Cybersecurity Risks

Kaspersky Examines How to Eliminate the Cybersecurity Risks When Buying a Business

Cybersecurity Risks

With the global business landscape becoming increasingly interconnected, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have been surging as companies look for growth, diversification, and strategic positioning. According to an E&Y report, in the Middle East region there was a 42% increase in the total value of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Overall, the first quarter of the year saw 165 deals amounting to US$25.8b. This emphasizes the region’s prominence in global business. However, Kaspersky experts warn that such an upswing in M&A also underscores the need for vigilant cybersecurity practices.

Acquiring or merging with another business invariably means integrating digital systems, networks, and data. This integration process can expose both parties to cyber threats if not managed correctly.

Alexey Vovk, Head of Information Security Department at Kaspersky, cautions: “Acquiring an already established business can be an attractive option for example for entrepreneurs, given its potential for quick profitability, or similarly for large corporations that want to acquire innovative assets or intelligence that can expand their business. But over and above traditional legal, financial and governance due diligence during such a process, cybersecurity must be a focal point too.”

Some of the cybersecurity assessments that should be considered at a minimum, before buying a new business, include:

  • Existing cybersecurity measures: Investigate any past cybersecurity audits the company may have undertaken, even if they are self-conducted.
  • Valuable assets: Identify the most valuable digital assets of the business. For an e-commerce platform, this might be the website, so a thorough vulnerability check is essential.
  • Hosting and data management: Inquire about the company’s Web hosting provider and their reputation. Past security incidents might necessitate a change in hosting.
  • Security standards: Depending on the nature of the business, there might be specific cybersecurity standards to adhere to. Even businesses without critical assets should have baseline security to thwart common threats like ransomware.
  • Company reputation and data breaches: Research past data breaches and the subsequent remediation steps. Data leaks can tarnish a company’s reputation and invite legal repercussions.

However, Vovk goes on to caution that even beyond all the aforementioned sound advice, employee errors are also a concern and that can lead to significant data breaches. This is demonstrated in recent Kaspersky research carried out among employees in the Middle East, Turkiye and Africa region. A test with a phishing simulator built into the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform (KASAP) showed that 20% of employees would click on a malicious link, falling for scam emails with claimed corporate announcements.

“When buying a business, the acquiring organisation must consider any previous cybersecurity training conducted for staff as well as non-disclosure agreements when it comes to employees and third parties handling sensitive data. Fundamentally, proper access controls for company resources must be implemented within the new entity to ensure data access is limited and revoked appropriately when employees depart,” says Vovk.

Additionally, it is also crucial to be familiar with laws pertaining to data protection and cybersecurity. This includes understanding the regional regulations and laws that outline the prescribed conditions for responsibly processing personal data.

“It must be stressed that when acquiring a company, you assume responsibility for its risks as well. Attaining and maintaining optimal business cyber resilience is an ongoing process. But, protecting yourself from new tricks by threat actors requires additional investments in digital business solutions, tools and skills, setting the rules that comply with the law, and reviewing cybersecurity policies and new protections. Checking your cybersecurity level from the very beginning will help you reduce the likelihood of incidents, set a clear path for development, and achieve new goals,” concludes Vovk.


54% of Middle East Respondents Express Concerns About Meeting Medical Needs, Reveals Cigna Healthcare Survey

  • 5% Pledge aims to tackle employee concerns and achieve overall individual and business well-being.

Global economic shifts driven by pandemics, food shortages, and inflation have led to unprecedented uncertainty for businesses and their employees. To gain a better understanding of the challenges confronting employers within this new landscape, Cigna Healthcare, the leading global health services company, conducted a comprehensive survey involving nearly 9,000 individuals worldwide, including 1,100 participants each from the UAE and KSA. The survey aimed to uncover their concerns, assess their current health status, and gain insights into the support needed to promote healthier lives in these challenging times.


Economic Challenges and a Looming Health Crisis

The survey revealed that rising inflation and the escalating cost of living stand as major concerns for individuals globally, with 25% of respondents in the Middle East identifying the inflation crisis as their primary concern. Rising bills and sluggish economies are leading to heightened uncertainty, causing stress levels to mount and mental and physical health to decline. Regionally, 72% of respondents felt that these rising costs were making it challenging to maintain good health, and 54% expressed uncertainty in their ability to meet their own or their family’s medical needs.


Workplace Well-being Requires More Attention

Dr. Dawn Soo, Cigna Healthcare’s Regional Medical Officer for the Middle East and Asia, stressed the need for employers to provide holistic healthcare benefits, initiatives, and a supportive culture where employees can openly discuss challenges. The survey further highlighted the critical connection between employee mental and physical health and productivity, underscoring the necessity of prioritizing employees’ health security as a core ESG imperative.

