EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes

Nayef Tawfeeq Al-Alawi, founder, managing director, and CEO of EazyPay
Short Url
Updated 13 April 2024
Follow

EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes

Eazy Financial Services, or EazyPay, a Bahraini financial institute specializing in point-of-sale and online payment gateway acquiring services, has announced its inclusion in the prestigious Forbes Middle East FinTech 50 list. This recognition underscores EazyPay’s commitment to revolutionizing the digital payment landscape and its significant impact on the financial industry across the Middle East.

The Forbes Middle East Fintech 50 is a highly anticipated annual list that recognizes the most disruptive and influential players transforming the financial technology sector in the Middle East. With 23 entries dedicated to payment gateway firms, EazyPay secured the No. 19 spot, solidifying its position as a distinguished leader in the realm of online payment solutions.

Established in 2016, EazyPay’s innovative technology is revolutionizing digital transactions, establishing it as a leader within the MENA fintech landscape. The company’s success hinges on a comprehensive suite of payment solutions catering to the specific needs of both established businesses and agile startups. This adaptability ensures seamless integration and fosters a thriving digital ecosystem. EazyPay’s impact extends beyond facilitating transactions, establishing themselves as strong advocates for financial inclusion. By creating accessible payment solutions, EazyPay empowers previously unbanked or underbanked individuals to participate in the digital economy. This not only broadens the customer base for businesses but also fosters a more equitable financial landscape in Bahrain.

Nayef Tawfeeq Al-Alawi, founder, managing director, and CEO of EazyPay, said: “We are incredibly honored to be recognized by Forbes Middle East. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire team, who are passionate about making financial services easier and more accessible for everyone in the region.”

Being listed on Forbes Middle East FinTech 50 marks a significant milestone for Eazypay and further reinforces its position as a leading force shaping the future of finance in the Middle East. The company remains committed to continuous innovation and collaboration to create a more inclusive and prosperous financial ecosystem for the region.


Cenomi Centers celebrates progress on ‘Jawharat Riyadh,’ Saudi capital’s upcoming retail & lifestyle destination

Updated 22 May 2024
Follow

Cenomi Centers celebrates progress on ‘Jawharat Riyadh,’ Saudi capital’s upcoming retail & lifestyle destination

Cenomi Centers, the largest owner, operator and developer of contemporary lifestyle centers in Saudi Arabia, celebrated progress on its Jawharat Riyadh development with a VIP gala dinner on May 20. Jawharat Riyadh is set to become Riyadh’s largest lifestyle destination, and one of Cenomi Centers’ prized assets across its portfolio of 22 centers including iconic flagship and lifestyle centers.

The gala dinner saw the creation of an elaborate event space on the Jawharat Riyadh construction site, to celebrate a milestone in the project’s development and bring its highly anticipated opening one step closer. Saudi Chef Mona Mosly created a bespoke menu for the VIP guests, with dishes celebrating the different regional foods of the country. VIP guests included international, regional and local retailers who are interested in bringing their retail and lifestyle concepts to Jawharat Riyadh, many of whom are not yet in Saudi Arabia. 

Opening in the second half of 2025, Jawharat Riyadh will be a watershed moment in lifestyle experiences in the Kingdom, as Cenomi Centers pursues an ambitious growth pipeline to develop next-generation retail and lifestyle destinations. Its flagship centers will introduce many retailers to Saudi Arabia for the first time and bring major new flagship stores, international entertainment destinations, expansive F&B offerings and a range of unique experiences.

Jawharat Riyadh will be the Saudi capital’s No. 1 destination in terms of spend with a SR5 billion+ ($1.3 billion) total potential retail spend and is expected to attract over 20 million visitors annually. Located in one of the most affluent and fastest growing areas in the city, Jawharat Riyadh will combine stunning designs with the best luxury and fast fashion retail brands and dining options, as well as futuristic entertainment, events and experiential offerings supported by technology-led customer services to create an experience like no other.

