MEA Q4 2021

Q4 2021 The Customer Loyalty and Engagement Experts Markets mea blu Loyalty™ is a company that specialises in offering end-to-end customer loyalty and customer engagement solutions to all types of businesses. By using its existing platform, it helps its clients’ reach and engage with their customers in amuchmore effective and engaging way. This in turn helps businesses working with blu Loyalty™ to grow at a higher-than-normal rate. That makes blu Loyalty™ an invaluable partner for any kind of business or enterprise. Below, award winning CEO, Tony Gougassian shares his own experience, as well as the excellent progression of his game-changing organisation.

2 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 Editor’s Note , Welcome to the Q4 edition of MEA Markets magazine. Each issue we are devoted to providing you with all of the latest news and features from across the world of business in the Middle East and Africa. Businesses from all over the Middle East and Africa are setting the pace their industries. This immense region is a lighthouse guiding many businesses to come. With fresh dynamics and highly sought after technology, here is a selection of businesses that truly shine. This year has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. There has been no plateau for the businesses involved in this issue and we look to them for much inspiration. In particular, our cover business has shown resilience, integrity, and respect all the way through form its inception to this very day. With an exceptional vision for the future, a sensational eye for detail, and an ambitious nature, BLU Analytics shapes the marketing agency world of today. It has quickly become recognised as BLU Loyalty takes off. With its bespoke digital platforms and high quality customer service there is no room for disappointment. Whilst we await the end of the global pandemic, I would like to leave you with a lasting comment from this year. No matter what, even if you feel completely disheartened, things will improve. Just as the sun rises every morning, we will see brighter days ahead that are filled with joy, success, and abundance. We hope all of you stay safe and have a wonderful end to the year. Sofi Bajor, Editor Website: AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility.

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 3 Contents , 4. News 6. The Customer Loyalty and Engagement Experts Blu Analytics DMCC 8. Best Hypnotherapist and Coach 2021 - Middle East Rapid Mind Redesign 12. Most Outstanding Financial Institution – Sierra Leone Rokel Commercial Bank 13. Best Social Media and PR Communications Agency 2021 – MEA McD Squared 14. Best AI-Powered B2B Marketplace (West Africa): BetaStore BetaStore by SimpleMarket Inc. 15. Most Innovative Integrated Marketing Agency – Greater Johannesburg Wetpaint 16. Best Engineering Consultancy - Ghana ADK CONSORTIUM LIMITED 17. Most Innovative Brand Strategy Consultancy 2021 Yellowwood 18. Best Independent Insurance Broker 2021 – South Africa Indwe Risk Services (Pty) Ltd

4 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 NEWS Dubai Investments to acquire shares of National General Insurance

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 5 NEWS Dubai Investments on Wednesday announced plans to acquire all, or part of the stake held by shareholders in National General Insurance Co. for an offer price of 3.12 dirhams ($0.85) for each NGI share. The Dubai Dubai-listed diversified company said the offer period to the shareholders of NGI will be open for 15 days starting from December 29, 2021, until January 19, 2022. It has dispatched the offer document to NGI shareholders, the company said in a disclosure to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). Dubai Investments owns a majority 45.18 percent stake in NGI, a multi-line insurance provider also listed on the DFM. Commercial Bank of Dubai has a 17.74 percent stake. With 149,954,112 issued shares, the offer values the company at 464.85 million dirhams ($127.46 million), according to Zawya calculations. Dubai Investments, which has a share capital of 4.25 billion dirhams, invests in real estate, industrial, financial, healthcare and education, among others. (Reporting by Brinda Darasha; editing by Cleofe Maceda) [email protected] Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here. By Brinda Darasha, ZAWYA Controlled, consistent approach key to growth of MENA hospitalitymarket A controlled and consistent approach will be key to MENA hospitality market improvement as markets start to build on recovery which began in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Colliers. In its Monthly Market Forecast for December 2021, the property services company forecasts growth in 2022 for all markets surveyed, with the exception of Beirut, Lebanon, where hotel occupancy is expected to fall by 10 percent. In the UAE, Expo 2020 is expected to have a positive impact going forward, and the emirates will benefit from “overspill demand” when the FIFA World Cup comes to Qatar in 2022. Hotel occupancy in the key tourist areas of Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence is forecast to be 80 percent in 2022, up 11 percent year on year, while Abu Dhabi Beach will see 61 percent occupancy, up 13 percent. Key Saudi markets such as Riyadh, Makkah and Jeddah will see their hotel occupancies up by 13 percent, 69 percent and eight percent respectively, as early indicators suggesting sustained demand for the Holy City, the report said. The return of the Russian market to Egypt is expected to support hotel occupancy, particularly in Red Sea destinations, the report continued, with occupancy in Cairo to increase by 24 percent to 71 percent, and 33 percent to reach 69 percent in Hurghada. (Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria) [email protected] Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here. By Staff Writer, ZAWYA Beirut is the only hospitality market in the region expected to experience a decrease in 2022 according, to Colliers' hotel forecast Dubai-listed firm offers shareholders $0.85 for each NGI share

