Funding for Women-founded Startups in MENA Remains Difficult, Say Entrepreneurs…

The gender bias continues unabated with all-male startup founding teams garnering 99% of the total $374 million investments raised in August.

Funding for Women-founded Startups in MENA Remains Difficult, Say Entrepreneurs…

UAE News:
UAE and Germany signed a “landmark” energy agreement that spans joint efforts to boost energy security, decarbonisation and combat climate change. ADNOC and German utility RWE signed a deal for the former to deliver 137k cubic metres of LNG by the end-December.
Bilateral non-oil foreign trade between the UAE and Saudi Arabia grew by 92.5% in the past decade to AED 124.69bn by the end-2021, according to the FCSC. Gold topped the list of commodities exported to Saudi Arabia in 2021, with a value of AED 9bn.
The value of exports and re-exports of firms registered with the Dubai Chamber increased by 20% YoY to AED 177bn in January-August 2022. The number of registered firms expanded by 69% to 314k during the period.
The UAE Ministry of Economy launched the “Thabat Venture Builder” enabling family-owned businesses to develop viable business projects by adopting emerging technologies; batches of 10-20 businesses will be taken by the program. The aim is to double the contribution of family-owned businesses to AED 1.17trn by 2032.
Binance received approval to join the ‘Minimal Viable Product’ program from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (Vara): this allows them to offer a range of Vara-approved virtual assets-related services to qualified retail and institutional investors in Dubai.
The Salik IPO raised AED 3.73bn (USD 1.017bn) and was oversubscribed 49 times across all tranches; the government sold more than 1.86 bn shares or 24.9%.
Burjeel Holdings announced plans for an 11% stake sale IPO, after Abu Dhabi’s IHC took a 15% stake in the firm for an undisclosed amount. The IPO will launch on 30th September and close on 4th October, with a listing on ADX expected to happen on 10th October.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange disclosed that the value of shares owned by Saudi investors totalled AED 5.627bn at the beginning of September: this amounts to 25% of shares owned by Arab and GCC investors. There were 145,647 Saudi investors, representing 42% of total Arab and GCC investors.
Dubai sports sector’s contribution to the economy exceeded AED 9bn (USD 2.45bn) in 2021, accounting for 2.3% of GDP. With 105k new job opportunities to be created, the sector is expected to account for 3.8% of total employment in Dubai.
Arthur D Little’s Global Electric Mobility Readiness Index places UAE 8th globally in terms of readiness of the market for electric mobility. The UAE EV market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 30% between 2022 and 2028.

MENA News:
Bahrain and Israel have initiated free trade talks, after two years of normalization of diplomatic ties. Bilateral trade between the two nations touched just USD 7.5mn in 2021.
Contactless payments in Bahrain surged by 75% in August while e-commerce transactions increased by 13%. The highest number of transactions took place at restaurants (more than 1/3-rd of the total) while in terms of value government services topped the list (~30% of the total).
The Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange revealed that discussions were at an advanced stage with 5 or 6 firms that want to list on the exchange. He also cited lack of liquidity as a key challenge for the exchange.
The sovereign wealth fund of Egypt signed agreements for 10 projects worth EGP 25.5bn during 2021, to be implemented across varied sectors including utilities and infrastructure, tourism, real estate as well as financial services and education among others. The fund is also considering about 44 projects with investments of EGP 140bn over the coming 5 years.
Egypt has a target of investments worth USD 7.7-8bn in the oil and gas sector, according to the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Japanese investments in Egypt surged by 52% YoY in 2021, while bilateral trade increased by 13% YoY to USD 1.5bn, according to the Finance Minister. He also disclosed that Egypt is considering the issuance of green Samurai bonds following the previous successful offering.
Lebanon’s investments in Egypt are worth around USD 1.2bn, according to Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry, and reflect continuing capital flight from the crisis-ridden country. The country ranks 14th largest in terms of investing in Egypt.
Bilateral trade between Oman and Saudi Arabia more than doubled to over OMR 1.249bn in H1 2022. Saudi Arabia was Oman’s fourth largest trade partner in 2021, following China, UAE and India, with OMR 1.3bn in merchandise trade.
Gulf central banks raised key interest rates following the Fed’s 75bps hike: Kuwait raised the key discount rate by 25bps to 3% while Bahrain raised the rate on its 1-week deposit facility by 75bps to 4%. Other GCC apex banks also lifted rates last week. The rate hike will result in higher borrowing rates and could reduce domestic demand.
Saudi PIF has created 500k jobs through its 54 companies spanning 10 different sectors, revealed its governor. The aim for PIF is to create 1.8mn “quality” jobs.
The value of point of sales transactions in Saudi Arabia fell by 3.3% (from a week ago) in the week ended 17th September, with the education sector posting the biggest drop (-53.3%).
The Saudi Central Bank Governor stated at a conference that digital currencies will not be an absolute alternative to cash but will play an important role besides other payment systems.
Total assets of Saudi Arabia’s banking sector amounted to SAR 3.5trn until end-Q2 2022, disclosed the Minister of Finance. The aim is to raise this to more than 4.5trn by 2030.
Saudi Arabi’s holdings of US Treasury bonds grew by 2% MoM to USD 121.6bn in July, posting the highest MoM increase since September 2021.
Saudi Aramco’s CEO called attention to the underinvestment in oil and gas while stating that taxing oil companies and capping energy bills were only short-term solutions to the ongoing energy crisis.
The gender bias continues unabated with all-male startup founding teams garnering 99 percent of the total $374 million investments raised in August, while just a paltry one percent went to startups founded or co-founded by women.
Of the total 33 fundraising deals in MENA in August this year, Saudi Arabia-based investors were the most active, taking part in 10 deals, followed by their counterparts from the UAE with eight deals.
Global News:
Most equity markets tumbled last week on recession worries after several central banks raised rates (including the US, UK, Indonesia, Norway and Switzerland) in a bid to suppress inflation; the MSCI World index fell to a 2-year low. Regional markets also mirrored global patterns, ending in the red. The US dollar index hit a 20-year high on Wednesday following the hawkish Fed statement, while the British Pound continues to tumble after the announcement of debt-financed tax cuts: the pound sterling is at a 37-year low, and the euro dropped to a 20-year low. Oil prices fell to an 8-month low on the strong dollar and fears of recession, while gold price declined to the lowest since April 2020.

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Nasser Saidi & Associates
Arabian Business