MINING IN THE UAE – A CLEAR OPPORTUNITY

September 17, 2019

Anyone who has lived or worked in the UAE will know how much of what is consumed inside the country is imported.  You might also be surprised to know, in a country that consists largely of desert, that the UAE’s imports also include thousands of tonnes of sand each year from Saudi Arabia to manufacture […]

We are all storytellers

August 22, 2019

OK so it has taken me a while, but I have finally found the time over the summer to read the excellent ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Hariri – a masterful sweep of human history, mixing anthropology, sociology and good old-fashioned storytelling. But his early section on collective belief systems in particular made me pause for […]

The very model of a modern Arab diplomat: Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Sultan

July 2, 2019

If French is the traditional language of diplomacy, it seems appropriate that Prince Khaled was born in Paris and, we understand, proudly retains his links to the French state. Indeed you might be forgiven for thinking that his appointment as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s eighth ambassador to the United Kingdom in April this year, […]

Home grown in the desert: agri-tech companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

May 7, 2019

The dry, sun-drenched deserts of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are not the obvious place to think of cultivating crops, yet restaurants and supermarkets in the region are increasingly stocking fruits and vegetables that have been grown locally – how is this even possible? Local food production is rapidly rising up the political […]

Source of wealth indicators in the Middle East & North Africa

February 20, 2019

One of the areas where compliance teams can struggle is to establish and verify the source of wealth of an individual.  Even FATF regulations and EU AML directives acknowledge the difficulty of the exercise, calling for a risk-based approach and a balance between publicly-available information and voluntary disclosure by the client.  But for those sectors that handle high-value transactions, such […]

The Case for Clarity – the importance of verified company information

February 7, 2019

Those of you investing in the emerging markets of Africa or the Middle East will likely be looking for clarity on some of the mechanisms and levers for growing your commercial interests in these regions– one of which is information on companies you are looking to engage with (suppliers, partners, clients, co-investors), and, by default, […]

Understanding the Family Offices of the GCC

November 21, 2018

It is a universally acknowledged truth that no two family offices are the same, varying as they do by factors such as size, structure, outlook and investment strategies, among others. It is possible however to discern a growth cycle in how family offices in the GCC were first formed, then began to establish more formal and […]

Sub Saharan Africa | 2017 Fastest Growing SMEs

November 15, 2018

In our series, looking at the top performers across SSA, we go to the SME-segment of the market and recognise the fastest growing companies. 2017 Fastest Growing SMEs Company Sector Sunsweet Solar Solar Mama Fresh Food ABC Car rentals Hire Ambo Mineral Water Consumer Orchid Business Group Consumer Hehsac Logistics Sustineo Magnus Ltd Agro Verdant […]

Sub Saharan Africa | 2017 Best Performing Companies

November 13, 2018

In anticipation of what 2018 will prove in the battle of the brands, we take a look at the best performers in 2017.  Four key metrics were used: liquidity, solvency, return on assets and profit margin.  Last year, South African companies continued their domination of the best-performing companies on the continent. Company Market Cap(US$ th) Bowler […]

Sub Saharan Africa | What are the fastest growing e-commerce start-ups?

November 12, 2018

These 9 startups are making major strides in SSA; continuing to experience growth and success despite the odds stacked against them.  We already have a few of them profiled in ClarifiedBy. Company Country Sector MeQasa Ghana Online Real Estate iRoko TV Nigeria Media Services provider BitPesa Kenya Blockchain Technology Giraffe South Africa Mobile Recruitment Platform Dusu Pay […]

Out of currency devaluation comes….transparency?

October 13, 2018

Whilst the Iranian rial (IRR) has been hammered over recent weeks following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the Iranian government has tried to reassure the public that it has no shortage of foreign currency.  In response it has been offering foreign currency based on a US dollar rate of 42,000 IRR – nearly […]

CLARITY IN AFRICA

September 25, 2018

We believe in the benefit clarity brings. For a decade, we’ve been giving clients access to the hard facts on company and shareholder information across MENA. We’ve reached a critical milestone now that ClarifiedBy is covering Sub Saharan Africa. It’s been a year in the making, diligently opening up countries as fast a possible, starting with Nigeria, […]

To be a (business)woman in Saudi Arabia

June 27, 2018

In the week that Saudi Arabia became the last country in the world to permit women to drive, you may be forgiven for thinking that the Gulf is only just waking up to ideas such as women’s rights and equal opportunities.  However, issues that have dominated the Western news agenda in recent times such as […]

A tough road ahead for European companies in Iran

June 5, 2018

With European companies scrambling to adjust to America’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, some major businesses have already declared that they are ready to exit Iran if they do not secure sanctions waivers from the US.  European leaders for their part have harshly criticised Trump and reaffirmed their support and intention to uphold […]

The case for consolidation within the UAE

May 29, 2018

Scale. Efficiencies. Strategic fit…some of the reasons often given for a merger, JV or other form of strategic partnership between companies.  The spate of high-profile mergers in the UAE in recent months, particularly amongst government and partially government-owned businesses, suggests that there is another factor in play. Mergers and JVs are of course not new […]

It’s the sources, stupid

April 5, 2018

As some of you will have noticed, this year is Diligencia’s tenth anniversary and in Nouri’s post about the early days of the company he set out one of the guiding principles of how we compile our company information, namely only using official sources. The emphasis we place on authentic company information is still absolutely […]

Diligencia 10 years on – Part 2

March 28, 2018

As I look back over the last ten years I am struck by the fact that the MENA region has seen seismic changes.  Quite apart from the political upheavals, notably the so-called Arab Spring, which at times led to a revolving door of the subjects we were asked to research, the following cases have had […]

Diligencia 10 years on – Part 1

March 26, 2018

10 years ago this month, I founded Diligencia.  I had no particular grand strategy at that stage, and certainly no formal business plan that I could have presented to potential investors, even if there were any.  All I had was a firm belief that there was a need and a demand for high quality business […]

Blockchain and compliance

March 7, 2018

Everybody’s talking about blockchain.  Or to use its less catchy alternative name, distributed ledger technology (DLT).  It’s the latest thing, and everyone wants a part of it – so much so that a company only needs to mention blockchain and its value immediately soars, as happened to the soft drinks company Long Island Iced Tea […]

The Saudi corruption purge in 5 charts and tables

January 19, 2018

Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on corruption briefly reappeared on the radar of international media outlets this week with the news that Prince Muteb bin Abdullah, previously head of the Saudi national guard, had been released and that the Riyadh Ritz (pictured) had re-opened after being used as a luxury prison for those detainees with a […]