Recognizing that poor employee mental health isn’t just detrimental to individuals but also impacts organizations’ financial health, Cigna Healthcare introduced the 5% Pledge, urging business leaders to invest 5% of their work time to enhance employee mental health and well-being.

Jerome Droesch, CEO of Domestic Health and Health Services, International Health, Cigna Healthcare, reflected on the survey’s findings: “The survey underscores the delicate balance individuals face in accessing essential healthcare. These figures underscore the critical need to address the affordability of medical services for our workforce.”

He added: “Recognizing the pivotal role of employee well-being in driving organizational success, Cigna Healthcare introduced the 5% Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment to empowering employees with the tools they need to navigate today’s challenges. By prioritizing mental well-being and creating a supportive workplace culture, we are fostering not only healthier employees but also a more resilient business.”


The Path Forward

As uncertainties continue to reshape the business landscape, the Cigna Healthcare 360 Global Well-being Survey highlights the urgency for companies to prioritize employee well-being. By dedicating resources to the health and mental well-being of their workforce, businesses can ensure their resilience and success in an ever-changing world.

panorama of grassland of south sudan

UN and South Sudan Join Forces to Boost Rural Development Through Producers’ Organizations and Access to Finance

panorama of grassland of south sudan

As South Sudan’s food security deteriorates due to localized conflict, displacement triggered by the Sudan crisis, and climate-related shocks like flooding, the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of South Sudan today signed a financial agreement for a seven-year, US$25.6 million project that aims to improve food security, increase income and generate resilience for rural households. The project is expected to reach 160,000 people, with a focus on women, youth, returnees and people with disability.

In collaboration with South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), the Rural Enterprises for Agriculture Development (READ) project will help develop 500 rural producers’ organizations, as well as policies and regulatory frameworks that promote good governance and accountability systems vis-à-vis their constituencies. READ will also facilitate overall access to rural finance.

“As the lead implementing agency, I’d like to express my profound commitment and capacity of the national Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to work hand-in-hand with IFAD and all other relevant stakeholders to ensure the success of this project and improve food and nutrition security for all people of South Sudan,” said Josephine Joseph Lagu, South Sudan’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security. 

©️IFAD – Alberto Trillo Barca

“There’s a recognition that the potential for rural sector in South Sudan is massive. The READ Project will lift the majority of our people out of poverty and will foster an entrepreneurial culture which will not only expand employment opportunities but also support economic recovery after this long conflict,” said Dier Tong Ngor, South Sudan’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.

IFAD will fund almost 80 per cent of project costs through a US$20 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). Additional co-financing will be provided by the Cooperative Bank of South Sudan (US$1.8 million), UNDP (US$1.5 million), the Government of South Sudan (US$ 1.4 million), and project participants (US$ 0.75 million).


Food security as precondition to achieve peace

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a record 9.4 million people — 76 per cent of the country’s population — are likely to require aid in 2023 as the country continues its march towards “freedom, equality, justice, peace, and prosperity,” as stated in the South Sudan Vision 2040.

“Providing viable livelihood opportunities to rural populations is an essential step toward peace and prosperity. This means supporting small-scale farmers and rural producers with access to loans, financial services and business skills, while at the same time ensuring they have the capacity to cope with ever-increasing climate shocks,” said Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD.

“As an implementing partner and the development agency for the READ Project, the UNDP is committed to the collaboration between the private sector, rural producers’ organizations, and rural financial institutions to facilitate access to financial services, to technology, and to markets. By strengthening the country’s economic recovery and diversification through agricultural value chain development, the READ project contributes to South Sudan’s peace, recovery and stabilization agenda by reinforcing the social fabric within communities and creating livelihood opportunities for the rural population, including returnees and internally displaced people,” said Dr. Samuel Doe, Resident Representative, UNDP South Sudan.

The project will be implemented between 2023 and 2029 in six states (Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Western Equatoria, and Yambio) in South Sudan with a “conflict-sensitive approach.”

IFAD has been engaged in South Sudan since its independence in 2011. Its investments boost food production and rural employment, increase resilience, help farmers adapt to climate change and strengthen human and institutional capacities. Working closely with the Government, IFAD has channelled US$77.26 million in investments to three rural development projects, reaching 76,800 rural households. South Sudan has recently doubled its pledge to replenish IFAD’s resources for the next three years, sending a strong message of support to IFAD and the donor community.

Global supply chain

Africa Can Become New Global Supply Chain Force: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Global supply chain

African economies should seize the opportunity to better integrate into technology-intensive global supply chains and boost prosperity, but this depends on their ability to harness key market and investment trends, the UN’s trade and development body UNCTAD said on Wednesday.

