out. Recently, Expo City Dubai announced that it will soon unveil sustainable residential developments. The same plot was used for the highly successful Expo 2020 and has been dubbed a blueprint for ‘green’ urban planning by retaining 80% of its original built infrastructure, including 123 LEED-certified buildings and eight CEEQUALcertified projects.


EDGE signs MoUs with Raytheon Emirates to contribute to global supply chain

Edge Group subsidiaries EPI and Lahab Defence Systems have signed two Memorandums of Understanding with Raytheon Emirates to explore potential collaboration. The agreement aims to align production goals and contribute to Raytheon’s global supply chain, prioritising the development of advanced technology products like the Coyote Interceptor and their components and services.

EPI may potentially provide manufacturing engineering, machining, surface treatments, equipping, and sub-assembly, while Lahab may explore payload assembly contributions. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference.

Collaboration with established and capable local companies like EPI and Lahab is critical for Raytheon, as the company seeks to co-produce the Coyote CounterUAS interceptor in the UAE. The partnership with the UAE’s robust defence industrial ecosystem will strengthen Raytheon’s global supply chain. Raytheon Emirates is committed to continuing to develop the UAE’s defence industry in advanced technology areas such as the Coyote Interceptor.

Adyen first to embed Click to Pay experience into online checkout flow in available markets

Adyen, a global financial technology platform for businesses, has announced that it is the first company to integrate the Click to Pay experience into its online checkout process in all available markets. Click to Pay simplifies the payment experience for enrolled shoppers by allowing them to bypass manual data entry during online checkout and complete the transaction in only a few clicks. This innovative method of data retrieval addresses the common hurdle of manual card entry during the payment stage,

making the payment process quicker, more intuitive, and less prone to error across devices and browsers.

By integrating Click to Pay into the online payment flow, Adyen eliminates the need for consumers to manually enter their card details, which in turn makes it quicker and easier for them to complete their purchases. This ultimately drives revenue for the customers. Adyen understands that every added step in the payment journey increases the risk of consumers abandoning their purchases.

By offering a seamless payment solution, Adyen aims to reduce the risk of drop-off at the checkout stage while maintaining the highest level of trust and security. Adyen retrieves a shopper’s historically preferred card information on their behalf, rather than manually entering card details, which is a common cause of frustration and prone to human error. Click to Pay is available even when checking out as a guest, and it not only saves time and effort but also provides shoppers with the comfort of not needing to share card details with every online business they transact with.

With Click to Pay joining Adyen’s growing range of checkout functionality, the company continues to lead the transition to more seamless and secure transactions. Click to Pay is supported by major card schemes including Mastercard and Visa, and it improves conversion, authorisation, and the overall customer experience. Adyen looks forward to supporting the growth of the digital business.


EDGE receives AED 70 Million contract for V-PROTECT and SKYSHIELD solutions

Abu Dhabi-based Edge has announced that it has secured two contracts with a combined value exceeding AED 70 Million to provide multiple V-PROTECT convoy protection solutions and SKYSHIELD counter-unmanned aerial system solutions to an international customer. These agreements were announced at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, IDEX 2023, and are a part of the UAE’s export development strategy. They also position the country as a significant global player within the defence and advanced technology sectors.

In 2022, EDGE received orders worth more than $5 Billion, with 35% of them being global exports. The company announced new orders for its products and solutions worth over AED 10 Billion, including international exports, in

the first two days of IDEX 2023, with more expected to be announced during the event.

V-PROTECT is a radio frequency, RF communication jamming system that is created to protect convoys from radio-controlled improvised explosive devices, RC-IED. SKYSHIELD is a multi-layered, comprehensive solution equipped to deliver advanced anti-drone protection with a broad range of detection and interception capabilities. The two contracts demonstrate Edge’s continued commitment to providing advanced technological solutions that meet the needs of customers in the defence sector.

EDGE launches SKYSHIELD multi-layered, integrated counter-unmanned aerial system

Edge, an advanced technology and defence group based in Abu Dhabi, has launched SKYSHIELD, a sophisticated, multi-layered, and integrated counterunmanned aerial system solution. The solution is equipped with advanced sensors, 3D radars, electro-optic cameras, direction finders, and effectors that are all linked to Edge’s unified command and control system, providing

real-time situational awareness. It can detect and neutralise drone threats automatically by using Edge’s spoofing and jamming solutions, among other countermeasures.

The SKYSHIELD system is designed to be modular and can be configured for permanent installation in critical infrastructure or as a rapidly deployable solution for a range

of civilian and military vehicles, trucks, and ships. The solution features automated 360° detect and defeat capabilities for anti-drone protection, targeting military, law enforcement, security, and VIP protection markets.