6 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , The Customer Loyalty and Engagement Experts blu Loyalty™ is a company that specialises in offering end-to-end customer loyalty and customer engagement solutions to all types of businesses. By using its existing platform, it helps its clients’ reach and engagewith their customers in amuchmore effective and engagingway. This in turn helps businesses workingwith blu Loyalty™ to growat a higher-than-normal rate. Thatmakes blu Loyalty™ an invaluable partner for any kind of business or enterprise. Below, awardwinning CEO, Tony Gougassian shares his own experience, as well as the excellent progression of his gamechanging organisation. Recently, a plethora of organisations such as retail brands, major corporates, and banking organisations have increasingly begun to reward their customers. They all started off with a simple goal and vision in mind – that of success, recognition, and a reputation of being the best – and have now found a multitude of ways to connect with their audience as well as completely win them over. With loyalty schemes and programmes these organisations have been accelerating even quicker than before. But it isn’t so straightforward. Loyalty programmes need to be inclusive, exciting, and compelling in order for customers to want a slice of the pie. If the loyalty scheme can provide something that customers simply cannot achieve or gain without returning time and time again, the customer is twice as likely to return for another taste. With the world as it is today, customers come and go quicker than the rise and set of the scorching sun. Acquiring new customers is time consuming, costly, and sometimes disheartening. However, blu Loyalty™ has a knack for it – it has plenty of experience, years of dedication, and deep rooted intellect at the very base of all its endeavours. With regards to being a new business or enterprise, blu Loyalty™ wants to take the reigns and guide you so that you can experience its seasoned lessons and adopt them into the core of your organisation. With the financial climate being full of such pressure, start-ups can find it daunting and even scary when trying to locate their target audience, never mind gaining followers or customers that will stick around. But with blu Loyalty™ there’s something magic in the air – something that will enchant the consumer and make them feel truly special. With the programmes that blu Loyalty™ offers, organisations will find it easy to gain new customers, as well as keeping them coming back for the foreseeable future. These connections cannot be replaced and they certainly can’t be broken. By staying current and by understanding data on trends, purchasing habits, and demands, blu Loyalty™ stays on track and changes with the times – with a remarkable future in the industry. Based in Dubai, UAE, and founded in 2013, blu Loyalty™ is a fine example of a highly effective customer loyalty and customer engagement solutions supplier that provides an endto-end comprehensive range of loyalty programmes. Tony Gougassian, CEO of blu Loyalty™, gained much experience and expertise within the electronic payments industry. He has earned a respectable seat in the industry with his fine work in end-to-end customer engagement solutions and has become the backbone of the company. With experience working for Visa for 10 years, he built up a portfolio of aiding a large number of markets within the Gulf and Middle Eastern countries which fuelled his passion for loyalty-based market research and business-tocustomer connection. Tony had a deep vision of success that has led him on his path towards creating and leading blu Loyalty™. His tenacity and determination have resulted in a very bright future for this organisation as his first-hand knowledge propelled it from a small enterprise to the huge success that it is today. Tony learned that to be successful in gaining and retaining customers it is of utmost importance that the customer feels heard and rewarded for returning. Understanding that this is essential, blu Loyalty™ offers its services to all businesses looking to make it in their industries. With experience watching commercial banks offering rewards for their credit card programmes, Tony quickly realised that this can be used across the board. With these highly valuable elements, blu Loyalty™ attaches value to the organisations that it works with via its suggestion of points-based programmes and cashback systems. By using schemes such as these, customers become increasingly keener and more engaged with earning more points and cash back. Tony found that credit card companies that didn’t provide these kinds of rewards didn’t do as well in retaining their customerbase. In fact, they lost customers more regularly. These customers would eventually end up going with another credit card company or commercial bank because they were aware of the other rewards that were on offer elsewhere. blu Loyalty™ introduces ways to meet the needs of the consumer for card issuers large and small. Beginning with a simple ‘plug and play’ loyalty programme – a comprehensive and competitive Oct21673