In a new reportUNCTAD shows that Africa can become a major exporter of higher value-added goods, creating growth and jobs, and fuelling a rise in productivity and wages.

Launching the report in Nairobi, UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan insisted it would offer a better future for the continent’s economies.

Diversifying trade “builds resilience and enhances innovation”, Ms. Grynspan said, adding that diversifaction was “key” for private sector development and employment opportunities for Africa’s growing population.


Africa’s competitive advantage

Ms. Grynspan highlighted three factors driving the “huge” opportunity for the continent. From a geopolitical point of view, countries and businesses are seeking to diversify their suppliers and thus reduce risk. Africa is well placed to tap into this trend, Ms. Grynspan said, which together with the African Continental Free Trade Area offers “great synergies” for participating in global supply chains. 

Africa also has a unique advantage amid the rise of the renewable energy market, as it is a vital source of raw materials for technology-intensive industries – for instance lithium, essential to the production of electric car batteries. It has the possibility to become a destination for manufacturing and should seek to export more complex finished goods rather than just commodities, Ms. Grynspan said. 

As for demographics, Africa boasts not only a dynamic, young workforce, but also a “burgeoning” middle class offering local consumer markets for hi-tech goods. 


‘Untapped potential’

The report analyses “untapped potential” for African countries to strengthen their position in the automobile, solar energy and pharmaceutical industries.

Encouragingly, Ms. Grynspan noted that Africa’s tech ecosystem growth has already proven impressive, as “hubs in artificial intelligence, 3D printing, blockchain, fintech [financial technology] and e-commerce are thriving” in countries such as Kenya, fostering innovation and strengthening Africa’s chance to capture technology-intensive global supply chains. 


Higher wages and resilience

Creating an environment conducive to technology-intensive industries will raise wages, the UNCTAD chief said, underscoring that the average wage on the continent is $220 per month while in the Americas, in comparison, it is nearly $670.

According to UNCTAD, deeper integration into global supply chains would also diversify African economies, boosting their resilience to future shocks.


Attract investment

However, for this to happen, more investment will be needed, Ms. Grynspan said. The report highlights the fact that currently, only about two per cent of global investments in renewable energy go to Africa.

Paul Akiwumi, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, said that in order to drive more large-scale private investment, regulatory barriers will have to be removed and regional industrial development plans put in place.

Mr. Akiwumi cited the example of a regional agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia, allowing for the creation of an industrial zone for the production of electric car batteries. He also highlighted the importance of product registration and intellectual property in order to attract investors. 


Urgent debt relief needed

Ms. Grynspan stressed that in order for Africa to be able to seize its competitive advantage, the continent’s economies need debt relief to create fiscal space so that countries can invest in strengthening supply chains and in education for their workforce.

She recalled that African countries pay four times more for borrowing than the United States and eight times more than European nations, as shown in UNCTAD’s recent “World of Debt” report.


‘Change the rules’

“This must change if Africa is to achieve its full economic potential and be a major actor in global supply chains,” the UNCTAD chief insisted, pledging the UN’s unwavering support to nations across the continent.

Ms. Grynspan highlighted UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ advocacy to “change the rules that reproduce these asymmetries” and fix the “distorted” perception of risk which international investors hold in relation to developing economies.

Professional worker control and checks stock inventory with digital tablet with containers in harbor warehouse global network

FuturMaster Empowers Digital Transformation in the Middle East and North Africa Region’s Supply Chain with DFYA, Accelerating the Realization of Vision 2030

Professional worker control and checks stock inventory with digital tablet with containers in harbor warehouse global network

FuturMaster, a market leader in Supply Chain Planning and Trade Promotion Management & Optimization (TPx) solutions, has entered into a strategic Value-Added Reseller (VAR) agreement with DFYA, an innovative player in supply chain management. This partnership aims to amplify digital transformation across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with DFYA selling and implementing FuturMaster’s advanced solutions.

This strategic agreement unites FuturMaster’s state-of-the-art solutions and industry expertise with DFYA’s advanced exobrain technology, enabling rapid reach in an essential and expanding marketplace. The partnership seeks to enhance supply chain decision-making capabilities and operational efficiency across the region, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It aims to facilitate their journey through expansive digital transformation.

Working in alignment with Vision 2030 – Saudi Arabia’s roadmap for digital and economic diversification – the FuturMaster and DFYA partnership will work to transform the region.  The partnership aims to enhance the non-oil sectors of the economy while supporting the region’s adaptation into a global hub connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa through the provision of innovative solutions. 