The first phase of the development at 185,000 square meters of the total gross leasable area will boast over 300 stores, restaurants, a lifestyle and co-working space along with over 50,000 square meters of prime office space. It will bring luxury, lifestyle brands, entertainment and dining at a scale not seen before in the Kingdom. Jawharat Riyadh will feature distinct zones including the Luxury District, Fashion and Lifestyle Avenue, Youth and Innovation Zone, and the Leisure and Entertainment District. There will also be four F&B zones, ranging from premium dining to social experiential dining as well as outdoor promenades and immersive dining around next-generation entertainment. Thirty first-to-Saudi brands and over 70 flagship stores from the most sought-after names will open in Jawharat Riyadh. 

The development will feature the first and largest luxury wing inside a shopping mall, spanning over 25,000 square meters, with more than 60 luxury stores and the full suite of services. Its entertainment offering will feature multiple attractions and entertainment concepts from the US, Dubai, and Asia, serving all age groups. As customers explore Jawharat Riyadh, they will also see numerous digital offerings, including an iconic 3D holographic entertainment offering, as well as digital screens with generative art and mixed reality features.

Alison Rehill-Erguven, CEO of Cenomi Centers, said: “We are pleased to have hosted a successful VIP gala dinner to celebrate another milestone for the Jawharat Riyadh development. This project supports our company’s growth strategy to deliver the next generation of retail and lifestyle centers not yet available in the Kingdom. Jawharat Riyadh will meet the fast-evolving consumer needs and deliver the flagship spaces that retailers require to expand into the Kingdom. Cenomi Centers is a proud partner of Vision 2030, delivering sustainable lifestyle centers which help drive the retail and tourism economy and create new local jobs.” 

Bruno Wehbe, COO of flagship assets at Cenomi Centers, said: “Our flagship destinations will change the way Saudi Arabia imagines retail and lifestyle experiences. At Jawharat Riyadh, we are delivering a number of firsts to the Kingdom, from major international retailers to entertainment, events and dining concepts. We are experiencing high retailer demand for space and look forward to offering visitors and those who call Riyadh home something new, engaging and genuinely different in 2025. This is a forward step for Cenomi Centers, for Riyadh and the concept of what a lifestyle destination is about in the Saudi Arabian capital.” 

Jawharat Riyadh will achieve the internationally recognized Gold Standard Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a first for a Saudi mall, and will support Green Riyadh with more than one tree planted for every 2.5 meters of the surface area, totaling 4,500 trees. Phase 2 of Jawharat Riyadh will see the delivery of up to 1,000 lifestyle and premium hotel rooms, premium branded residences and serviced apartments, and other commercial space. 

Jawharat Riyadh is part of the Jawharat flagship projects, which include the development of two further one-of-a-kind lifestyle destinations — Jawharat Jeddah, which is set to open at the end of 2025, and Jawharat Alkhobar, which will open in 2027. These centers will redefine retail and leisure in the country and will further cement Cenomi Centers’ leading position.


LuLu opens 60th Saudi hypermarket in Khamis Mushait

Updated 22 May 2024
Follow

LuLu opens 60th Saudi hypermarket in Khamis Mushait

Regional retailer Lulu Group has further expanded its presence in the Kingdom with the opening of its newest destination in Khamis Mushait, Asir province. 

Khaled bin Abdulaziz bin Mushait, governor of Khamis Mushait, inaugurated the hypermarket — the 60th LuLu outlet in Saudi Arabia — in the presence of Yusuf Ali M.A., chairman of LuLu Group, and other dignitaries. 

Present on the occasion were Saifee Rupawala, CEO of LuLu Group; Ashraf Ali M.A., executive director, LuLu Group; Shehim Mohammed, LuLu Saudi director; Rafeek Mohammed Ali, regional director, LuLu Hypermarket, Jeddah region; and other senior officials. 

The hypermarket is spread over 71,000 square feet in the popular Mujan Park Mall and comes packed with all the favorite shopping features that have made LuLu the fastest growing retail chain across the Kingdom. 

