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Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Jad Hajj, the technology industry is performing well, with major players reporting strong financial performances. The major US companies are thriving, some of the large Chinese firms are growing internationally, and startups are receiving funding. The future looks bright thanks to the prospects for growth in such technologies as the Internet of Things (IoT, the networking of connected devices), cloud computing, advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, advanced supply chains, e-commerce, and robotic manufacturing.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Dr. Ulrich Koegler, Principal Jean Salamat, and Principal Camil Tahan, as the GCC countries pursue economic diversification and sustainable growth plans, the need to digitize the freight transportation and logistics industry (T&L) is becoming increasingly important. At present, the T&L industry in the GCC, which is one of the key drivers of economic activity in the region, faces a combined threat of declining business revenue and outdated infrastructure.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Principal Hani Zein writes that telecom operators understand that it is no longer enough to offer high-speed data and good quality of service. Their customers regard these as standard services. Operators continue to lose customers to digital players and are being forced to venture into digital services, in which operators have little experience and meagre advantage over any other investors. There is now intense competition from service providers whose business models are founded on a differentiated customer experience and frictionless services.

 

Distribution market: Saudi Arabia

Strategy& Partner Sevag Papazian writes that the GCC countries are undergoing a major socioeconomic transformation. Digitization will be essential in this process, reinventing business models, permitting a seamless customer experience, and exploiting the potential of data.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Dr. Raed Kombargi, Partner Dr. Shihab Elborai, and Principal Dr. Yahya Anouti, renewable energy sources hold great promise in the Gulf countries, but the region is at risk of falling behind as investment in the sector rises globally. Globally, Strategy& expects annual investments into renewable energy to grow by $130 billion, compared to 2016 figures, reaching around $370 billion in 2020. It estimates that the cumulative investment total between 2016 and 2020 will reach $1.5 trillion globally

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates​

Strategy& Director Adrian Del Maestro writes that the upstream oil and gas sector lags behind most other industries when it comes to digitising operations. This is largely attributable to a deeply ingrained aversion to risk.Given the sensitive nature of offshore operations in terms of health, safety, and the environment, operators have been reluctant to deploy relatively untested digital technologies.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Ramy Sfeir, Partner Marc-Albert Hamalian, and Principal Bilal Mikati, the GCC’s population is projected to reach 65 million by 2030 and a third of it will be under the age of 25, spurring new investment opportunities in the region’s education sector. A large number of players are entering into the region’s private education market. 

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Tarek El Zein, Partner with Strategy&, writes that this year, the Middle East telecom industry will press ahead with digital transformation like never before. Although the Middle East telecom market has reached its peak, and is even contracting in some countries, regional operators are positioned to reverse this trend in 2018 with four key strategies. They must accelerate the building of digital capabilities, scale-up their adjacency ventures through acquisition, push forward efficiency programs, and advance in building partnerships with their regulators.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Partner Haroon Sheikh writes that GCC countries need to prepare for the next wave of change in military technology. Armed forces across the world are increasingly integrating digital technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics into defence platforms and military operations. In the foreseeable future the armies of developed countries will deploy robotic vehicles, whether for transport or combat, providing them with a significant combat and intelligence advantage

 

Distribution market: Gulf News

According to Strategy& Partners Fadi Adra and Yahya Anouti, GCC states are engaged in ambitious national transformation programmes that depend to a considerable extent upon people making different choices. Improving national health levels, to use just one example, involves people adopting healthier eating habits and leading more active lifestyles — an area where traditional policymaking methods like applying fines, incentives, or taxes are not always effective as standalone tools.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Partner Ramy Sfeir writes that in the GCC, owning large pieces of land has traditionally been a means of safeguarding wealth for both governments and the private sector. However, this land often lies dormant and unexploited. Growing economic pressure calls for a new approach in order to unlock the land’s true value.

 

Distribution market: Gulf News

According to Amr Goussous, Partner with Strategy&, Middle East telecom operators need to prepare for a new wave of merger and acquisitions (M&A). In the near future, operators will more actively go after regional or global firms in the expanding information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Principal Bruno Wehbe, land owners in the Middle East need a new approach to manage their holdings. Whether governments or private owners, they need to reap value rather than holding onto land as long as possible. This is an unfamiliar strategy for many owners, which they will need to implement systematically to generate the maximum possible value.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates​

Strategy& Partner Karl Nader writes that the retail landscape in the GCC is changing thanks to growing online activity, characterised by the entrance of new online players. For example, Amazon recently acquired the Middle East online retailer Souq.com and Mohamed Alabbar’s multi-category retailer noon.com is scheduled to launch later this year.