“FuturMaster has always been at the forefront of turning the complexity of supply chains into competitive advantages,” said Yacine Zeroual, EMEA General Manager at FuturMaster. “Our VAR agreement with DFYA solidifies our commitment to this mission, driving growth in the MENA region and equipping businesses with the advanced tools they need to excel within the framework of Vision 2030.”

Amine Benmesbah, Founding Partner at DFYA, shared the enthusiasm about this partnership. “Representing FuturMaster in the MENA region is a significant step towards a technologically advanced supply chain in this area. Together, we are bringing FuturMaster’s next-generation, AI-driven solutions to the market, catalyzing the ongoing digital transformation. We’re confident that this partnership will support the region in achieving the ambitious objectives outlined in Vision 2030, and we are proud to be part of this transformative future.”

Small tree that grows on a pile of money. Financial investment ideas

Africa Climate Summit 2023: Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World

Small tree that grows on a pile of money. Financial investment ideas

Registration is now open for the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) and the annual Africa Climate Week 2023, landmark events co-hosted by the Republic of Kenya, the African Union Commission, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) respectively.

Scheduled to take place from 4th to 6th September in Nairobi, the ACS will convene Heads of State and Government, policymakers, civil society organizations, the private sector, multilateral institutions, and youth representatives from across Africa and beyond to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change and foster collaboration for a sustainable future. Guided by the theme, ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World,’ Africa will, through ACS, seek to consolidate global climate action around climate financing and climate positive development, solidify her standpoint on climate change going forward, and use the Summit to showcase her immense climate action potential and attract new partnerships in green growth, especially in niche sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and critical minerals among others.

“We are deeply honored as Kenya to have been picked by the African Union and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to host both the first-ever Africa Climate Summit and the 2023 annual Africa Climate Week. We acknowledge the huge task entrusted to us and assure our co-hosts, the African Union Commission and UNFCCC, and the entire world of a successful twin event from September 4th to 8th here in Nairobi. As Kenya, we have a strong legacy of catalyzing global climate action and are glad that we are shepherded through the organization of the Africa Climate Summit and the Africa Climate Week by our President, H.E Dr William Ruto, who is also the current Chairperson of the Committee of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC),” said Hon Soipan Tuya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.

She added: “The Africa Climate Summit provides a platform for the African continent to consolidate its climate action potential and standpoint, take lessons from the rest of the world and collectively shape climate finance solutions that empower the continent and inspire the world. Kenya will play its part in ensuring that the objectives of the Africa Climate Summit as established by the African Union are met.”

“The summit will provide a platform for policymakers and private sector players to discuss and develop climate finance solutions for African economies,” said Mr Joseph Ng’ang’a, Africa Climate Summit CEO. “As LMIC countries, we are committed to pursuing a holistic approach that intertwines economic growth, climate action, global cooperation, and inclusive development. We embrace a Green Growth Agenda, taking a global cost curve view, securing advance purchase commitments, accelerating investment for resilience, and ensuring just transitions. We are playing our part to solve the global crisis and forge a sustainable future for all,” Mr Ng’ang’a added.

Climate change is undeniably one of the most pressing global challenges of our time. According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global temperatures have risen by approximately 1 degree Celsius since 1900. The consequences of inaction are dire, with devastating impacts on ecosystems, public health, and economies worldwide.

Acknowledging the vital role of youth in shaping our collective future, the Africa Climate Summit 2023 places a strong focus on amplifying youth voices. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that approximately 63% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, presenting a valuable opportunity to harness their passion, innovation, and determination for sustainable progress. The Summit, therefore, aims at empowering the youth as key stakeholders in climate action, providing a platform for them to showcase their perspectives and contribute to shaping an inclusive and sustainable future.

To achieve transformational change, it is crucial to adopt a new narrative that transcends traditional boundaries and fosters collaboration. The Africa Climate Summit seeks to challenge the outdated North versus South debate by emphasizing the interconnectedness of global challenges and the importance of shared responsibility. This new narrative not only promotes dialogue among stakeholders but also highlights the potential for collaborative solutions that leverage the strengths and resources of all regions.

The Africa Climate Summit’s agenda will include key topics such as “Redesigning Climate Finance, Trade, and Investment for the Global South,” “The Investment Opportunity for Food Sovereignty in Africa,” and “Accelerating Climate Resilient Water Investments in Africa.” Participants can expect dynamic discussions, knowledge sharing, and opportunities to showcase climate action initiatives and best practices.

By signing up for the Africa Climate Summit, individuals and organizations will be able to contribute to a new narrative of collaboration, resource pooling, and transformative change that will shape the continent’s collective future in climate action. Register now for the Africa Climate Summit and/or the Africa Climate Week at to be part of the movement to confront climate change head-on and build a sustainable future together.

people sitting and listening in a conference

RAKEZ Hosts Insightful Session for its Business Community on Exploring the Digital Landscape

people sitting and listening in a conference

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) successfully concluded its latest B2B community event, ‘Navigating Digital Landscape’ aimed at equipping SMEs and startups with an understanding of the basic principles of online marketing. The event drew an audience of close to 100 entrepreneurs operating across varied sectors.