To ensure that the system can operate optimally in the region’s harsh natural environment and climate, Edge has extensively tested the C-UAS solution in hot, humid, and dusty weather conditions, proving its performance and reliability in the most challenging situations.

The comprehensive system employs a variety of detection and interception techniques and can be configured for permanent implementation or as a rapidly deployable system. Responding to drones and their potential threat requires a comprehensive approach, and the C-UAS solution from Edge meets this requirement with a high degree of sophistication and integration.


Savoye to automate New East General Trading’s distribution centre with Autonomous Robots

Savoye, a global provider of warehouse automation and software in the Middle East, has signed a deal with New East General Trading, an automotive parts distributor in the region to automate the company’s Dubai Distribution Centre. Savoye will implement its Autonomous Case-handling Robots, ACR solution, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East, at New East’s Dubai Distribution Centre.

The deal is a significant achievement for both companies as they work together to promote innovation and enhance efficiency in the spare parts supply chain industry. The ACR solution from Savoye incorporates Intelis conveyors, Haipick Autonomous Casehandling Robots and Pick-to-Light technology, all managed by Savoye’s Warehouse Execution

Software. The result is a streamlined and efficient internal system that delivers better services, quicker results, and reduced prices.

Savoye’s expertise in software, automation, solution design and integration has enabled the company to contribute to the digital transformation of the supply chain sector. The company is capable of handling small to large-scale projects in both manual and highly automated warehouses. The automotive industry has experienced pricing power and profits per vehicle, which has resulted in disruptions in the supply chain of parts. In response, solution providers are innovating and delivering superior solutions to meet growing expectations and demands.

Museum of the Future and SAP launch OSS Hope Simulator providing immersive experience

The Museum of the Future in Dubai has unveiled its latest exhibit, the Orbital Space Station or OSS Hope Simulator from SAP, which showcases the potential uses of today’s technologies to sustain a future space station. The unveiling was part of the SAP NOW event, which focused on innovation, sustainability, and digital transformation. The museum had previously announced a strategic partnership with SAP to generate innovative technological solutions that address humanity’s greatest challenges.

The OSS Hope Simulator is located on the ‘Tomorrow Today’ floor of the museum, where visitors can experience nearfuture technologies that have the power to transform and change

the way we live. The simulator guides visitors through various scenarios that could impact the OSS Hope, a space structure designed to redirect solar energy to power Earth by 2071. Visitors play on one of the three gaming stations and encounter challenges that use existing SAP technologies and solutions to reduce emissions, waste, and inequalities to zero, making OSS Hope a more sustainable vision. The simulator includes a ‘Wall of Knowledge’ that explains how SAP’s various solutions and technologies work. Visitors can view SAP’s global use cases to find out about the current applications of specific solutions. The SAP simulation uses eight solutions, including blockchain, advanced analytics, artificial

intelligence, hyper-automation, and digital twins.

A recent YouGov survey commissioned by SAP shows that the vast majority of companies in the UAE recognise the importance of sustainability and its role in their future success. Over 96% of UAE companies recognised the importance of sustainability as a business objective, with 52% describing it as vital to their success.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation.

Government of Qatar selects Sprinklr to deliver unified digital citizen experience

Sprinklr, a unified platform for managing customer experience for modern businesses, has announced that the Civil Services and Government Development Bureau of Qatar has selected it as the technology platform to deliver unified digital citizen experiences across its government agencies. To achieve this goal, the bureau has established a Citizen Experience Centre of Excellence that will use Sprinklr’s UnifiedCXM platform and professional services expertise.

The bureau aims to elevate the digital experience for citizens and residents, meet the demands of the people for fast, personalised interactions with government agencies, and unite approximately 40 public service agencies on a

centralised platform for seamless omnichannel experiences.

By using Sprinklr Modern Care, Sprinklr Modern Research, and Sprinklr Social Engagement and Sales, Qatar aims to provide several benefits such as omnichannel communication, reduced response time, a unified citizen and visitor view, and measurement for citizen experience success. Additionally, Sprinklr will provide training and 24X7 support to ensure the bureau’s digital transformation success and return on investment.

The ultimate goal of the bureau’s innovative approach is to pave the way for a unified citizen who can use the full power of future-focused digitisation. The Citizen Experience Centre

Businesses using 1,000+ applications with only 30% integration finds MuleSoft report

New data has shown that businesses are using more applications than ever before, with volumes increasing by nearly 10% in the past year, and on average, surpassing 1,000. However, only 29% of these applications are currently integrated, leading to data silos and disconnected departments, which in turn results in rising costs, duplicated work, and productivity bottlenecks. These findings were revealed in MuleSoft’s annual Connectivity Benchmark Report, which surveyed 1,050 CIOs and IT decision-makers to understand these challenges and what organisations can do to succeed in uncertain times.

