CAIRO: In a post-pandemic era, people have never been more aware of their wellness, including physical well-being and prevalent health issues.
COVID-19, on the other hand, had a significant effect on technology.
When quarantines and social distancing became a daily norm, people used digital technologies to interact with the world, especially in healthcare.
The result: The healthcare industry became one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and gave rise to newer business models such as telehealth and next-gen managed care. Arab News compiled a list of the top 10 most funded health-tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Total funding: $73 million
Founders: Amir Barsoum and Ahmed Badr
Investors: BECO Capital, Silicon Badia, Vostok New Ventures, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst and STV
Founded in 2012, Vezeeta offers appointment management software for doctors and healthcare providers to manage their operations better.
The company also provides patients with a free platform to book their appointments, as doctors can opt for the platform using a subscription model.
In 2020, Vezeeta managed to secure $40 million in a series D funding round to roll out new products and introduce its telehealth services.
Total funding: $52.5 million
Founders: Jalil Labadi and Abdel Aziz Labadi
Investors: Foundation Holdings, Hikma Ventures, Global Ventures and DASH Ventures
Founded in 2008, Atlibbi is a digital platform that allows users to receive remote medical consultations and connect with professionals via calls and text chats.
The company has over 10,000 doctors on its platform and won the World Summit Award for the Best Digital Health Content Award and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
In its latest funding round, Altibbi raised $44 million in a series B funding round in March 2022 to enhance its technology and e-pharmacy services.
Total funding: $31 million
Founders: Talal Bayaa, Tarek Bayaa and Brian Habibi
Investors: Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund, Point72 Ventures, Mubadala, Beco Capital, Silicon Badia and Hamed Kanoo Co.
Founded in 2013, Bayzat is a web and mobile application that allows clients to buy and sell health insurance.
The company’s health tech platform compares health insurance and offers them the best options. Raising $16 million in a series B funding round in 2019, the company used its funding to empower its technology to serve its clients better.
It also provides HR solutions for companies.
Total funding: $20 million
Founders: Ali Hashemi and Ihsan Almarzooqi
Investors: Polymath Ventures
Founded in 2020, GluCare offers diabetic care in the clinic and virtually for its patients using its data monitoring and artificial intelligence.
With the company’s application, patients can connect with a care team to monitor glucose, insulin, diet intake and more.
Total funding: $18 million
Founder: Tamer Wali
Founded in 2020, Selfologi is an online platform for aesthetic medical treatments that allows users to book appointments with doctors in fields like botox, hair removal, acne scarring and more.
The company raised its $18 million investment in a round led by its founder and angel investor, Tamer Wali, with participation from Xenel international group.
Total funding: $12 million
Founders: Fodhil Benturquia
Investors: Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Ithmar Capital and iGan Partners
Founded in 2018, Okadoc is an appointment booking platform provider that allows people to search for the nearest clinic, practitioners and hospitals.
In 2020, the company closed its $10 million series A funding, expanded its operations and promoted its telehealth offering and virtual consultations.
Total funding: $8.5 million
Founders: Karim Khashaba, Yasser AbdelGawad and Sherief El-Feky
Investors: Global Ventures, MEVP, Algebra Ventures, CVentures, P1 Ventures and Athaal Angel Investors Group
Founded in 2018, Yodawy is a virtual pharmacy providing a marketplace for people who want access to medication with over 3,000 pharmacies.
In mid-2021, the company secured $7.5 million in a series B funding round to build its digital marketplace to serve its wide range of customers.
Total funding: $8.5 million
Founders: Yahya Aqel and Shahed Altawafsheh
Investors: 500 Startups, Right side capital, TechStars, Shorooq Partners and Plug and Play
Headquarters: Saudi Arabia and Jordan
Established in 2020, Aumet is a B2B marketplace for healthcare providers to buy supplies from retailers. In 2020, the company raised $1.25 million in a seed funding round and had not disclosed its later investments.
Total funding: $5 million
Founders: Hamed Ahmadi and Sina Torabi
Investors: Merus Capital, Naples Technology Ventures and Candou Ventures
Founded in 2018, Medsien is a chronic care management platform for medical professionals that operate in the UAE and USA.
In its seed funding round, the company raised $4.3 million to increase its presence in the US and grow its offerings.
Health at Hand
Total funding: $4 million
Founder: Charlie Barlow
Investors: Simon Charlton and Rockfirst Capital
Born in 2015, Health at Hand is a mobile application that facilitates virtual consultations for patients with nonemergency conditions like colds, coughs and others.