 

Distribution market: Saudi Arabia 

According to Strategy& Partner Samer Bohsali, Principal Sevag Papazian, and fellow at the Ideation Center Melissa Rizk, the GCC can truly benefit from sharing economy platforms by tapping into underexploited human resources and assets. GCC consumers spent $10.7 billion on sharing economy platforms in 2016, generating an estimated $1.7 billion in revenues for these platforms.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Jad Hajj, Partner with Strategy&, the technology industry seems to have plenty of growth opportunities. More Middle East organizations are adopting cloud computing, while the Internet of Things (IoT, the network of connected devices) is altering the face of business. Yesterday’s science fiction is becoming today’s business reality, whether in the form of drones, autonomous trucks, virtual reality, or digital assistants. The massive growth in demand for digital technology does not, however, on its own mean secure profits for technology firms. 

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Samer Bohsali, Partner with Strategy&, GCC governments need to continuously reskill their workforce to embrace the latest technologies. The digital sector tends to change rapidly because of continuously emerging new technologies that redefine the way business is done, which is less often the case in traditional jobs. Creating a digital workforce of continuous learners is key to drive the success of national transformation plans.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Samer Bohsali, the GCC countries have ambitious targets to move away from their dependence on oil. National plans like Saudi Vision 2030 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 require leaps of efficiency across their whole economies. Digitisation, driven by a local, skilled, and adaptable workforce, is one of the key enablers required to reach these objectives.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy& Partner Samer Bohsali and Principal Sevag Papazian write that more and more GCC consumers are using mobile applications to book taxi rides and accommodation at a touch of their screen. These applications are part of the sharing economy, the latest digital evolution, which allows people to buy or rent goods and services directly from each other. The sharing economy creates markets from previously underused assets, such as rooms in private houses and seats in cars, turning them into accommodation and journeys. It can also provide much-needed flexible jobs and promote digital innovation.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Principal Bilal Mikati writes that the rising demand for education in the GCC is driving an investment boom in the sector. The number of announced private equity transactions and mergers and acquisitions in education increased three-fold in the past decade, which resulted in the sector ranking second in private equity transactions of all sectors in the Middle East from 2011 to 2015.

 

Distribution market: Saudi Arabia

Strategy& Partner Karl Nader writes that the food and beverage sector in the GCC is developing, due to consumers’ changing tastes, increased women participation in the workforce and a government push for healthier diets. For food and beverage companies, understanding these trends and how they affect consumer purchases can help unlock growth.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Partner Karl Nader writes that Fit for Growth book was authored by three of the firm’s principals to describe the result of “an evolution” in their work. The book does not offer — even by the standards of books on management — a particularly gripping narrative. In short, it is a reference guide in three parts (a brief introduction to the concept, a manager’s guide, and a few afterthoughts on the “human element” and keeping up morale) that offers decision-makers access to insights and practices which Strategy& developed over years of strategic consulting.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Ramzi Khoury, Principal with Strategy&, telecom operators can position themselves to take advantage of the growing drones market in the GCC. Drones are becoming increasingly popular as they can help companies in diverse sectors transform their operations and make better decisions, such as through gathering and analysing data or by conducting deliveries. As a result, the drones market is expanding at a rapid pace in the GCC, and could be worth $1.5 billion by 2022.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy& Partner Haroon Sheikh writes that the countries of the GCC spend roughly $130bn a year on defence, far more than any other states as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). Geopolitical uncertainties in the region mean that high spending is likely to continue. Yet because the region lacks defence manufacturing capabilities, most of that money goes to foreign companies and contractors. GCC governments remain customers for defence technology, rather than its designers and developers.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy& Partner Karl Nader companies in the GCC are facing mounting pressures. Operating expenses are rising, driven by the requirement to hire local staff instead of expats, and increasing regulatory changes. Margins are shrinking as multinationals take over more activities from their local partners. Moreover, revenues are declining due to an overall increase in competition and the slowdown in economic growth.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy& Partner Alessandro, Principal Marwan Bejjani, and Manager Tarek Khalifa write that airports and airlines are made for each other. They excel at coordinating to get their millions of shared customers safely from place to place. However, they do not work together well in other areas that could boost revenues, lower costs, improve efficiencies and enhance the customer experience.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy& Partner Per-Ola Karlsson, the firm analysed 2,500 leading public corporations around the world over the past 10 years. The period of time and the number of data points throws up interesting trends. One of the key findings of the current report is an increase on the number of CEOs let go for “ethical lapses” — not necessarily their own, but within their organisations.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy& Partner Fadi Adra and Manager Valerie Jambart explain the need for systems to protect children at school and at home has been highlighted by the number of child abuse cases reported to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children last year, a consultancy says. Last year, the foundation handled 62 cases, down from 69 in 2015. Since its inception in 2007, it has handled more than 500 cases.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Jad Hajj, Partner with Strategy&, writes that the demise of the SIM card will mean that telecom companies will lose control of connectivity, with important implications for consumers, device manufacturers, mobile network operators, and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which buy network capacity from telecom operators and then sell it to consumers.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Family businesses in the Gulf Cooperation Council are major forces in regional philanthropy, supporting a wide range of causes. And as they undergo important internal changes, with new generations taking control, these businesses can increase the impact they have in their communities by modernising traditional philanthropic approaches.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates 