Although integration is at the heart of digital transformation,

80% of respondents say integration challenges are slowing their efforts, and 36% say integrating siloed apps and data is their biggest digital transformation challenge. However, new technology is helping to solve these problems and make integration easier. Some of the world’s biggest companies are using real-time data technologies to integrate, ingest, and store real-time data

of Excellence underpins Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which focuses on building a competitive government with the ability to measure, monitor, and improve its public services. Through this initiative, the bureau aims to eliminate fragmented technology, foster a user experience aimed at maximising efficiency and effectiveness, and provide a more harmonious and interconnected experience for all.

streams at a massive scale, with built-in connectors that bring in data from every channel, including mobile, web, APIs, legacy data, and proprietary data lakes.

API-led connectivity helps businesses integrate apps and data, with 99% of organisations now using APIs to create exceptional customer experiences and generate revenue. Around 68% of organisations that are ahead of planned digital transformation progress have a mature strategy to empower non-technical users to easily integrate applications and data sources using APIs. Automation is also being increasingly used to support non-tech workflows, with RPA seeing rapid adoption across enterprises. Companies report broad automation and integration needs, with developers, IT operations, and application administrators being most likely to be responsible for automating business processes.

Ragy Thomas, Founder and CEO, Sprinklr.
Matt McLarty, CTO, MuleSoft.

Mashreq launches NEOBiz Connect API integration with strategic partner Virtuzone

Mashreq has announced the launch of its NEOBiz Connect API integration with Virtuzone, its strategic partner, after a successful pilot phase. The NEOBiz Connect platform allows any free zone or trade license authority to submit a full NEOBiz account application from its platform, thereby enabling a one-click SME account opening, subject to approval, for the first time in the region. Through this integration, any customer of Virtuzone can easily open a bank account, simplifying the process and making it smoother and faster.

The collaboration aims to eliminate the cumbersome process of applying for a business bank account, commonly experienced by many small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs. The integration helps by pre-populating a NEOBiz application, reducing the time taken to upload documents, and ensuring customers do not fill in duplicate information already provided.

APIs play a critical role in transforming the global digital banking landscape. In 2021, Mashreq became the first bank in the region to launch an API developer portal, and since then, its APIs have

Jumeirah Group launches mobile, biometric check-in for premium hospitality centres in UAE

Dubai-based luxury hospitality company, Jumeirah Group, has partnered with the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism to launch a digital technology solution that enables guests to complete all check-in formalities via their mobile phones. The Jumeirah Mobile CheckIn solution allows guests who have booked directly on the Jumeirah website or mobile application to upload their identification documents within 48 hours of their stay.

The solution includes a verification step, where guests take a selfie on their mobile phone, which they upload to complete the check-in process. Upon arrival, guests will receive a digital or physical key, depending on their preference. The new system reduces the check-in process by up to 10 minutes.

been used for innovative digital journeys and personalised experiences for customers. The API integration will also enable Mashreq to provide a seamless banking experience for startups and budding entrepreneurs, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses.

Apart from streamlining the account opening process, Mashreq provides a full suite of valueadded services to support SMEs with their banking needs, helping fledgling enterprises grow faster. The launch of the NEOBiz Connect API integration is a significant step towards Mashreq’s goal of supporting the growing SME ecosystem and enhancing the ease of doing business in the UAE.

Jumeirah Mobile Check-In was unveiled during GITEX 2022 and is currently available at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and Jumeirah Emirates Towers, with plans to roll it out across several of the group’s 13 hotels and resorts in the UAE later this year. The solution integrates Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts’ ecosystem with UAE Government-approved check-in protocols and security features, ensuring a safe and secure check-in process. The service uses guests’ identities to personalise their experiences both on and off property, subject to guest approval.

Jumeirah Mobile Check-In empowers guests by delivering a secure, quick, and easy check-in process, simplifying future reservations and facilitating payment processes. The digital solution aims to provide a safe and convenient check-in process to travellers while highlighting Dubai’s position as a must-visit destination.

George Hojeige, Chief Executive Officer, Virtuzone. Fernando Morillo, Group Head - Retail Banking, Mashreq.

Etihad Cargo expands digital capabilities of online booking portal with UN numbers

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics division of Etihad Airways, has expanded its online booking portal capabilities in line with its ongoing digitalisation strategy. The latest development includes the addition of online pet shipment bookings for cats and dogs, online dangerous goods bookings and a custom feed in the customer dashboard.

Previously, booking pet shipments required customers to send multiple documents via email, but with the new online booking portal feature, customers can easily book the shipment of their pets, making the process simpler and more efficient. Similarly, booking the shipment of dangerous goods has also been simplified with the portal now allowing the capture of United Nations numbers, which globally identify hazardous substances for international shipping.