The session offered an informative and interactive platform for attendees to discuss balancing inbound and outbound marketing initiatives and how to prevent marketing budget wastage. Experts from different areas of the digital spectrum, including branding, website, and digital transformation, imparted valuable insights and tips for saving time, effort, and money when planning digital campaigns and maximising market awareness for new businesses.

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said, “For new entrepreneurs who are just venturing out, the task of getting noticed, identifying target clients, and establishing successful access to them, may come with a matrix of challenges. These could span from budgetary concerns to the scarcity of databases and other valuable resources like content producers, designers and marketing wizards. Our role as a nurturing hub for SMEs is to bridge that gap, enabling them to effectively tap into the right tools and navigate the digital world successfully. The objective of our latest session was to provide our community members with a better understanding of the digital landscape through open conversations with seasoned experts.”

The attendees also discussed when to start focusing on digital, what the next big digital trend could be, what makes a good digital campaign, and the biggest mistakes businesses make with their digital strategy. The specialists addressed questions related to the optimum time for a business to start optimising its digital presence and resources to bolster its online standing.

Some entrepreneurs regularly attend the RAKEZ community events to learn from experts and implement key takeaways into their businesses. Founder and Managing Director of Adventurous Camel Tamar Smulowicz, said “We have been to several of these events since the past year and found them to be really helpful for our new business. As a company targeting markets outside the UAE, we are struggling with reaching audiences, reeling them in and converting them into buyers. I am happy the panel highlighted the importance of having a strong foundation based on content and the integration of artificial intelligence. Now I’ll start focusing on all social media platforms equally and not wait to launch our website until it’s 100% perfect as long as it’s SEO-friendly.”

Similarly, CEO of Craftspot Designs Shijin Abdul Latheef also shared his concerns and plan of action, “As a B2B company and we are finding it tough to generate business-appropriate content strategy for social media platforms. The panel covered useful areas such as UX, digital marketing and AI, but my main learning from this session is to adopt a customer-first approach before delivering the products, services, content, etc.”

Meanwhile, Director of Human Resources at Valsense Tina Chaaba, shared that she found potential connections at the event to give a facelift to her company website. “Talking from a recruitment perspective, it is highly important to have a website that truly showcases your company’s values and all that it stands for to attract good talent. The discussion with experts has made me more open to embracing the latest technologies such as AI to strengthen our output.”

The community events reaffirm RAKEZ’s unwavering commitment to nurturing a robust and supportive ecosystem for companies, armed with the essential tools and know-how to thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape. The economic zone will continue hosting an array of similar enriching events, boosting the development of a thriving and well-informed business community headed into an exciting digital future.

Green glass globe, earth ball with green leaves and morning sunlight - sustainable environment and ecology

SANY: Demonstrating Their Commitment to Sustainability in Africa

Green glass globe, earth ball with green leaves and morning sunlight - sustainable environment and ecology

The third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo was held in Changsha from June 29th to July 2nd, where 53 African countries, 12 international organizations, and over 1500 exhibitors gathered, driving Sino-Africa economic and trade cooperation development. SANY Group exhibited 14 flagship products, including those from concrete, road, and port machinery categories at the Expo.

At the Expo, Xiang Wenbo, the rotating Chairman of SANY, delivered a speech as the sole Chinese business representative. He highlighted the long-standing history of Sino-Africa friendship and the highly complementary economic patterns of the two regions, bringing enormous cooperation potential.

Sino-Africa relations are currently at their strongest in history as the all-around and multilevel cooperation framework has gradually taken shape. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. In 2021, Sino-Africa trade reached a record high of USD 254.289 billion, up 35.3% year on year. The infrastructure collaboration between the two sides continues to be strong, with Chinese enterprises having invested in the construction of thousands of bridges and hundreds of ports across the continent.

In cooperation with China, Africa has extended its backbone network to 150,000 kilometers and its network service to nearly 700 million users, accelerating its industrialization and modernization. In terms of social development, China has trained more than 160,000 African professionals in various fields by inviting African students to study in China. Besides, China has also shared its agricultural solutions with Africa, promoting the overall sustainable rural transformation of African countries.

At the same time, Africa’s huge economic potential offers a vast market for China. In 2002, SANY exported its graders to Morocco as the first group of construction machinery manufacturers entering the African market. Since then, SANY’s products have covered over 50 countries and regions across Africa, and participated in many major construction projects, including Adama’s Wind Power Project. In recent times, 102 of SANY’s wind turbines have become part of the Ethiopian landscape, continuously transmitting clean energy to Addis Ababa, the country’s capital.