Strategy&’s Principal Sevag Papzian writes that Digitalisation has become an imperative for companies worldwide. The smart adoption of technology and exploitation of the data it generates can help companies reinvent their business model, achieve major operational and cost efficiencies, and become more relevant to their customers.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab 

Serge Eid, Manager at Strategy& writes that with incomes in the region rising and new infrastructure being built, GCC countries are enjoying higher standards of living. As consumption levels increase in both shops and online, key actions need to be taken to safeguard GCC consumers from fraud, misinformation and other possible threats.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s Principal Nikhil Idnani writes that GCC healthcare has significant potential for investment in R&D. The demand for new hospitals, clinics and medical services is growing, and the GCC governments are expected to spend and invest significantly more in the sector by 2020.

 

Distribution market: Saudi Arabia

Strategy&’s Partner Georges Chehade, Principal Olaf Schirmer and Director Manish Mahanjan write that to reduce bureaucracy, GCC companies can use the Bureaucracy Measurement Index (BMI), recently launched by Strategy&,. Developed in the Middle East for the first time, the Index provides a quantitative means to assess the level of bureaucracy within a company, compares it to competitors and highlights problem areas. The result is a fact-based recommendation how bureaucracy should be treated best.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s Partners Hilal Halaoui and Salim Ghazaly write that Gulf countries are engaged in a determined effort to diversify their economies away from oil production and the exploitation of natural resources. At the same time, they are also actively working to address other economic challenges, including job creation and growing demand for quality public services.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s Partner Fadi Adra and Manager Valerie Jambart write that with the passage of a major child protection law in the UAE in 2016 and with other steps being taken by Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, a crucial area of social policy in the GCC is receiving the attention it deserves. Progress will be even faster, however, if the region’s governments put in place a systematic approach to the prevention, detection and management of child abuse within a comprehensive national framework.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy&’s Partner Samer Bohsali, executives in the GCC are excited by digital. They recognise its benefits, such as stronger customer orientation and increased efficiency, which is vital in an era of budget constraints. Many companies, however, perceive the process of going digital as the adoption of a specific technology, rather than a transformation journey.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Sevag Papazian, principal with Strategy&, writes that there has been phenomenal digital growth for economies, businesses and consumers during the past two decades. GCC governments understand this and have developed ambitious digital plans such as Dubai’s 3D printing initiative and its unified government platform for citizens, DubaiNow. Meanwhile, consumers in the region are among the world’s most tech-savvy.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy&’s partner Samer Bohsali writes that executives in the GCC are excited by digital. They recognise its benefits, such as stronger customer orientation and increased efficiency, which is vital in an era of budget constraints. Many companies, however, perceive the process of going digital as the adoption of a specific technology, rather than a transformation journey.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partners Ramy Sfeir and Marc-Albert Hamalian write that family businesses in the Middle East and North Africa are confronting important internal and external challenges. New generations are taking control of family conglomerates with different ideas about how these should operate and what the role of family members should be. Meanwhile, their external environment is becoming more uncertain and competitive.”