The new custom feed in the customer dashboard provides a more personalised experience for customers, allowing Etihad Cargo to customise the content it shares with them. This feature includes relevant offers and campaigns, making it easier for customers to access information that is pertinent to their region or sector. The latest features complement past updates, including a streamlined booking process that allows users to create and confirm bookings within 45 seconds. Etihad Cargo is already planning further enhancements, which will include features focused on specific documents and validations by origin and destination.

Dubai South partners with dnata to setup digitally driven gate control mechanism for shipments

Dubai South, a large-scale urban development project focused on aviation, logistics, and real estate, is collaborating with dnata, one of the world’s biggest air services providers that offers cargo, ground handling, and travel services. The collaboration aims to establish a digitally-driven Gate Control mechanism for cargo shipments at Dubai South’s cargo handling terminals. This will reduce the processing time to less than a minute benefiting companies based at the Logistics District free zone and the mainland, as well as movers who transport goods to other ports.

The collaboration involves integrating Masary, Dubai South’s e-gate pass system, with dnata’s Appointment and

Dock management system, which allows dnata’s clients to apply for appointments to access the free zone for loading and offloading shipments. This will create a seamless and paperless experience for customers at Dubai South gates under dnata’s designated appointment system for goods movement, leading to quicker procedures for customers and emphasising their satisfaction.

Dubai South was introduced in 2006 as a Dubai Government project, and it is a 145-squarekilometre, master-planned city that focuses on individual happiness. The city is identified as Dubai’s flagship urban project and is meant to create 500,000 jobs in an integrated

economic environment that supports all types of businesses and industries. It is a global commercial and residential hub that is a major contributor to Dubai’s social and economic growth.

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO, Logistics District Dubai South.
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Enterprises must avoid technical debt and legacy dependencies, build hybrid cloud architecture, and adopt open thinking to thrive in the new digital world.

In recent years, the Digital First world has been driven by the need to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. This has led to a significant shift from physical to digital interactions with customers and employees. While some organisations saw this as a necessary move to stay afloat, others used it as an opportunity to accelerate their digital transformation journey.

There are common elements that most organisations have been using to create new digital services at the speed of business. These include open technologies, effective use of cloud infrastructure and SaaS services, agility, flexibility, efficiency, and choice of application deployment strategies. Organisations have also been leveraging technology ecosystems to accelerate development, building cross-



l Open technologies, agility, flexibility, efficiency, and choice of application deployment strategies are crucial for success in a Digital First world.

l Organisations must avoid technical debt and legacy dependencies.

l A hybrid cloud architecture is critical, and Red Hat’s OpenShift can help prevent vendor lock-in.

l Red Hat has developed a set of services called ‘Open Innovation Labs’ which help the ‘Digital First’ innovators pioneer this culture.

functional, creative, and competent application development teams. This can be termed Open Innovation.


The acceleration of the cloud era has been largely driven by openness, with Open-Source Software playing a major role. Collaboration, creativity, community work, open platforms, and interoperability rely on openness to create innovative software that can be used to build cloud strategies. The Linux platform serves as the foundation for most clouds, and numerous opensource tools and technologies are available on public clouds. Additionally, many new applications providing business and customer interaction capabilities are hosted in the cloud and have open application interfaces. This abundance of software tools, services, and cloud infrastructure creates endless opportunities for ‘Digital First’ creativity.

With such an unprecedented level of choice, there needs to be experience and discipline applied to avoid building technical debt and legacy dependencies into the ‘Cloud Journey’ to ‘Digital First’. This leads to the second element of agility, flexibility, efficiency and choice of application deployment strategies. This is where strategy and choice need to be applied to build the correct foundations for the longer term. In all development and innovation journeys there is the need to explore, experiment, implement and execute as fast as possible, and speed vs astute choices for the longer term are always trade-offs.

The technology industry is littered with lock-ins from vendors who create complete vertical stacks all linked together that were once used and embedded into critical solutions over time leaving a customer locked in. The choice initially allowed speed and became a boat anchor in the fullness of time. Foresight and thinking ahead can allow organisations to avoid this. A fundamental need for many customers is choice and agility. Not every cloud is available in every country. Similarly, all clouds do not have the same tooling. Not every application should be deployed in the cloud and customers need to choose their optimum deployment from physical on-premise to a virtual, private and public cloud. Organisations must be able to seamlessly deploy new applications in the best place. Those who went ‘all in’ on the cloud are finding significant levels of expense that were unforeseen for non-critical applications. This is where the strategy of ‘Open Hybrid Cloud’ becomes critical.

Choosing a single operating platform such as Red Hat ‘OpenShift’, which is a fully supported, integrated and complete Kubernetes-based development and deployment platform for applications across both on-premise, virtual, private and multiple clouds. This means there is a highly functional layer that prevents lock-in to any individual cloud vendor, allows flexibility of choice of deployment and the management and automation tools to set up and deploy applications across multiple infrastructures lead to greater

Vice President and General Manager, META Region, Red Hat.

flexibility to deliver at speed.