The wind power industry plays a crucial role in promoting energy transformation and ensuring energy security under China’s “dual carbon” goal. SANY is dedicated to becoming a global leader in providing clean energy equipment and services, and is committed to developing wider and deeper cooperation with African countries to create a green and sustainable society.

RAKEZ Launches ‘Open Yards’ Tailored to Support Diverse Business Activities

In its commitment to facilitating business growth and diversification, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) launched ‘open yards’ as a part of its comprehensive facility offerings. Located in the mainland area of Al Ghail Industrial Zone, these units are readily available for businesses seeking expansive and versatile spaces for their operations.

With the introduction of these new open yards, investors are provided with the opportunity to operate across a spectrum of over 100 activities, duly approved by key government authorities including Civil Defence and the General Resources Authority (GRA).

Designed with a business-first perspective, the open yards come as 1,035 m2 levelled plots enclosed by boundary walls. Each yard includes a pre-built 35 m2 office, affording businesses the flexibility to customise their operational set-up. In addition, each open yard is connected to utilities such as electricity, CCTV cameras and fire-fighting system.

Located strategically close to Etihad Rail and a mere 5 minutes away from the main highway, the open yards offer businesses excellent connectivity to neighbouring emirates. These facilities support quick operational set-up with minimal capital expenditure and offer the flexibility to modify the facility according to business needs.

These open yards are optimally designed to support a wide range of industries. They provide an ideal solution for trading companies that require ample space for the storage of large cargo, including heavy machinery, construction materials, equipment, and automobiles. The open layout allows for efficient inventory management and accessibility, significantly improving operational workflows.

In addition, the open yards are a practical choice for businesses engaged in activities that require outdoor assembly. These spaces are adaptable to a variety of assembly configurations, offering ample room for workers and equipment to operate freely, enhancing productivity and safety.

Furthermore, the units cater to the needs of automotive repair workshops. They provide enough space for vehicle storage and repair operations, making them a convenient and versatile choice for businesses in the automotive industry.

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad commented on this development, “At RAKEZ, we remain committed to fostering a conducive environment that adapts to the evolving needs of businesses. The introduction of these open yards is a testament to our mission. We understand the necessity for spaces that offer adaptability, flexibility and the capacity to handle a multitude of operations across various sectors. Our new open yards have been specifically designed with this understanding in mind. We believe that these unique provisions will significantly improve operational workflows, enhance productivity and encourage growth within our business community.”

“Our focus has always been on offering our investors more than just a place to operate. We provide them a comprehensive ecosystem conducive to their success. The introduction of the open yards aligns perfectly with this philosophy, offering unmatched flexibility and a host of pre-installed features, tailored to support and facilitate business operations in an efficient way,” Jallad added.

For further information on RAKEZ‘s open yards or to secure one for your business, please visit

Vegetable farmer and customer investor dealing for business trading

RAKEZ Signs MoU with ICFA to Foster Trade and Innovation in Food and Agriculture Sectors

Vegetable farmer and customer investor dealing for business trading

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) and the Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering mutual growth and development within the food and agriculture sectors of the UAE and India.

The MoU was signed by Group CEO of RAKEZ Ramy Jallad and ICFA Chairman Dr MJ Khan, adding yet another area of strategic collaboration between the two countries. This alliance seeks to create opportunities for knowledge exchange, trade promotion, investment, and research and development collaboration.

Jallad said, “This MoU signifies our commitment to strengthening our relationships with key international organisations such as ICFA and recognises the role India plays as a strategic trade and investment partner for the UAE. As one of the UAE’s largest trading partners, India brings a wealth of innovation and expertise in the food and agriculture sectors, particularly in sustainable farming and food processing technologies. We are excited about the potential knowledge exchange and capacity-building opportunities that this strategic collaboration brings. It will enable the tech and agricultural companies in our business community to enhance their methods and share innovative, sustainable farming techniques with major Indian companies.”

Khan said, “This collaboration marks a pivotal moment in ICFA’s history. Our joint efforts with RAKEZ will pave the way for Indian agri-businesses to broaden their horizons and explore lucrative business opportunities in the MENA region through Ras Al Khaimah. Moreover, the proposed joint research and development projects will stimulate agricultural innovation and contribute significantly to the sector’s advancement in both India and the UAE.”

The agreement is set to facilitate promotional activities for trade, market access, and business matchmaking opportunities between the Indian food and agriculture companies and businesses in the RAKEZ ecosystem. Through this collaboration, both RAKEZ and ICFA will actively identify and promote investment opportunities for Indian businesses within the economic zone, providing an attractive gateway to the Middle East for Indian enterprises.