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab 

According to Strategy&’s partner George Sarraf, executive advisor David Branson, and principal Yahya Anouti, maintaining the GCC’s low gas prices, which are set considerably below international prices, is unsustainable and will create significant problems for the region in the future. While keeping GCC gas prices low has supported local economies in the past, the cost of new gas production is set to rise significantly in the future.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Alessandro Borgogna and manager Aditya Agarwalla write that airlines need to transform how they sell to their customers. If they are to take advantage of the changes in the travel distribution industry, while preventing digital technologies from turning their airplane seats into commodities, they will need to overhaul their ticket-distribution strategy. In the future, airlines will need to consider all the channels available in each market for connecting with their customers. They will have to take account of the data they can now collect through social media, loyalty programmes and the booking process.

 

Distribution market: Global

Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson writes that there is a host of examples of women taking leadership positions during crises. The glass cliff theory “may be a myth and that other factors can explain what we see. Women accounted for just 10 of the incoming 359 chief executives worldwide in 2015, the lowest rate since 2011. But while it is clear that many factors including leadership development approaches and cultures make it that much harder for women, Strategy& has not found any statistical evidence to back the idea that female leaders were brought in more often during crises. What it did find was that in the previous decade female chief executives were 27 per cent more likely to be forced out than male chief executives.

 

Distribution market: Global

Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson notes that more than 80% of these companies’ CEOs are internal appointments. Almost two-thirds of them have spent 12 years or more climbing up the corporate hierarchy. They are drawn from a large cadre of long-term employees who dominate the upper ranks of the organisation and usually outperform external recruits because they have far more company-specific knowledge.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab 

Strategy&’s partners Gabriel Chahine and Walid Tohme, and principal Nikhil Idnani write that the concept of mandatory health insurance is gaining momentum across much of the region, with governments looking at expanding access in partnership with private sector hospital networks. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have initiated efforts to build centers of excellence in multiple specialties such as trauma, cancer and cardiac care. And agreements have been struck with well-known institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins to manage facilities.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson and director of the Ideation Center Rawia Abdel Samad explain that in recent years, leading Gulf Cooperation Council companies have grown in their domestic markets and through international expansion. These large GCC firms are poised to compete with the global corporate elite, those highly successful multinational companies that already have deeply embedded capabilities. To play at this top level, however, regional firms will need to avoid growth traps. Too often companies focus on top line growth or country-specific competitive advantages rather than building foundational capabilities, which means that after initial rapid expansion they struggle in the big league.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab 

Strategy&’s partner Fadi Adra, principal Sevag Papazian, and director of the Ideation Center Rawia Abdel Samad write that while every GCC government has announced spending cuts to conserve budgets, conventional cost-cutting is only a short-term fix and could potentially slow a country’s growth over time. For GCC governments to cut costs and grow simultaneously, Strategy& recommends adopting a Fit for Service framework.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab 

According to Strategy&’s partner Jad Hajj and manager Wissam Abdel Samad, in recent years, telecom operators in the Middle East and Africa have enjoyed healthy growth, with revenues up 6.7% per annum from 2011-2015. The days of easy growth, however, could soon end. Consumer markets are becoming saturated and operators face increased regulatory and competitive pressures. Fortunately, telecom operators do have significant opportunities as enterprises’ sophistication and service expectations are changing, creating demand for digital services.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s principal Sevag Papazian and director of the Ideation Center Rawia Abdelsamad explain that the fiscal crunch precipitated by weak oil prices has prompted severe expenditure cuts by governments across the Gulf Cooperation council (GCC): Unfortunately, such conventional cost-cutting will not solve the budgetary woes of GCC member states. The problem is that even if oil prices hovered around $50 (Dh183.65) a barrel and GCC governments could grow non-oil revenues by 10 per cent annually for the rest of this decade, they would still need to reduce spending by around $100 billion a year (7 per cent of GCC GDP) to achieve a fiscal balance.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy&’s principal Paul Leinwand and retired CEO Cesare Mainardi, these problems are not caused simply by external forces. They are the outcome of the way most companies are managed. There is a significant and unnecessary gap between strategy and execution: a lack of connection between where the enterprise aims to go and what it can accomplish. We have met many leaders who understand this problem, but very few who know how to overcome it. In another global study, this time of more than 700 senior executives, only 8 percent said the top leaders of their enterprises excelled at both strategy and execution.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Bahjat El-Darwiche, partner with Strategy&, writes that there are three key areas in the region that needed to work more effectively to connect the unconnected population of 200 million. These include the connectivity market which provides affordable and reliable access, the content market which creates relevant and compelling content for people to go online, and the retail market which is the Internet industry’s sales and service arm and which helps people to discover the Internet.”