Chairman Ali said: “LuLu’s growth story in Saudi Arabia is a testimony to the quality choices of Saudi shoppers who recognize the commitment of LuLu to deliver its brand promise of quality, affordability and variety. Brand LuLu has always been known for catering to shoppers based not only in city centers, but also in the outskirts and suburbs, so that people do not need to travel long distances. We are committed to providing world-class shopping and we shall continue meeting the lifestyle needs of our clientele base.” 

He added: “We have also focused on promoting and providing local employment opportunities, which have been critical to our success through a structured recruitment process that aims to provide necessary training and skill enhancement opportunities to the local workforce.” 

As part of its expansion plan in the Kingdom, LuLu will open another 17 new hypermarkets in the near future, which will provide more employment to the local youth, Ali said.

“The onward march of LuLu Hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia signals our group’s commitment to the Saudi leadership’s vision and energy for a bright future. Our growth would not have been possible without the support of all our stakeholders — especially our valued customers who have always patronized our quality and service, and our management who have tapped retail trends and built a network of stores on the foundation of excellence.” 

“We are proud to be part of Saudi Arabia’s overall development and will continue to support sustainable development strategies. I thank the wise leadership of Saudi Arabia for their support,” added Ali. 

Located on the first floor of the mall, the store is designed with customer convenience at its core. The hypermarket offers the choicest selection of ingredients from across the world, fresh food in the Hot Foods section and bakery, electronics in the LuLu Connect section and a fashion store.

Shoppers have the convenience of 1,100 car parking slots and, inside the store, 12 checkout counters and four self-checkout counters. There are also dedicated green checkout counters to encourage the company policy of giving ecologically aware customers priority. LuLu will also offer e-receipt checkout, in line with its green drive that seeks to promote paperless transactions.

Special in-store features include an emphasis on healthy and diet food choices, an extensive range of “Free From” foods, pet foods, a seafood section that also extends to freshly made sushi and grilled fish, premium meats and an expansive imported product range. 


Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

SCD 3D render (©Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi)
Updated 22 May 2024
Follow

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

When it comes to how we see the world and our place within it, our outlook is defined by a whole host of factors: geography and history are fundamental, as is our economic situation, not least because they impact our sense of self, purpose and ambition. 

In a column for the Financial Times, journalist Janan Ganesh reflected on how different the world looks from the UAE and Europe, especially when it comes to the trends that define 21st century globalization. It is no longer tenable, Ganesh argued, to think of a globalist “as someone who knows London and Paris.”

Consider then, just how different the view is from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, where cross-cultural exchange and dialogue have been woven into the emirate’s history and heritage for millennia. Culture remains an integral and organic part of the community in Abu Dhabi, a legacy from the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who set the cultural agenda in the 1950s through archaeological excavations near the ancient city of Al-Ain, where he also inaugurated the UAE’s first museum in 1971. That visionary legacy has positioned Abu Dhabi as a global center for cultural excellence and dialogue and led to the creation of the Saadiyat Cultural District Abu Dhabi.

Once completed, the diversity of Saadiyat Cultural District’s institutions will make the district one of the world’s most unique cultural platforms dedicated to intellectual exchange and transformative creativity. Home to museums, narratives, collections, and inspirational public programming, Saadiyat Cultural District has been created as a center where visitors can experience a journey of the world’s history and collective culture, seen from the perspective of the global south.

The district is already home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in the Arab world showcasing artworks from different cultures side by side and telling a story of human connections. Nearby, Berklee Abu Dhabi offers music, and performing arts educational programs for talents throughout the wider region.

Manarat Al-Saadiyat serves as a center for creative artistic expression and is home to two significant initiatives in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar: Abu Dhabi Art and Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, both of which harness Abu Dhabi’s role as a global cultural hub, showcasing the city to the world and bringing international perspectives to the capital. The Abrahamic Family House welcomes people to connect, explore, and reflect, while deepening their understanding of our common humanity through mutual dialogue and knowledge exchange.