The MoU also envisions the fostering of research and development collaborations between Indian and RAKEZ-based institutions. This initiative will primarily focus on advancing agricultural innovation, crop improvement, sustainable farming practices, and food processing technologies.

Both organisations are positive that this business relationship will stimulate economic growth and foster innovation within the food and agriculture sectors in India and the UAE.

CA Harikishan Rankawat, President of the Federation of Indian Industry (Dubai Chapter) and Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (Dubai Chapter), said, “We are keen on supporting this collaboration between RAKEZ and ICFA to promote the trade and investments between the UAE and India. Our team is already dedicated to bringing a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to the table, leveraging our relationship with various industries in India and the UAE.”

This MoU reinforces the strength of UAE-India relations which have been further elevated by the recent Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). With RAKEZ being home to more than 4,000 Indian companies, including global giants like Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and Dabur, this collaboration with ICFA promises to further boost Indian presence and investment in the UAE. The agreement is another milestone in the already robust bilateral relationship between the two nations, amplifying the investment potential for Indian businesses in the UAE, and enhancing UAE’s status as a preferred business hub for Indian enterprises.

men holding a certificate and holding hands for photo
People on conference

Africa Energy Conference Held in Africa for the First Time

People on conference

With a long-standing record, the aef brings together key stakeholders to discuss, debate, and shape the future of the continent’s power industry

The Africa Energy Forum (aef) kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya its first time in Africa as part of its 25th anniversary celebration at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). The forum which was organized by EnergyNet ( officially endorsed by Kenya’s President H.E. Dr. William Ruto will run from June 20th to 23rd 2023.

The aef, widely recognized as the premier gathering of decision-makers in African energy, has been instrumental in forming partnerships, identifying opportunities, and driving the industry forward over the past 24 years.

“Kenya’s experience of energy sector potential, policies, investment opportunities and projects exemplify the huge possibilities within the African energy and climate action complex. Decades ago, Kenya boldly invested in the development of its renewable energy potential at a time when it was not fashionable to do so,” said President Ruto.

“The decision has paid off: Renewable sources form 73 % of our installed electricity generation capacity, accounting for over 90 % of electricity generated and distributed in the country,” he added.

Simon Gosling, MD of EnergyNet Ltd, said, “We are thrilled to bring the Africa Energy Forum to mainland Africa for the first time, marking this special 25th anniversary. This edition will provide an unparalleled platform for stakeholders to connect, collaborate, and drive the continent’s energy agenda forward.”

As it enters its 25th edition, the aef promises to deliver an extraordinary experience for participants, fostering dialogue and promoting collaboration among governments, regulators, utilities, development finance institutions, commercial banks, power developers, technology providers, EPCs, and professional services. KenGen, Kenya’s largest power producer, is the host of this year’s event.

Under the theme “Africa for Africa”, this year’s agenda will prioritise strategic areas such as mining, hydrogen, connectivity, and the “Just Transition”, to advancing projects, partnerships, and business development in the energy sector. Adam Cortese, CEO of Sun Africa said, “We are at the forefront of clean energy in Africa. With our unmatched technical expertise, supply chain capabilities, best-in-class EPC partners, and access to capital, we deliver clean energy solutions with market-leading costs and efficiency, from utility-scale installations all the way down to microgrids.”

“Clean energy is at the core of Sun Africa’s commercial strategy. We deliver clean energy solutions to our partners by providing our partners with vast technical expertise, best in class EPC partners and access to capital. Our solutions have market leading costs and efficiency, including utility scale installations and microgrids,” he added.

Best known for organizing the aef, EnergyNet has established itself as the premier business development meeting place for senior-level decision-makers in Africa’s power sector. With a long-standing record, the aef brings together key stakeholders to discuss, debate, and shape the future of the continent’s power industry.

Running alongside aef, the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) will return for its second edition, dedicated to empowering and equipping the next generation of African energy leaders. YES! will gather over 1,000 participants, including early career professionals, entrepreneurs, students, and educators, to enhance their skills, connections, and business readiness to accelerate access to reliable energy across the continent. Through partnerships with various universities across Africa, YES! aims to engage students and educators in dialogue, better-preparing graduates for today’s fast-moving workforce. This year, with the support of key partnerships spanning corporates, foundations, NGOs, universities, and sector initiatives, YES! can showcase its credentials alongside aef on home soil.

A noteworthy addition to this year’s event is the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), joining as the event’s first foundational partner. Comprising philanthropists, local entrepreneurs, governments, technology enablers, policymakers, and finance partners, GEAPP aims to support developing countries’ shift to a clean energy, pro-growth model that ensures universal energy access and economic development.