 

Distribution market: Global

Strategy&’s report on behalf of Facebook "Connecting the world: Ten mechanisms for global inclusion" concludes that 500 million people could escape poverty by being connected online. Connecting the majority of the world would also benefit the global economy by over $6 trillion, according to the study, and provide a $400 billion growth opportunity for telecom operators. Currently, 4.1 billion people are disconnected from the modern economy.

 

Distribution market: Global

According to Strategy&’s report on behalf of Facebook "Connecting the world: Ten mechanisms for global inclusion", bringing the internet to the 4 billion people not currently online would add $6.7 trillion to the global economy and lift 500 million people out of poverty, new research has found. The report, prepared for Facebook by PwC’s strategy consultants Strategy&, looks at mechanisms for encouraging global inclusion and connecting the world through the internet. With access to the internet being declared a basic human right by the United Nations, the importance of connecting the 55% of the world’s population who are offline is a truly global issue.”

 

Saudi Arabia’s CEO turnovers highest: study
Distribution market: Saudi Arabia

Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson explains that hiring an executive from outside a company to serve as chief executive officer used to be seen as a last resort. That is not the case anymore with the disruptive market-related changes that companies are facing today. While an internal CEO candidate may have an excellent record of achieving the business goals the company has pursued in the past, boards are recognizing that this candidate may lack the skills needed to lead the company through the changes necessary to win in the future.”

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

 “I think the Kingdom is in strong need to privatize its health sector because the cost of the health care system is increasing and it will continue to increase because of disease burden and medical inflation. It will reach a stage where it will become unsustainable to fund the health care system and that is why the private sector participation will be very important to curb the costs of the government,” writes Strategy&’s partner Gabriel Chahine.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partners Alessandro Borgogna and Fadi Majdalani, and principal Marwan Bejjani write that over the past decade, GCC construction companies have expanded quickly thanks to considerable investment by the region’s governments. Companies grew fast without enough control of costs and labour, nor did they develop the right skills and capabilities. Today’s environment is radically different, which means that construction companies must change how they operate to succeed in a more difficult market.”

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Bahjat El-Darwiche and manager Jad El Mir, along with Rawia Abdel Samad, director of the Ideation Center, explain that in the space of the last 20 years internet penetration has increased from 1 per cent of the world’s population to about 40 per cent today. In the Middle East alone, more than half of the population now has online access, with the figure in the GCC at 75 per cent. This impression expansion of internet use and its ability to create jobs and stimulate economic growth is particularly important for the GCC, which is seeking sustainable growth despite low oil prices.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partners Walid Tohme and Haroon Sheikh, principal Ashish Labroo, and manager Anna Germanos write that too many large organizations in the GCC are missing a significant business opportunity. At a time of increasing costs pressure, rising competition and a volatile economic environment, these organizations – such as family conglomerates, multi-business unit corporations, investment portfolio companies or government entities with multiple departments – have yet to exploit the potential of group-wide collaborative sourcing.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy&’s partner Daniel Diemers, across the world women hold a significant share of private wealth and the Middle East is no exception. Estimates suggest women control more than a fifth, or 27 per cent, of the world’s wealth and between 20 and 25 per cent of the approximate $2.2 trillion (Dh8.08 trillion) high-net-worth assets across the GCC.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

 “PwC and Strategy& plan to open a Digital Experience Centre in Dubai, to provide digital-centric services to clients in the region. The Digital Experience Centre will open in mid-2016 and will occupy an entire floor of Emaar Square offices. The digital and physical environment will feature a state-of-the-art immersion lab and collaboration spaces, engineered for PwC and clients to reimagine their customer’s experience, their businesses and co-create a plan to get there.”

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Daniel Diemers writes that although the market opportunity is clear, banks have not always found it easy to get it right. This segment is often demanding and price-sensitive. Customers also tend to be sophisticated investors, who require plenty of advice and explanation. But if the banks can put together an attractive offering, then there are plenty of potential gains.