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 7 The Customer Loyalty and Engagement Experts approach that would include technology applications such as a loyalty management system, customer loyalty portal, and customer loyalty mobile application alongside the loyalty value proposition – blu Loyalty™ introduces an avenue that leads towards long-lasting relationships and success for all. From the dawn of blu Loyalty™ – to this very day – there has been a huge paradigm shift for loyalty schemes across the modern corporate ecosystem. This ‘plug and play’ programme has not only become beneficial to credit card issuers, but it has become entirely relevant, advantageous, and valuable to all businesses who would like to understand and make use of insightful data throughout consumer trends. All in all, these loyalty programmes have become increasingly more popular and have become the primary tool in the new digital age – for customer data collection and consumer engagement solutions around the globe. Social media, digital communication, online marketing, and retailing have all led to the ability for businesses to gather invaluable insights into consumer trends and the desires of consumers. With access to this analytical data, businesses are more able to fine tune their products, plans and loyalty programmes to suit the consumer – leading to more returning customers and satisfied individuals. This is entirely crucial to the health and wellbeing of every business and blu Loyalty™ is well aware of this – which is exactly why it offers its services. By providing its clients with the means to attract and keep more customers, it has created an attractive and irresistible name for itself in the customer loyalty and engagement industry. Incomes, lifestyle, and behavioural consumer trends will always have an impact on purchasing habits as well as customer loyalty – blu Loyalty™ is no stranger to this fact. By helping businesses to gain more insight into purchasing habits and other analytics, it has the means to make a huge impact on its client. To this date, blu Loyalty™ works within nine markets across the Middle East and Africa. It has plans to expand globally in the near future. With its widening scope of services and programmes – including gamification, customer analytics and interaction, automated marketing and engagement tools – blu Loyalty™ has much to share with its clients so that they may flourish just as much as it has. By building such a sophisticated and intelligent global platform, blu Loyalty™ has truly embarked on a noble yet inspiring journey with no signs of slowing down. With its AI assistance – for data analytics – blu Loyalty™ has the greatest tool to truly understand the consumer. As it specialises in all things consumer related – such as loyalty programmes, customer engagement, and analytics – it is offering a service that will inevitably positively alter the trajectory of any business. Company: Blu Analytics DMCC Contact: Tony Gougassian Website:

8 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , Best Hypnotherapist and Coach 2021 - Middle East A company founded by leadingmind in her industry, Samira Alexander, RapidMind Redesign hasmade a name for itself with its consistent and impressive personal transformation. Able to ascertain results for every client across awide variety of topics, frommindfulness and personal health to sports-focused hypnotherapy, childwellness services, and professional transformation solutions, it has garnered attention fromawidemarket segment that has thrust it into the spotlight as an institute of internal examination and growth. Offering therapies that implement ‘rapid personal transformations’, Rapid Mind Redesign is a lifestyle restructuring coach that allows clients access to a brilliant new way to redesign their mind – and their life – turning it into something that best fits the scale of their ambitions. Led by Samira Alexander, a transformative specialist who works best on the conscious and subconscious level to help people suffering from anxious feelings, stress, or otherwise negative feelings about being stuck and stagnant in their lives. Fundamentally, her work with the people of all genders who walk through her door results in actionable solutions that these clients can take to better themselves and their lives, helping them to navigate fears, overcome blocks, manage low self-esteem, manage trauma, and implement measures to cope with stress-related illnesses. This, in essence, has brought her notoriety as a personable, friendly life coach who can aid her clientele through all manner of trials and tribulations. Her efforts allow clients to be catapulted into an empowered, purpose-driven, fulfilled life, characterised by the higher levels of self-love that come from completing a course of life transformation therapy with Samira, resulting in ‘vibrant wellness’; this covers high-performance energy, emotional resilience, bulletproof self-esteem, success and abundance, professional and personal growth, and more. By working in this manner, Samira wishes to show the modern professional the importance of work/life balance and of taking time for themselves. Therefore, Samira’s efforts are fundamentally collaborative. She works as much with her clients as for them, striving to create a bespoke programme that is totally specific to the individual person and the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis, resulting in a schedule and itinerary that perfectly fits their needs and requirements. In short, this all starts with identifying the root cause of a client’s issues. When this has been secured, Samira and the client can start to examine it all in more detail, painting a vision of the client’s current prevailing state of mind and livelihood, making clear to the client the areas that could use improvement by gently encouraging them to think about elements of their life they’re not totally happy with, and why that might be. From there, Samira and the client can begin to generate a blueprint; this blueprint will forge the action solution for a client, and take them along a stepby-step process to execution that will leave them feeling more confident and sure of themselves. The execution side of the process focuses in on the actionable elements of the plan and what proactive measures a client can take to put across the new, empowered version of themselves that they want to present to the world, using what they’ve learned during the Rapid EMPOWERED Success Programme that is part and parcel with Samira’s services. Rapid Transformational Therapy, or RTT, is also included in this process. Both of these elements of the therapies that Rapid Mind Redesign provides work on the conscious and subconscious level to ensure a fast-acting and permanent transformation solution to a client’s lack of confidence or negative mindset. Additionally, this allows them to adopt a healthier way of thinking when it comes to imagining their internal life and pondering their past, present, and future, fostering a higher level of emotional intelligence towards themselves and the people around them at every turn. Taking a ‘winner’s mindset’ approach to livelihood transformation means that a client can live life on their own terms without compromising. Declaring that they have a right to take up space and claiming that space in their world is a pivotal part of the growth process, after all – one that results in them becoming a ‘Mindset Master’ – a term that Rapid Mind Redesign uses for those who prevail on its programmes to ‘live free, vibrant, and abundant’. Currently, Rapid Mind Redesign boasts 9 million transformations across 9 cities in 9 years, and has made a name for itself with consistently outstanding efforts that its clients have lauded as a pleasure to work with every time, leaving glowing reviews and testimonials that allow it to continue the current growth spurt it as a company is enjoying. Able to grow naturalistically with its clients recommending it to family, friends, and peers, its services include all manner of different growth options. Encapsulated by its ‘career and business’ category, its efforts in this realm seek to ‘unleash the entrepreneur within’, achieving corporate success on an executive level for clients no matter what the industry or region they seek to break into. Crucially, this makes it possible for clients to adopt a ‘millionaire entrepreneur mindset’ before even reaching that level; it teaches its clients to act in a manner befitting their career path May21297