Attendees at the aef will have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and decision-makers from across the continent and around the world. They can participate in high-level panel discussions, interactive workshops, and talks covering a wide range of themes and issues, including the expansion of renewables in Africa, overcoming barriers to energy transition in the mining sectors, and Africa’s potential to become a global hydrogen powerhouse.

Africa Energy Forum will cover a range of exciting themes and topics vital to the African energy sector. With engaging panel discussions and insightful topics, attendees can expect a packed agenda filled with knowledge sharing and valuable insights for the African energy sector.

The increasing pace and scale of renewable energy projects in Africa and project pipelines will be explored, as well as the growing role of Africa’s gas resources in today’s geopolitical context. Discussions and talks will also focus on breaking down barriers to energy transition in the mining sector, the challenges and opportunities around capital flow and risk mitigation in today’s markets and financing the African ‘transition’.

This year’s event will also feature new streams that delve into two important topics: ‘Mining, Critical Minerals and Energy’ and ‘Hydrogen – Africa’s Opportunity’.

By bringing together industry leaders, experts, policymakers, and stakeholders, the aef facilitates the exchange of ideas, best practices, and innovative approaches to address the continent’s energy challenges. Through these engagements, the aef aims to catalyse the development of sustainable energy projects, technologies, and policies that will contribute to the continent’s energy transition and support its economic growth and social development.

Close up bookkeepers working with balance sheet to analyze problems and find solutions to bringing develop business organization and company's stock market system

African Development Bank, European Union, and France invest $300 million in Tanzania’s Hydropower Project

Close up bookkeepers working with balance sheet to analyze problems and find solutions to bringing develop business organization and company's stock market system

The government of Tanzania, the African Development Bank, and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed agreements for two development project loans worth $300 million. The funds will finance the construction of the 87.8-megawatt Kakono Hydropower Plant located in Kagera region in the northern part of Tanzania. The project also received a grant of EURO 36 million from the European Union.

Tanzania is dependent on hydropower and thermal power plants—mainly gas-fired—for its electricity supply. However, it has considerable untapped renewable energy potential to meet its rapid growth while taking a low-carbon path.

A coalition of development partners are financing the Kakono Hydropower Project, intended to increase renewable generation capacity and reduce hydrological risk via a dam located on a new watershed that is less affected by droughts. The signing ceremony took place on the 15th of March 2023 in Dar es Salaam.

The Kakono Hydropower Plant is the result of close collaboration between the African Development Bank, Agence francaise de developpement, and the European Union. These institutions are co-financing this project with a $ 161.47 million African Development Bank soft loan, a EURO 110 million soft loan from French Development Agency, and EURO 36 million grant from the European Union.

The Kakono Hydropower Project which will be implemented by Tanzania’s Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 216,065 metric tons per year, and comply with the best international environmental and social standards.

The project will serve 4 million people and increase the service coverage rate by around 7% of the population. It is expected to have a major impact on the economic development of this rapidly growing zone, which lies at the heart of the Great Lakes region. This project will boost industrialization and spur economic growth in Tanzania and the neighboring countries and will strengthen Tanzania’s leading position within the East African Community.

Alongside construction of the new hydropower plant, there will also be associated infrastructure built, including the upgrading of the existing Kyaka substation and a new 39-kilometer 220-kilovolt transmission line, and capacity building support for TANESCO.

Following the ceremony participants expressed their support for the project.

African Development Bank Country Manager for Tanzania Patricia Laverley observed that when completed, the Kakono Hydropower Plant would serve approximately four million people, small-medium enterprises, and mining companies in the northwestern part of the country.

She added: “The construction of the new power plant will help to improve TANESCO’s financial sustainability arising from the decommissioning of the diesel-based power plants in the Kagera Region.  The economic benefits derived from the supply of affordable power will be immense. We can expect to see marked improvement in the quality of life for people in the Kagera region and in Tanzania more broadly. These tremendous gains will contribute to building a more competitive economy in Tanzania, under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.”

Ambassador Nabil Hajlaoui said: “We have heard President Samia Suluhu’s message. She aims to generate 5 gigawatts of electricity by 2025. France is ready to be part of this journey by investing in power generation and transmission projects to meet the rapidly growing electricity demand, while reducing the carbon intensity of its energy mix.”

AFD Country Director Celine Robert noted: “We are delighted with the signing of this project, which is fully in line with international climate objectives and AFD’s strong commitments in that regard. This investment will have major impact on economic development and on population well-being as the infrastructure will answer the power needs of 3 to 4 million people. This signing represents an important milestone and confirms that the cooperation between Government and AFD is deepening.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).