The company raised its total funding in a seed round in 2017 to develop its technology further and introduce its subscription-based model.
RIYADH: UAE’s Nawah Energy Co. has successfully started Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Region, its parent company the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced on Thursday.
The launch has been achieved a year after the start-up of Unit 2, with the next key milestone being the connection of Unit 3 to the national electricity grid in the coming weeks, WAM reported.
Unit 3’s startup reflects the progress being made in bringing the four units of the Barakah Plant — the first multi-unit operational nuclear plant in the Arab World — online and accelerating the decarbonisation of the UAE’s power sector on the way to Net Zero by 2050.
ENEC CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi said: “Thanks to the data-driven decisions of the UAE’s wise leadership, Barakah is now spearheading domestic energy security and sustainability in parallel, at the time of a global energy crisis, highlighting the unique capabilities of nuclear energy in solving energy security and sustainability in parallel.”
He added: “The commissioning of the plant is just the beginning, with innovation and R&D (research and development) now key in ensuring the realization of the full scope of the programme.”
Once commercially operational Unit 3 will add another 1,400 MW of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity to the national grid.
This will be a major boost for UAE energy security, and a major step forward in tackling climate change.
Barakah is generating clean energy that is sustainably powering homes, business and high-tech industries across the UAE, WAM said.
Unit 3 will be connected to the national electricity grid in the coming weeks, and the operations team will continue with the process of gradually raising power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing.
The process will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached and all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality, and security will be applied.
RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council banks are returning to form after a strong first half of 2022, with earnings for most of them reaching almost pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, according to S&P Global Ratings.
This optimism is spurred by high oil prices, rising interest rates, supporting the banks’ creditworthiness, along with new public-sector-backed projects, the agency said.
In the first half, margins slightly improved in most systems.
Saudi and Kuwaiti banks showed the strongest performance among the four largest GCC markets, with earnings already almost reaching pre-pandemic levels, while Qatari and the UAE banks are taking a bit longer to recover, according to the report.
In the second half of the year, higher net interest margins will likely offset an increasing cost of risk, leaving banks with stronger full-year profits than 2021.
The cost of risk will likely stabilize at normalized levels this year, partly due to adequate provisioning.
Still, some loans that benefited from support measures may turn nonperforming, S&P said.
GCC banks face a less certain 2023, with expectations of lower oil prices and risks to economic growth in the US and Europe.
As Saudi banks’ financial performance has almost recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels, S&P expects an average return on assets of 2 percent in 2022 compared with 2.1 percent in 2019.
Credit to the private sector expanded 8.5 percent over the first half, due to stronger-than-expected mortgage growth, owing to market saturation and a pick-up in demand for corporate credit driven by Vision 2030 projects.
Aggregated cost of risk remained low, at about 46 basis points, due to the strong economic rebound, and the share of Stage 3 loans remained broadly flat, estimated at about 2 percent.
Saudi banks’ non-performing loan coverage stood at 160 percent to 170 percent in 2022.
Higher credit growth momentum will continue into the second half of the year, mostly due to stronger-than-expected performance in the mortgage portfolio, according to S&P.
“We now expect credit growth to reach about 15 percent in 2022,” the agency said.
However, there is expectation that higher interest rates and market saturation will eventually curb mortgage origination.
S&P expects corporate lending to start contributing to loan growth, as the gradual increase in interest rates will continue to feed Saudi banks’ margins, eventually pushing them up by year-end.
Still, the cost of risk is expected to somewhat increase over the second half to 70 bps-80 bps as some of the loans restructured post-pandemic are reclassified.
The systemwide ROA is set to stabilize at 1.9 percent to 2.1 percent from 2022.
The increasing risk of recessions in the US and Europe, along with higher interest rates, could pressure the operating environment in the Kingdom, especially if oil prices drop. Also, higher interest rates could result in a shift away from non-commission-bearing deposits, which may pressure banks’ margins.
Higher interest rates and lower cost of risk in the UAE will support banking sector profitability, according to S&P Ratings.
Asset quality is also set to stabilize while the NPLs are expected to remain contained with the support scheme ending.
Banks’ performance in the UAE improved in first-half 2022 due to lower cost of risk and higher interest rates, while the Central Bank of the UAE’s COVID-19-related targeted economic support scheme also helped the system, limiting the increase in NPLs.
At the same time, the macroeconomic environment has started to improve driven by higher oil prices and recovery in the non-oil sector.