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 9 Best Hypnotherapist and Coach 2021 - Middle East

10 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , and set out a roadmap to further success that matches perfectly with their ambitions. This training, therefore, focuses on helping clients to learn the new skills they need to master in order to progress. Samira is aware of the steep learning curve that many job roles necessitate when taking on a promotion or angling for one, and so she wishes to help give clients the confidence to approach these tasks with self-assurance that even if they don’t crack it immediately, that every attempt makes them better and better until they succeed. The focus on corporate executive success also works to give clients a heightened sense of confidence when addressing large groups of people or managing an unfamiliar environment, taking charge of any feelings of anxiety in order to push through and prevail by way of proactive solutions. This all feeds into personal growth. However, due to that topic alone being such a big one, it has its own dedicated service, one that teaches the principles of deep and unapologetic self-love, accelerated learning, overcoming abuse and bullying, money management, and relationship counselling. Each of these elements can help a client to find a new perspective from which to view their life, and that with the help of Rapid Mind Redesign, they are better able to compartmentalise and cope with the situations around them, taking the steps that they and Samira work through together in order to improve said situations. Of course, Rapid Mind Redesign knows that this work is an incredibly difficult thing to try and grapple with for a client. One of the most difficult things to come to terms with is being faced with elements of your personal life that are unhealthy due to toxicity, especially when it comes to relationships with yourself and others, but this is what makes it such an important element of personal development. Restructuring, reframing, and recalibrating one’s social life can result in a higher sense of self-worth, a more thorough knowledge of personal goals and ambitions, and a better understanding of what a client needs to maintain a thriving and constructive personal life. When it comes to internal wellbeing, Rapid Mind Redesign can also help by providing its wellness services. Working with a client to rethink how they approach the health of their mind and body, Rapid Mind Redesign encourages a comprehensive and loving experience when it comes to the assertion of one’s own needs. Additionally, it offers clients the ability to undergo certain testing measures in order to find out what needs are present and how they might be mitigated to improve the client’s life going forward, such as allergy testing, emotional eating and weight management, addiction management, ADHD testing, anxiety and panic mitigation, autoimmune disease management, stress management, and unexplained infertility exploration. In this manner, it encourages clients to not be shy about exploring the ins and outs of their minds and bodies, getting to know themselves and what causes the individual needs and differences that necessitate them approaching their personal care from certain angles and perspectives. ‘Health is wealth’, Rapid Mind Redesign tells us, and it takes pride in being able to help clients find solutions for trying to lose weight when they’re finding it difficult for whatever reason, feelings of being bloated, cheaper testing procedures, and needle-less allergy testing that has aided many a client in undergoing the tests they must go through without the distress of triggering a phobia. As with each of these services, the work that Rapid Mind Redesign undergoes with a client will inherently feed back into itself and each individual solution will embolden the results of another. This is just a result of the body’s natural synergy, and its mind and body wellness leads nicely into the sport performance services it offers. Above all, this service in particular has been developed to aid athletes and aspiring athletes in reaching the fitness and wellbeing goals that they need to hit for certain sports, events, or milestones, using hypnotherapy principles in order to enhance sporting performance. Therefore, using hypnotherapy in order to be a therapeutic break for a client and to improve their performance in their chosen sport has become a practiced and popular solution within Rapid Mind Redesign. Specifically, it can help a client with their golf performance, for example, aiding them in improving their swing from the accuracy of it to the power and the mindset they go to when they take position; this solution is also helpful for tennis players and any athlete for whom hand-eye coordination and mental state is pivotal. This can help them in moving up to the next level in their chosen sport. Furthermore, Rapid Mind Redesign can help clients find swimwear fitness success. This element of its fitness services focuses on food and training in order to aid clients in reaching a monthly goal, allowing them to focus on the elements of training that matter and streamline the process to get rid of unhelpful exercises or nonconstructive eating habits. It can also work with a client to ‘find their groove’ in exercises such as running and long-form cardio, giving them tips, tricks, and actionable advice that will give them a sure-fire way to improve their timings, as well as to reduce the recovery time needed and prepare them for anything from half marathons to full marathons. It can also help clients that are struggling with childcare. Crucially, this solution brings together all its sensitivity and empathy in order to work with clients and their little ones, aiding them in building a healthier and stronger bond, and delving into the issues that a child might be facing so that a parent can better understand them. By operating in this manner, it has been able to help parents in

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 11 Best Hypnotherapist and Coach 2021 - Middle East handling children who struggle with nightmares and anxiety when sleeping away from their parent, as well as to help children who struggle with bedwetting and lack of confidence. Rapid Mind Redesign knows that loss of confidence amongst children can be caused by a number of different factors – including bullying – and it wishes to delve into the root of the issues, helping a child to discuss them with Samira and the parent or guardian so that steps can be taken to mitigate the problem. Company: Rapid Mind Redesign Contact: Samira Alexander Website:

12 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , Jun21704 Rokel Commercial Bank (RC Bank) was established in 1917 as Barclays Bank DCOwith 100% shares owned by the parent company. It is now the dominant bank in the marketplace providing about 10% of all banking business into the country, with customer-centricity, integrity, dedication and continuous improvement. Most Outstanding Financial Institution – Sierra Leone In 1971, the company was incorporated locally and renamed Barclays Bank of Sierra Leone Ltd with 25% shares owned by Sierra Leoneans to participate as owners and develop confidence in the bank. Basic banking services (i.e. savings and current accounts, foreign exchange, bills for collection, safe custody, etc.) were provided and branches were established across the country. The bank had a network of 16 branches in various areas of the country at the outbreak of the war in 1992. As a result of the intensification of the civil war, the network was reduced in quick succession, leading to one bank/ branch in April 1998. On 17th September 1999, Barclays Bank PLC, which was the majority shareholder at the time (60% shares), withdrew from its operations in Sierra Leone after extensive discussions with the country’s government. The bank after consultations with the government was renamed Rokel Commercial Bank (Sierra Leone) Ltd. Following a recent recapitalisation, the government now owns 65% shares and the remaining 35% is owned by private institutions, organisations and individuals. “Rokel” is the name of the longest river in Sierra Leone and flows into the Atlantic Ocean – This depicts the greatness of the bank as a gateway to banking in the country. The bank currently has a strong workforce of over 300 vibrant, committed and collaborative members of staff and is headed by the fourth Sierra Leonean Managing Director and CEO, Dr Walton Ekundayo Gilpin. It has a management team of 41 senior members of staff and a total of 21 branches/outlets. RC Bank’s clients comprise of individuals, corporate bodies, government institutions, and more, with a host of very large corporate organisations. It caters for the needs of vast clientele and also has a host of international NGOs, striving to provide unparalleled levels of service. Presently, RC Bank is faced with competition not only from the formal sector, but also the informal sector, as that’s where a lot of banking activities take place. It also has the telecoms institution that is offering mobile wallets. Major challenges are also evident in the low level of financial inclusion in Sierra Leone as only 20% of the bankable population owns a bank account. The average Sierra Leonean is yet to embrace banking and modern banking technologies. Moving forward, RC Bank has embarked on a Capital Intensive Project to make it a fully digital bank – It will be changing its age-old core banking system to a much more modern and robust banking platform which will be rolled out in the third quarter of the year and will place the bank on the right pedestal to stand out from its competitors. Company: Rokel Commercial Bank Contact: Millicent Cole Email: [email protected] Website:

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 13 , Jun21211 Launched in 2013, McD Squared is amarketing, communications and digital agency specialising in IT and telecommunications. It provides strategic communications, crisis communications, media relations, marketing advice, and social media communications services to local and multinational organisations that want to position themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields in the South African, broader African andMiddle East markets. Best Social Media and PR Communications Agency 2021 – MEA Owned and managed by Lizelle McDermott, the agency has provided communications services to a variety of local and multinational clients. Its strategic partnerships with other small specialist agencies, locally and in the Middle East enable it to provide different strategic, creative, and innovative communications across traditional, digital and social media platforms that are beyond the scope of traditional communications. McD Squared stands out from the rest in that it is small and agile, and works as an extension of its clients rather than an external agency. The company’s full-time headcount comprises of Lizelle and her partner in crime, Irene von Buddenbrock. They are very flexible and work with various other small agencies and specialists when extra manpower or more specialist skills are required for a specific project. Right from the outset, McD Squared has chosen to specialise in specific industries to allow it to build in-depth knowledge and as a result provide valuable communications services to its clients. Speaking about her team, Lizelle said, “People are often surprised when they hear we are such a small team. For us, it is all about teamwork and working closely with clients to drive success. As we celebrate turning eight as an agency this year, I have to say that Irene is an amazing partner in crime and without her as my rock and sounding board, we would not have come this far.” We asked Lizelle if her company has faced any specific industryrelated challenges recently. She said, “The industry is constantly evolving and so should agencies. We believe in ongoing learning and staying abreast of industry developments so that we can change with the times. Many agencies were hit hard by COVID-19 – We were blessed in that we managed to grow during that time. McD Squared has always operated as a virtual agency, which means we have always worked remotely, therefore local lockdowns had no impact on us and we could continue working as usual.” Lizelle and Irene are now looking towards big plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond. As with all businesses, they would like to continue their growth trajectory, while maintaining top service for clients as they always have. They will also continue to learn and adapt as the industry evolves – both their own industry as well as those that their clients operate in. Company: McD Squared Contact: Lizelle McDermott Email: [email protected] Website:

14 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , Jul21399 Connecting manufacturers to small retailers, BetaStore is an AI-powered B2B last-mile retail platform that helps small retailers source inventory and simplifies route-to-market for manufacturers. BetaStore’s mission is to improve the livelihoods and financial resilience of small retailers by leveraging technology and data to simplify access to goods and essential services. Focusing on quality and great customer experience, BetaStore prides itself on its transparent supply chain, ensuring that it provides a service that its customers can trust. Best AI-Powered B2B Marketplace (West Africa): BetaStore BetaStore is an AIpowered B2B lastmile retail platform that leverages technology and data to connect small retailers directly with manufacturers and financial providers. Providing three key services, BetaStore remains retail-centric, keeping its customers firmly at the center of operations. It offers a demand-driven supply, meaning retailers can order products at any time via AI-powered channels and promptly receive delivery to their stores. Manufacturers are able to leverage much needed granular market insights to make data-driven decisions to scale up their business. In addition, BetaStore supplies smart financing for business growth, which relies on fact-based data to grow small retail businesses. Each sector of the business runs based on BetaStore’s core values, from remaining frugal to being value-oriented, with the overarching aim to remain focused on small retailers. Studies have shown that in Africa approximately 90% of Retail has remained offline, and that the top-10 brands are unavailable at many outlets. Inspired by a lack of access to essential products, BetaStore connects retailers to manufacturers, which in turn reduces the cost of sourcing for retailers, and reduces high cost-to-serve for manufacturers. Furthermore, it provides efficient delivery and ensures products are available on demand, increasing small retailers’ business sales, customer acquisition, and profit margin. Providing such a service supports retailer’s sustainability, boosting their business activity, and accelerating economic growth among small communities. As a start-up, BetaStore has faced numerous challenges since it began operating, however, it has adopted a fastpaced, problem-solving culture. Perhaps the most recurring challenge is seen within logistics and fulfillment. Due to the rapid growth of the company, it has had to create innovative solutions in order to meet the high demand. About 76% of our retailers are women-led businesses and they order almost five times a month on BetaStore platform. For the last 12 months, BetaStore grew over 10x and for the next 12 months, BetaStore aims to grow exponentially, covering five countries in West Africa, and create more sustainable social and economic impacts. BetaStore is a trademark of SimpleMarket Inc., based in California, USA. Company: BetaStore by SimpleMarket Inc. Web Address: Contact Email: Leo Armel Tchoudjang [email protected] Steve Dakayi-Kamga [email protected]

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 15 , Jul21845 Founded in 1997, Wetpaint is nowmore than 22 years old and consists of a tight knit, multiskilled teamof creative strategists who value quality over quantity by generating groundbreaking ideas that provide smart and flexible advertising solutions to clients. We find out more fromPetraMcCardle in the wake of the firmbeing awarded an African Excellence Award 2021. Most Innovative Integrated Marketing Agency – Greater Johannesburg Wetpaint is a needs analysis and performance-based agency, having had 24 years’ experience within the industry. It currently has an African footprint of 14 countries, as well as an international footprint across Europe and the United Arab Emirates. “We are a new breed of agency in the age of the connected consumer,” explains Petra McCardle, the firm’s Managing Director. “With the blurring of channels and devices, the old, siloed days have gone. Wetpaint works across all mediums without preference or prejudice, delivering strategy and execution via all channels that brings you closer to your target market than ever before. Our core values have not changed since inception, and we believe this is what has allowed us to have such a staying power in a fickle industry.” The agency’s services are plentiful, and it offers its clients all manner of marketing tools to enable them to succeed, including digital technology, strategic planning, integrated marketing, animation, lead generation, and video and sound generation, and more. Wetpaint serves any business looking to grow its brand awareness and performance goals, and its approach is based on strong deliverables of KPIs and return on investment. This is something which Petra believes differentiates the firm’s offer as it focuses on deliverables first and works backwards to what it needs to do and create in order to achieve these. “Our industry is currently pushed for higher performance and return on investment,” says Petra, speaking of the current post-Covid environment. “Campaigns are focused on deliverables and not so focused on brand awareness. Generating leads and gaining clients new business is a higher priority due to the pandemic and how its devastated business.” Consisting of a core team of 20 employees, with extended members working on a project basis, the staff at Wetpaint are integral in the company’s success and culture. “We breed a culture of proactive and outspoken action at Wetpaint,” elaborates Petra. “This leads to constant ideas and innovation, as ideas are generated at all levels and are not just pushed down from the top. This breeds passion for what you do, as your opinion always counts.” Recently, the firm was rewarded for its hard work with the prestigious title of Most Innovative Integrated Marketing Agency – Greater Johannesburg, and Petra tells us a little more about the company’s plans for the future. “Wetpaint has a strong strategic plan for 2022, that will assist international businesses gain a footprint into the African Continent. We act as the stepping stone for brands needing to get to the African consumer.” Contact: Petra McCardle Company: Wetpaint Web Address:

16 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , Aug21145 ADK Consortium is a leading consultant in property and infrastructure development. We speak to the company’s Executive Chairman, Michael Krakue, to learn more about the firm and its areas of expertise. Best Engineering Consultancy - Ghana With a large practice providing the full range of technologically based consultancy services to a wide client base, ADK Consortium consists of a multi-disciplinary professional team of architects, civil engineers, service engineers, and quantity surveyors. With a clientele consisting predominantly of Government and some private entities, ADK Consortium has experience in every sector of construction and can offer services as required. “Our vast experience gives us a notch in the industry,” elaborates Executive Chairman, Dr Michael Krakue, who heads up the management team. “Our unique approach provides a wide range of project delivery services to our clients and delivers first-class service on time and on budget without compromising on quality, safety or the environment. Working with clients to innovate and adapt to their changing needs, in a way that delivers best value solutions is our priority.” Dr Krakue himself holds an honorary doctorate from the Swiss School of Business Management, Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Middlesex University in London, United Kingdom, he is a fellow of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) and an elected member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (MASCE). He also has more than three decades worth of structural and civil engineering experience. With knowledge, expertise, good people and collaboration, ADK Consortium creates solutions that overcome any financing or development obstacles. “We aim to deliver environmental and sustainable solutions for our clients, and we will continue to work in partnership with our clients to achieve our goal of breathing new life into communities and transforming lives positively,” Dr Krakue explains. “At ADK Consortium, you’re safe in the knowledge that we have the expertise and experience to provide a turn-key service for every type and size of construction project,” he adds. The firm’s growing reputation for excellence, resourcefulness and responsiveness is no accident. It is a natural consequence of the values that have guided the company since its inception, and ADK staff are trained and expected to be diligent, pay critical attention to detail and have a cordial work relationship with Stakeholders and Contractors. “We all have an energetic enthusiasm for what we do, a sensitivity to the needs of our clients, willingness to accept total responsibility and a craftsman like pride in knowing that projects we manage will last for generations and leave a lasting impression for our clients, our society and our country,” Dr Krakue tells us. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic affected most of the projects that ADK Consortium is undertaking as well as prospective ones, particularly where funding is concerned. However the lockdown enforcements did give the firm the chance to overhaul certain areas of its documentation and review its past project performances. Now, Dr Krakue is looking forward to following ADK Consortium’s vision of being the Engineering and Construction Consultant of choice in Africa. This goal isn’t too far out of reach, however, as the firm was recently awarded the prestigious accolade of Best Engineering Consultancy – Ghana in the SME News African Excellence Awards 2021 and for now it seems that the future is looking very bright indeed. Contact: Dr Michael Krakue Company: ADK CONSORTIUM LIMITED Web Address:

MEAMARKETS / Q4 2021 17 , Jul21553 Founded in 1997, Yellowwood Future Architects is a marketing consultancy quite unlike any other. Geared towards providing tools to its clients that enable them to drive sustainable top line growth, the firm’s reputation for diversity precedes it. We speak to the Managing Director Refilwe Maluleke and find out more about this remarkable outfit. Most Innovative Brand Strategy Consultancy 2021 With a vision and purpose to be renowned as leaders in strategic marketing, the Yellowwood Future Architects (Yellowwood) team consists of a diverse group of thinkers who use unconventional wisdom to drive sustainable growth. “We believe that marketing has the power to change businesses and human behaviour for the better,” remarks Refilwe. “Our values are originality as every person, challenge, and solution are unique. Humanity comes down to genuine compassion and understanding of people, and bravery by being unafraid to challenge or be challenged.” The consultancy serves a wide range of clients ranging from financial services providers, Information and Communications Technology as well as companies that handle fast-moving consumer goods. Yellowwood is renowned for valuing diversity in thought. “We pride ourselves in our diversity, we are a women led organisation and we recruit people from different disciplines ranging from journalists, economists and mathematicians to ensure diversity in thinking.” Refilwe states “Different perspectives produce work that is better for our clients,” From initially consisting of simply a strategy team and an insights team, the consultancy has evolved and transitioned to having four distinct capabilities that it believes are central to delivering against its vision. “Our goal is to use these four capabilities to deliver more customer-centric work that drives sustainable top-line growth for our clients across the African continent. Our divisions are core strategy, data insights, communication strategy and youth strategy” Refilwe tells us. Its core strategy discipline uses what the consultancy calls ‘unconventional wisdom’ to uncover ways to drive brand-led sustainable growth for its clients. The core strategy team will continue spearheading innovation in Yellowwood’s core capabilities of brand strategy which includes – but is not limited to – positioning architecture, go-to-markets, and brand internalisation. A data insights team is dedicated to driving innovation in how Yellowwood uses data to better answer the most pressing questions facing brands across the continent; whilst communication strategy uses data, insight and in-culture context to drive people-first creative and communications excellence for disruptive business growth. The communication strategy team will continue to work hand-inhand with the creative agencies inside the TBWA collective to enhance the quality and impact of communication strategies. The consultancy keeps its eye on the future by staying on the pulse of young people and the youth strategy team is geared to driving innovative approaches to developing marketing strategies for brands aiming to target the biggest segment on the continent, youth defined as those under 30. The two key assets in enhancing the way brands engage with youth are our annual GenNext study, which is in its 17th year, and our Junior Boards of Directors (JBoDs). Yellowwood has ambitious plans for the future in other areas too, which include continuing to deliver against its vision of using marketing as a tool to shape business and human behaviour for the better. It seems that Yellowwood is already well on its way to achieving recognition for its hard work as it was recently crowned Most Innovative Brand Strategy Consultancy 2021 in the African Excellence Awards – an accolade which is testament to the commitment and determination of the entire team. Contact: [email protected] Company: Yellowwood Web Address: (left to right) Ntombizamasala Hlophe, Strategy Director | Refilwe Maluleke, TBWA\SA Chief Strategy Officer & Yellowwood Managing Director & Hlengiwe Mkhize, Financial Manager