Look at this as a standard ‘Cloud’ operating system and the underlying compute resource, whether physical, virtual, private or public cloud is the computer. Building a Hybrid Cloud Architecture for the long term is one of the critical steps to ‘Digital First’ success and a key part of this architecture will be to build with the capability to automate and create push-button deployment capabilities for all repetitive tasks that require expensive skilled labour, again critical to agile deployment and a topic that needs in-depth consideration.

The third element is utilising the strengths of the technology ecosystems to accelerate development. The advent of the cloud and the availability of a massive range of applications delivered as a service with Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, an open way to connect the chosen application to your system and use the functionality, can be geographicand location-based services, search services, payment gateways, artificial intelligence support, data services like stock prices, bus timetables, etc., customer relationship services, and robotic process automation applications. There is an almost unlimited choice of services. Many institutions are also opening their internal systems to provide services automatically through APIs leading to massive improvements in customer engagement. Let us also not forget legacy systems. Many institutions have been facing difficulties in re-writing or replacing legacy systems that are critical to the business, and once these systems are ‘opened’ for integration through APIs, they

can also become part of the solution in delivering known internal services to newly developed ‘Digital First’ applications.

The secret to the third element is the integration technology and strategy chosen to connect to all these services, both internal and external, as part of the delivery of new and innovative cloud services applications. Again, there is a need to choose wisely. The decision to go with one integration service using one cloud vendor could lead to vendor or technology lock-in. Hence, it is important to think beyond the present and plan for the future.

Once the integration strategy, the technology, the toolsets, and the skill sets needed to support have been decided, it will unlock the capability to innovate and develop all the new ‘Digital First Applications’ that will power a company’s business, internally and externally.

The final element, ‘Open innovation’ is central to this successful delivery of a ‘Digital First Culture’. Open Innovation is characterised by an open, transparent culture and open practices both internally and amongst the chosen ecosystem partners. n

Companies must embrace these elements to succeed in a ‘Digital First’ world
Utilising technology ecosystems is essential, and integration technology and strategy should be chosen wisely


Empowering employees to perform the tasks of seasoned IT experts can allow organisations to prioritise strategic business initiatives by freeing up their time.

This is not an easy time for those in the technology sector across the world. While economic challenges have led to a major fall in investment, some areas like observability are still ripe for growth. A recent IDC survey indicates that 50% of respondents plan to boost their observability budgets over the next few years.

But why is this? It comes down to being able to ‘Shift Left’, empowering all staff to do the job of more experienced IT experts and freeing up

their time so they can focus on strategic business initiatives that can be facilitated and improved by observability. Shift Left is all about early and frequent testing during the development process, which helps to avoid problems later. The success of the concept means that it has spread from DevOps to NetOps and Service Desks, where the approach is now widely used.

Shift Left has generally been used for generating better performance, reliability, and security, scaling up, and boosting the capabilities of the


software. But there is plenty more that it can do for NetOps to help with productivity and performance, leading to an improved culture and happier customers. With today’s IT environments becoming increasingly complex, Shift Left can also help companies to safely manage and protect their growing amounts of data.

Unified observability can facilitate effective Shift Left by moving the focus of IT teams from basic, routine tasks to strategic projects such as predictive modelling or improvements to infrastructure and enabling better network performance.


Many enterprises rely on highly skilled IT professionals to tackle complex technological issues. However, as older workers retire and younger generations lack the required skills. The problem is further exacerbated by the growing tech infrastructure, which leads to an increasing number of incidents or system faults. Consequently, experts are stretched thin trying to keep the tech running, leaving little time for strategic initiatives that could benefit the company.

The good news is that observability platforms offer a Shift Left solution by codifying experts’ experience and domain knowledge within automated runbooks. The approach makes it easy to retain key expertise by enabling senior leaders to input their knowledge of problems and solutions into customised workflows. With these runbooks in place, companies can resolve issues more quickly, reducing pressure on experts and providing junior IT staff with opportunities to learn and grow within their roles.


IT personnel are often inundated with innumerable alerts making monitoring a tough task, leading many to turn them off and wait for a problem to arise. Also, most alerts offer scant information about the issue’s location, cause, or resolution. This creates an overwhelming flood of noise, making it difficult to identify and prioritise critical events.

Observability platforms use artificial intelligence or AI and machine learning or ML to correlate issues affecting the business. Pre-built runbooks perform automated, lowcode investigations, collecting evidence, contextualising events, and prioritising responses. By automating issue identification, junior and senior IT staff can respond quickly, freeing them up to focus on value-adding tasks.