With construction at 76 percent, Saadiyat Cultural District will soon be home to the Zayed National Museum, the national museum of the UAE that celebrates the nation’s rich history and culture and honors Sheikh Zayed’s legacy. It will also host the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will take visitors on a 13.8-billion-year journey through the story of our universe and planet. Additionally, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi will offer visitors an experiential journey into the future, transcending the limits of their imagination, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will establish itself as the region’s pre-eminent museum for contemporary art and culture.

More than a cultural destination, Saadiyat Cultural District is a global platform, emanating from a rich cultural heritage, celebrating traditions, and advancing equitable culture. It is a place of opportunity, exchange and innovation coupled with an impact-focused mission to champion creativity and promote a diverse global cultural landscape.

With over 200 nationalities and known trading links stretching back for millennia, Saadiyat Cultural District embodies a vision of the future informed by a profound sense of commitment and responsibility. It is reaffirming Abu Dhabi’s position as a beacon of cultural innovation and intellectual exchange, connecting the UAE’s rich heritage with the world’s diverse cultures, to enhance mutual understanding and position Abu Dhabi as a vital player on the global cultural stage.

For more information, visit:

Disclaimer: The [buildings] depicted in these images are conceptual illustrations. Actual buildings and layouts may differ from the representations shown here by the time of completion. All rights to the images and their contents are reserved. Unauthorised use, reproduction, or distribution of these images is strictly prohibited.

 


‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

Karim El-Fiqi, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo AMESA
Updated 22 May 2024
Follow

‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

  • Pepsi Becomes First Ever Brand to Take Center Stage at a Major Football Event in Saudi Arabia
  • Mystery DJs from MDLBEAST to perform at the closing ceremony.

Pepsi will host the “Party With Pepsi” show, featuring a lineup of DJs, on May 24 at a major football closing ceremony in Saudi Arabia. This groundbreaking event marks the first time a brand will take center stage at a football event in the Kingdom. The unprecedented spectacle of light, sound, and celebration, in partnership with the ROSHN Saudi League, will not only showcase Pepsi’s bold new identity but also cement its position as a cultural vanguard, resonating with multiple generations through an electrifying musical journey from past to present.

The event will take place at the heart of Saudi cultural life, intertwining the excitement of football with the universal language of music, creating a platform where athletic passions and musical creativity collide. Through this event, Pepsi embodies a relentless quest for innovation and engagement, offering audiences not just a show but an experience that leaves them craving more. The motto “Thirsty for More” drives the event’s narrative, from the suspenseful reveal of mystery DJs blending iconic musical eras to a special closing ceremony, the event promises continued innovation and excitement.

Pepsi has long stood as the sound of every generation, and “Thirsty for More” is more than just a brand slogan; it is a declaration of Pepsi’s commitment to pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. By featuring a diverse lineup of artists who bridge the gap between generations, Pepsi demonstrates its unique ability to resonate with audiences both old and new. The show’s musical journey, meticulously curated by MDLBEAST, will transition from classic hits to contemporary anthems, illustrating Pepsi’s evolution while staying true to its roots.

Speaking about the campaign, Karim El-Fiqi, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo AMESA, said: “Recently, we launched our new identity and promised to keep delivering immersive and engaging experiences for our consumers. As part of the same, Pepsi will be the first brand to partner to create a never seen like before show at Roshn Saudi League. This event is a strategic move to solidify Pepsi’s standing as the premier brand that evolves with and supports the dynamic culture in Saudi Arabia. By aligning with the country’s burgeoning entertainment industry and rapidly expanding sports sector, Pepsi not only taps into the national zeitgeist but also sets the stage for future cultural engagements. This event is part of a broader strategy to embed the brand deeply into the cultural fabric of the markets it serves, making Pepsi synonymous with youthful energy and innovative experiences.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Ramadan Alharatani, chief executive of MDLBEAST, said: “This collaboration represents a powerful fusion of sports and music, igniting the passion of football enthusiasts through the universal language of music. With our meticulous curation of the musical journey, we aim to create an electrifying experience that resonates with multiple generations. Together with Pepsi, we are pushing boundaries, delivering innovation, and offering audiences an unforgettable experience that leaves them thirsty for more.”