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson writes that the UAE’s gross domestic electricity consumption has more than doubled over the past 10 years, and is expected to grow even more rapidly over the next five years as the country undergoes substantial growth.  A recent forum organized by the Energy Working Group of the UAE-UK Business Council and facilitated by Strategy&, highlighted three key aspects of energy efficiency which comprise of smart cities, building efficiency and water usage.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy&’s partners George Chehade and George Sarraf, and manager Yahya Anouti, the deregulation of transport fuel prices in the United Arab Emirates as of August 1 is important and timely. The initiative will move the country toward a more sustainable path of development, a goal shared by other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner and Middle East managing director Richard Shediac explains in an interview that we want to be known as the ‘capabilities firm’. For example, if the client is a bank that wants to enhance its SME business, we might focus on their capability in credit scoring. That’s a key function that will be essential to them in assessing SME lending, and therefore they have to be good at it.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Samer Bohsali, principal Abdulkader Lamaa, and user experience designer Krystal Kougioumtzi,  write that digital natives – people who have grown up with the internet and have known only the digital era – now form the largest target audience for most businesses. As a result, the most far-sighted companies will develop products and services with the specific needs and wants of digital natives in mind, not least their tendency to buy lifestyles, not just products.”

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy&’s partner Per-Ola Karlsson, Middle East companies are showing the same positive development we have seen across the world with substantially more CEO turnovers being planned and this past year was a record with 83 per cent of all turnovers being planned. We do see that company boards are making succession planning a clearly greater priority than in the past.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Milind Singh, principal with Strategy&, writes that the UAE has achieved improved footing in seven of the ten sub-indices contributing to NRI rankings. However, the UAE needs to continue on this positive trajectory to climb the ranks and lead among global ICT players.

 

Distribution market: Lebanon

Strategy&’s partner Joe Saddi explains in an interview that the main challenge that we face is finding the right talent. We have a very high hiring bar because our clients expect the best. We want to hire people who are part of the social fabric and understand the local culture. Clients are no longer content with just consulting services. They also want someone to walk them through implementation. So we had to make a choice: Do we build those skills internally or do we partner with someone who already had them?

 

Distribution market: Pan Arab

According to Strategy&’s senior partner Joe Saddi, partner George Sarraf, and principal James Thomas, one of the greatest challenges facing the Middle East is also one of the most underappreciated: how to attract and retain human capital. This is a real impediment to the strategic plans of some Middle East countries, particularly those in the GCC. They are making the transition away from resource based economies to knowledge based industries, and those industries rely mainly on human capital.

 

Middle East and Africa Telecom Operators Must Digitize to Monetize
Distribution market: Pan Arab

Bassam Hajhamad, principal with Strategy&, writes that like telecom companies around the world, operators in the Middle East and Africa are in a bind. Thanks to digitization—the rapid adoption of connected digital technologies and applications by consumers, enterprises, and governments—there is unprecedented growth in the data travelling across their broadband and wireless networks. Operators have helped make high-speed connectivity broadly available.

 

Saudi Arabia & UAE Control 74 percent of GCC’s Private Wealth
Distribution market: Saudi Arabia

Strategy&’s partner Daniel Diemers and senior associate Jihad Khalil write that the study estimates that at present, there are between 1.5 million and 1.6 million wealthy households in the GCC with total investable assets of around $2.2 trillion. Most of the region’s private wealth resides in Saudi Arabia (44 percent), but the UAE has made notable gains with its share of GCC’s private wealth increasing from 24 percent to 30 percent from 2009 to 2013. Together, Saudi Arabia and the UAE control 74 percent of the region’s private wealth, up from 71 percent in 2009.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy&’s partners Fadi Majdalani and Ramy Sfeir, and senior associate Patrick Nader, women should be encouraged to contribute much more to family businesses, new research asserts. The stakes are high: family firms are GCC economic powerhouses. The story of GCC business development outside oil is mostly one of family businesses. Family-owned companies contribute as much as 80 per cent of the GCC’s non-oil GDP.

 

Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

According to Strategy&’s partner Ramy Sfeir, governments’ support of women’s employment is critical and has had a positive impact on promoting a more active role for women in their family businesses.

 

Challenges ahead for GCC MICE market
Distribution market: United Arab Emirates

Strategy&’s partner Richard Shediac writes that despite the potential of the meetings market, most emerging economies have not developed a good understanding of this part of the tourism industry, nor do they have a well-considered strategy for getting a larger share of the pie.

 

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