Enterprises have long valued traditional monitoring tools, and with good reason, but the truth is that their abilities are limited. They rely upon metrics based on preconceived ideas of potential issues. By contrast, with observability, IT staff can explore unknown or previously unseen events, proactively seeking out ways of safeguarding their infrastructure.

Observability also facilitates the collation of data from separate tools and its analysis with AI and ML to provide further context. By merging monitoring, visibility, and automation, observability can effectively examine the system’s output to establish its status and identify actionable insight.

With unified observability in place, enterprises receive fullfidelity data across the enterprise on transactions, packets, and workflows. This helps improve

Intelligent automation through observability platforms
is a critical component in addressing growing IT environments and their complexities
SALMAN ALI Senior Manager – Solution Engineering, Emerging EMEA, Riverbed Technology.


l Shift Left is about empowering all staff to do the job of more experienced IT experts so they can focus on strategic business initiatives.

l Observability can help NetOps with productivity, performance, and data management.

l Observability platforms offer a Shift Left solution by codifying experts’ experience and domain knowledge within automated runbooks.

l Observability reduces alert fatigue, allows for proactivity, and facilitates the collation of data from separate tools.

the mean time to resolution, MTTR and first-level resolution rates by providing one-click investigations into a client device, network, or backend component problems to identify the source of delays. In addition, it can identify likely causes and support resolutions by analysing the common characteristics of users experiencing the same issues. Typically, organisations using observability have 15% fewer service desk tickets and reduced MTTR by 24%.


IT environments are only going to continue to grow in size and complexity. Currently, they cover anything from on-premises data

centres, multiple clouds, and mobile and remote devices, to the increasing number of edge locations and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. But the teams that service these environments are not matching their growth. Intelligent automation is the only way to feasibly address these problems. With observability platforms, enterprises gain advanced automation abilities of AI and ML. These technologies reduce the time taken to pinpoint and correct problems by compiling information from a range of sources enterprisewide, correlating issues, and determining likely causes, drawing on no-code runbooks built using senior IT experts. As such, they are a critical component in winning the battle against the non-stop noise of never-ending monitoring alerts. Ensuring that only critical challenges are handed over for human intervention.


Shift Left is a smart and successful approach, making for better security, software quality and business performance. As IT ecosystems continue to evolve and become more complex, bringing unified observability into play alongside Shift Left gives far superior results. Enhanced infrastructure visibility and cutting-edge observability analytics tools reduce MTTR and improve data collection, all the while allowing IT teams to focus on tasks that help meet the business’s strategic objectives, boosting profitability. n



The Bridgestone Dueler AT002 is the world’s supercar all-terrain tyre to feature Run-Flat Technology. It will support drivers to continue driving safely even after a puncture, for 80km at 80kph with 0-bar pressure. Bridgestone has also been chosen as tyre partner for the new Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, providing AllTerrain and Winter fitments for the world’s first all-terrain super sports car equipped with a V10 engine and all-wheel drive powertrain.

Specifically designed for the unique engineering requirements of the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, the new Bridgestone Dueler AT002 tyre offers drivers maximum on-road and off-road performances. The tyre’s bespoke polymers, patterns, and tyre technologies have been developed to enhance the all-terrain capabilities of the Huracán Sterrato.

Developed and manufactured in Europe, the Bridgestone Dueler AT002 includes a new tyre compound designed to optimise grip, with a specific shoulder integrated for additional grip in deep gravel and mud. Meanwhile, the tread pattern on the Bridgestone Dueler AT002 has also been optimised for the best possible handling and high-speed performance without compromise to off-road grip.



CK Architecture Interiors has handed over an ultra-luxury signature villa named Framed Allure on Billionaires Row in Palm Jumeirah. The signature Framed Allure villa will offer its owners ultra-luxury custom-made furniture from some of the most prestigious names in the industry and high levels of comfort and luxury. With five bedrooms, Framed Allure is built over four levels: basement, ground, first and second floors, on a plot of 16,000sqft. The ultra-luxury villa has a rooftop terrace with a fully equipped modern gym, yoga deck, cinema and golf simulator, and a basement floor specifically crafted for car enthusiasts that can accommodate eight cars. Adding to its luxurious feel are the custom-made furniture and one-off pieces from Minotti, Henge, B&B Italia, Baxter, and Boca do lobo, amongst others.





It is our relationship with blame that needs addressing otherwise blame addiction is endemic and can carry through inter-generationally if not addressed.


For the first three decades of my life, I would never have imagined I was a blameaholic. Why would I, as I only just made this word up, but more importantly, even if I did find out I was addicted to playing the blame game, what is the issue with that?

After 15 years of obsessively researching and unpacking blame, I can confidently say it is the missing link as to why the pursuit of health and happiness has remained a pursuit for so many. And what is more, it has become very clear that blame has transcended its game status to become an addiction.