Pepsi remains dedicated to supporting the growth and popularity of football in Saudi Arabia. Pepsi will not only deliver a spectacular closing ceremony but will also set a new standard for brand involvement in cultural events. This show will be a testament to Pepsi’s vision of staying at the forefront of cultural trends, delivering unmatched experiences that resonate across generations, and continuously inspiring audiences to remain “thirsty for more.”

Stay tuned as Pepsi continues to innovate and inspire. Follow @pepsi_Saudi for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and upcoming surprises. Join the conversation using #ThirstyForMore and share how Pepsi inspires you.


Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Updated 19 May 2024
Follow

Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Two Saudi startups are among the eight companies from the Middle East and North Africa region selected by PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs and partners for their Mega Green Accelerator. The selected participants have all submitted an innovative solution focused on either advancing the circular economy, transitioning to clean energy, or mitigating climate change through technologies to improve water use and agricultural processes. Timed to coincide with this year’s GPCA Plastics Conference, themed “Innovating for Sustainable Growth,” the selected startups also presented to industry leaders who are accelerating the development of a circular economy in the region.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

The Mega Green Accelerator will nurture the next generation of innovators as they develop solutions to address both regional and global sustainability challenges. For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions. At the end of the program later this year, one winning company will be awarded $30,000 in funding to continue its expansion.

HIGHLIGHT

For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions.

A total of 363 submissions were received from sustainable startups in the region during the applications phase. The eight shortlisted companies that will proceed in the program are:

•Mrüna, UAE: A consulting and distribution company dedicated to developing innovative urban solutions.
•The Surpluss, UAE: A climate technology startup that helps SMEs reduce their greenhouse gas emissions profitably through resource sharing via a digital sustainability exchange.

Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

•Mirai Solar, Saudi Arabia: A solar technology startup that specializes in expanding solar energy use beyond conventional applications, improving the energy use efficiency of food production and smart buildings for a sustainable future.
•Ahya Technologies, Saudi Arabia: A climate software and AI startup building a unified platform for scaling climate action across the Middle East North Africa and Pakistan.
•YY ReGen, Lebanon: The startup provides innovative solutions through the promotion of renewable energy, sustainable water management, and regenerative farming.
•Viridia Tech, Egypt: The startup offers a platform for crop analytics at scale for industrial agricultural companies, leading to significant improvements in yield, unit economics and sustainability metrics.
•P-VITA, Egypt: A biotechnology hub that specializes in producing natural raw materials for cosmetics, and food and beverage industries using AI and IoT technologies to reduce carbon footprint through automated processes.
•Kumulus, Tunisia: A water tech startup that turns air into fresh drinking water through innovative AWG machines — aiming to make drinking water more accessible, sustainable, and economical for hotels and businesses across MENA and Southern European regions.
“With solutions spanning agriculture, water, and the energy sectors, this is an opportunity for us to accelerate the development of practical climate technologies crucial to address the MENA region’s challenges and strengthen our position as a testbed for climate innovation globally. Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future. The Mega Green Accelerator provides the incentive to bolster this through cross-sector collaboration and nurture the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs by providing the needed mentorship, funding, and market access,” said Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and CEO of International Beverages.
“Over 300 fast-growing sustainability companies from all over the MENA region have applied to the program, showcasing a healthy influx of sustainable solutions and rapid growth in the sector. The selection of these eight companies underscores their readiness for scale, marking a pivotal time in the sector’s development. The Mega Green Accelerator is setting the stage for a robust sustainability infrastructure, bridging the gap between these companies, and the resources necessary for them to thrive, scale, and translate their innovative solutions into regional impact,” said Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs.
Strategic investment partners like Dubai Future District Fund, Venture Souq and Shurooq Partners will provide platforms for investment opportunities, mentorship in raising capital, and networking opportunities throughout the term of the Mega Green Accelerator. Schneider Electric will support the Mega Green Accelerator as a prize partner alongside participating in the final selection of the winner.