18 MEA MARKETS / Q4 2021 , Jul21291 Indwe Risk Services (Pty) Ltd is a leading personal, business and specialist risk and insurance advisory business and has an expert teamwhich provides insurance solutions that are as unique as its client-base.We find outmore about the company and its ethos as we speak to CEO, Peter Olyott. Best Independent Insurance Broker 2021 – South Africa With roots established in 1903, Indwe Risk Services (Pty) Ltd is today one of South Africa’s largest independent brokers offering personal, business, and specialist risk and insurance advisory services. Indwe first came into existence in 2006 as the product of a merger between Thebe Risk Services and Prestasi Brokers, both of which had a formidable history in the insurance industry. Serving a range of clientele, including small to medium businesses, large businesses and specialist service businesses such as state-owned enterprises, Indwe’s insurance packages are underwritten by South Africa’s major insurers, covering the entire spectrum of a client’s short-term insurance needs. With core values centred around innovation, nurture, being driven, willingness, and being eager, Indwe is committed to providing tailormade affordable cover to suit all individual, corporate, commercial, and industrial insurance requirements. “We do not sell ‘off-the-shelf’ insurance solutions,” explains Chief Executive Officer, Peter Olyott. “We find cost-effective solutions tailored to your riskrelated needs and procure the most competitive terms to meet these needs.” Indwe takes pride in being proactive and innovative to keep clients ahead of the curve. It does this by staying abreast of new legislation and technology, as well as social and political changes, so that the firm is able to help its clients adapt their insurance to the constantly shifting business environment. “With a century of experience as an insurance expert, we are the perfect partner to advise you on the best products and services available through South Africa’s leading insurance companies, and how these can be tailored to your specific requirements,” Peter adds. “With us, you will always have someone to give you advice and assistance.” The company’s key areas of differentiation lie in its approach to risk, whether it be for individuals or for businesses. Insurance is but one of the financial solutions to deal with the consequences of losses arising from risk. Indwe adopts a holistic approach towards effective management and treatment with the objective being to optimise the cost of risk whilst mitigating the consequences, financial and otherwise , efficiently. “Indwe provides the kind of professional advice that allows you to sleep at night,” elaborates Peter. “You can rest safe in the knowledge that a team of experts is constantly keeping watch over your insured personal and business assets, proactively identifying and assessing the ever evolving risk landscape and providing appropriate cover and solutions .” Another strength of Indwe’s is its staff-base and it is competitive in terms of its insurance and risk knowledge, expertise and experience. “We care about our clients and their businesses,” Peter enthuses, going on to explain that the firm’s South African culture and heritage allows it to easily adopt the “Ubuntu” approach to business. “We will not pursue business goals at the cost of our honesty and integrity. Sustainable longterm business relationships are our preferred way of engaging with our clients.” Employing some of the most experienced and respected brokers in the market, Indwe’s areas of expertise range from pioneering solutions in personal lines insurance and innovation in commercial insurance solutions, to creative and effective problem solving for the larger and more complex businesses. All of the company’s employees are expected to be FAIS compliant as a minimum requirement and are actively encouraged to pursue world-leading insurance and business skills, by way of formal and informal education as well as training programmes. “Our intention is to have the most proficient insurance workforce in the industry. This is based on the understanding that in order to remain relevant and in a position to add value to our clients, we need to have an in-depth knowledge of our products , services and subject matters , together with a sound appreciation of the world around us,” Peter shares. Recently, Indwe was rewarded for its hard work and devotion to its clients by being recognised in the SME News African Excellence Awards, for which it was given the title of Best Independent Insurance Broker 2021 – South Africa. In the wake of being rewarded with this impressive accolade, Peter fills us in on Indwe’s ambitious plans for the future, including the potential expansion of business via its international partners and the Allied Africa Broker Network. “We are, via our partnerships, able to offer the full spectrum of non-life and life insurance products and services across Africa.” He summarises, “With Indwe you will always have someone to give you advice and to act on your behalf. Supported by international expertise, linkages, years of experience in handling both multimillion-rand claims and high volumes of smaller claims, you can depend on seamless service when you need it most.” Contact: Peter Olyott Company: Indwe Risk Services (Pty) Ltd Web Address: Indwe Risk Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised FSP 3425