Someone who shows signs of blame addiction habitually places fault either onto others or themselves for their problems or, what they perceive as negative experiences. Does this sound like you or anyone you know? Sometimes it is obvious because you or a family member are always the victim in their story. Other times we are in the denial stage, where we are justifying our need to continue with the same behaviour.

When we look at other addictions, we intellectually understand that the longer they go on, the more they impact our mental, emotional and physical health and performance. Here is the issue with our addiction to blame - no one knows they have it. So not only is no one addressing it, but they are passing it on to anyone they come into contact with.

Why should you even consider looking into this more? Because after a lifetime covering up our unknown blame addiction with fake positivity and self-control, we are not only expert liars, but we are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. As a result, we do not know who we honestly are. And because of that, we keep trying to create a life that is not in alignment with our honest self. This is why suffering and hardship are common companions for so many. Pain is a guide, encouraging us to do something different to what we have been doing.

As you start the recovery process, you become very aware of who you are. This can be a strange and surprising time as you get to know the new you. But, it is very much worth it as it comes with a brand-new feeling - honest confidence.


Once you start the blame recovery process, you not only see profound, far-reaching and long-lasting benefits in all areas of your life, you no longer effortlessly pass it on to future generations. This has the potential to change the course of history.

This can seem like quite a dramatic statement, that such a small word can have such a monumental impact on human evolution. But as I started to see what transpired in my life and that of my clients, I saw the bigger picture of what was possible. Mental, emotional and physical conditions and ailments, acute or chronic, would either disappear instantly or in timeframes that were considered impossible.

It was like a blow from Thor’s hammer when I realised blame was a trained response. It is not a normal human behaviour. After years travelling around the world, spending time in nature, I became very aware that the reason nature flourishes when left alone is because there is no blame. It helped explain why I felt so relaxed and grounded when deep in the Amazon jungle, because I wasn’t surrounded in blame.

Every home, office, bar and gym is full of blame, where we are either blaming others or ourselves. When we spend time in nature, even the self-blame has an opportunity to quieten down for a while.

Realising that hatred, anger, and revenge were not inherent human emotions - they all originate from blame - was a game changer. It helped me fully appreciate that with less blame there is less mental and emotional pain. It is a simple equation, but as my team and I at RoundTable Global took leaders through the blame recovery process, it was astonishing to see how quickly teams started to work symbiotically together and flourish - just like in nature.

This first stage of the blame recovery process is becoming aware of our addiction to blame, so we can recognise how we are unknowingly feeding it.

It might not feel great to know you have been giving children a masterclass in blame. I am sure it does not feel nice and you might even vehemently deny it. It can be a very enlightening


moment for parents when they realise they are doing exactly this. It is the same when I work with leaders and entrepreneurs, when they discover how they are unknowingly teaching their employees to be expert blamers.


Let me give you an example to illustrate how early the masterclass starts.

Wherever I am working in the world, whether in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, or Switzerland, the vast majority of people will recognise this scenario. But none of them recognise the impact it has on everyone who is involved. It is when a young child is running around and bumps into a table and starts crying. More often than not, an adult will hit the table while repeating, bad table!

There is no doubt it is an effective way to distract and calm the child down. But why is it so effective? Could it be that the child is getting their blame fix? They are being encouraged to blame something rather than take personal responsibility for their part. Maybe they are enjoying the dopamine hit, and that is what calms them down.

Ultimately, it is just one of many scenarios that reinforce the idea that when we feel hurt, emotionally or physically, we should blame and then lash out. Is not this happening in overt or passive aggressive ways every day in our homes or offices?

The bigger picture realisation here is, if we are doing this to our children, then where did we learn it from? It is fair to say, our parents and guardians unknowingly gave us the same masterclass. Where did they learn it from? They had the same education from their parents and so on. Potentially this has been

In his book, The Blame Game: How to Recover from the World’s Oldest Addiction, Denis Liam Murphy, who coaches clients with fifteen years of entrepreneurial experience, presents the New Murphy’s Law and

going on for thousands of years. Blame like any other addiction is fun and harmless at the beginning. Blame is funny. Just look at slapstick comedy. It is hilarious when something wrong happens. But blame is not the issue, just like alcohol is not. It is our relationship with these behaviours and substances that needs addressing. Our blame addiction has been with us for so long, we are unknowingly born with this addiction. Meaning, we are unaware we are unconsciously seeking out this dopamine hit from a very early age. Even if you do not believe we inherit behavioural traits, we are definitely getting a masterclass in how to blame from day one. So, maybe a new masterclass is needed.

Someone who shows signs of blame addiction habitually places fault either onto others or themselves for their problems
the secrets to recovering from the blame addiction we all suffer from.

One that is centred around self-awareness and selfhonesty.


This is a question I asked myself the more time I spent in all different ecosystems around the world. I saw how nature rejuvenates effortlessly when left alone. I started to wonder if there was blame in nature?

Over the years I have taken great inspiration and wisdom from nature. I never found myself entering a rainforest thinking that it was doing anything wrong. I understood that I did not have all the information, awareness and

As you start the recovery process, you become very aware of who you are.

After a lifetime covering up blame addiction, we are not only expert liars, but we are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.

We do not know who we honestly are and because of that, we keep trying to create a life that is not in alignment with our honest self.

Pain is a guide, encouraging us to do something different to what we have been doing.

It was like a blow from Thor’s hammer when I realised blame was a trained response and not a normal human behaviour.

I became very aware that the reason nature flourishes when left alone is because there is no blame.

Every home, office, bar and gym is full of blame, where we are either blaming others or ourselves.

When we spend time in nature, even the self-blame has an opportunity to quieten down for a while.

Hatred, anger, revenge are not inherent human emotions - they originate from blame.

With less blame there is less mental and emotional pain, it is a simple equation.

wisdom to know why something was happening the way it was. I instinctively knew every part had a purpose to play for the whole ecosystem to flourish. It ebbed and flowed, adapted and ultimately worked together in weird and wonderful ways.

Our homes and offices, and societies have a foundation in blame. As a result, we have used control to maintain peace and order. However, using control in this way means we are running our environments like prisons. Look at most households. Children are told the rules and if they break them they are punished by being banished to their room, solitary confinement. Maybe they are not allowed to play or watch tv, restricted access to entertainment and exercise. It creates an atmosphere of fear. This is not a healing and empathetic space to grow up in. And when parents become bosses they create the same environment. The repercussions of passing on this blame addiction to our children and future generations, are much larger than you may think.

This first stage of the blame recovery process is becoming aware of our addiction to blame.

We know doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein. Over thousands of years, we have continued to develop more sophisticated tools and techniques to help us control and repress our self-honesty. It is getting harder to keep a lid on all of that blame-based anger and frustration, as well as feelings of fear, anxiety and depression. It is being internalised, and the recent pandemic and subsequent isolation showed many people what they had been hiding from for so long. n


Network International elevates Dounia Saidi to Group Chief Marketing Officer

Network International has announced the appointment of Dounia Saidi as its Group Chief Marketing Officer in a move aimed at enhancing the company’s marketing capabilities. In her new capacity, Dounia will be tasked with driving Network’s marketing strategy by focusing on brand management and group product marketing. She will be responsible for overseeing the group’s branding, public relations, communications, and events and ensuring their management and optimisation.

Dounia has more than 24 years of experience in business development, relationship management, and product development in leading payment solutions providers and financial services. She previously served as Acting General Manager and Vice President for GCC in the company, where she played a pivotal role in customer-facing positions. She brings to the table extensive knowledge of the requirements of banks, merchants, and fintech companies across the MEA region.


joins CSM Sport and Entertainment as Global Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

CSM Sport and Entertainment has announced the appointment of Karima Green as its Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or DEI. Green is a highly regarded thought leader and change maker with an award-winning career that has been exclusively focused on DEI. She joins CSM from SThree, where she served as Global Head of DEI and People Engagement and played a critical role in the recruitment firm winning company of the year at the European Diversity Awards.

Green has also been recognised for her exceptional work in DEI, including being selected for LinkedIn’s Talent Voice programme and being listed as one of the top 75 DEI leaders in EMEA. She also established her own DEI professionals’ network, The BRAVE Network, which focuses on defining best practices around organisational diversity. She frequently speaks at events for organisations such as LinkedIn, Accenture, and EY. Before joining SThree, Green served as the Diversity Delivery Lead at Clear Channel Outdoor Global.

Coca-Cola Middle East has appointed Andrew Buckingham as its new Vice President and General Manager. With over 23 years of experience at Coca-Cola, Buckingham will lead the company’s efforts to expand and strengthen its presence in the Middle East, which includes 13 markets. He will work with the company’s multifunctional network and bottling partners across the region to drive growth and achieve its strategic goals.

Buckingham joined Coca-Cola in 1999 as the Marketing Manager for Ecuador and has since held various leadership positions in marketing and commercial operations across Latin America, Europe, Asia, and North America. In 2015, Buckingham moved to North America as Vice President, Customer and Commercial Leadership. He was appointed as General Manager of the Puerto Rico Region in 2017. In his recent role as General Manager for Russia and Belarus, Buckingham led the operation during challenging times, achieving double-digit revenue growth, and record-high employee engagement.

Green Andrew Buckingham moves from Russia, Belarus Coca-Cola operations to VP GM Middle East