Better operating conditions led to higher lending growth in first-half 2202 compared with 2021, although this could be tempered by increasing interest rates in the second half.
Higher oil prices and the economic recovery in Kuwait have supported faster lending growth and lower cost of risk, creating a supportive environment.
Further reduction in cost of risk and higher lending growth of 9 percent year-on-year in the first half led to stronger banks’ earnings.
Non-interest income continued to benefit from the improved operating environment, while higher inflation and the resumption of some costs as the pandemic wanes spurred a 10 percent increase in operating costs compared with the first half of 2021, offsetting the benefits from higher revenue.
Momentum may slow in the second half, with some NPL formation, according to S&P Global.
The Qatari private sector credit is set to grow by 5 percent in 2022, less than half the average rate seen over the previous three years, according to S&P Global.
The World Cup at the end of the year along with positive sentiment stemming from high natural gas prices will push consumption lending to strongest growth.
However, government construction projects have mostly been completed, which is shown in banks’ first-half performance.
Overall credit could reduce slightly if lending to the government continues to decline in the second half, which the agency views as likely given the projected fiscal surplus of about 12 percent of GDP.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is expected to begin the pre-qualification process for the contract to develop two independent sewage treatment plants early next year, MEED reported citing an industry source.
The new facilities will have a total combined capacity of 900,000 cubic meters a day, and will be added to the original three schemes: Al-Haer ISTP in Riyadh, Riyadh East ISTP, and Khamis Mushait ISTP.
Two smaller schemes, Riyadh East and Khamis Mushait, will be developed as one contract, MEED said.
The request for proposals for the contracts to develop all three schemes are expected to be issued by October, by the Saudi Water Partnership Co..
RIYADH: Non-oil foreign trade between the UAE and Saudi Arabia jumped 92.5 percent over the last ten years as it hit 124.69 billion dirhams ($33.9 billion) by the end of 2021, WAM reported citing official data.
The non-oil trade exchanged last year is almost double the 2012 figure, which came in at 64.79 billion dirhams according to statistics from the UAE’s Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center.
The figures also showed the total value of non-oil exports from the UAE to Saudi Arabia over the past ten years was around 205.5 billion dirhams, while re-exports were valued at 471.7 billion dirhams, and imports at 227 billion dirhams.
Petroleum and oil obtained from bituminous minerals topped the list of Emirati imports in 2021, with a value of over 5 billion dirhams, and then by ethylene polymers in their primary forms — valued at 3.35 billion dirhams.
Raw, semi-worked or powdered gold followed with a value of 1.87 billion dirhams, and then by propylene polymers in their primary forms.
Gold topped the list of key commodities exported from the UAE to Saudi Arabia in 2021, with a value of 10.9 billion dirhams, followed by wires valued at 3.11 billion dirhams.
Telephone devices, including phones for cellular networks and other wireless networks, topped the list of goods that were re-exported to Saudi Arabia in 2021, with a value of 11.58 billion dirhams, according to the FCSC.
Machines for the self-processing of information and their units, magnetic or optical readers, and machines for transmitting information on stands in the form of codes followed, valued at 6.12 billion dirhams, followed by cars worth 2.29 billion dirhams, vehicle parts and supplies worth 2.08 billion dirhams, and ready-made clothes worth 1.59 billion dirhams.
Taking in oil, Saudi Arabia was the UAE’s fourth leading trading partner, from 2012 to 2021, with the partnership amounting to 904.3 billion dirhams, reflecting 5.6 percent of the UAE’s total international trade.
Saudi Arabia was ranked first in the list of countries that received re-exports from the UAE over the past 10 years, as they nearly hit 423 billion dirhams.
DUBAI, Sept 22 : Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. CEO Sultan Al-Jaber said on Thursday there was little room to maneuver in oil markets that may face further disruption with minimal spare capacity.
Speaking at an event in New York, Jaber also warned that underinvestment in the current energy sector before alternative sources of supply were ready was a recipe for disaster, not progress.
“If people’s basic energy needs are not met, economic development slows down, and so does climate action,” Jaber said.
“If we under-invest in the energy system of today before the energy system of tomorrow is ready, we will only make matters worse.”
Jaber put spare oil capacity at less than 2 percent of global consumption.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, has been warning since August that the spare capacity cushion was thin.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are believed to hold the bulk of that spare capacity within the alliance, and are the only two members with the ability to increase production in a meaningful way.
On Thursday Jaber also warned of a wide funding gap between investment in renewables and the portion of those funds dedicated to zero-carbon energies that can transition heavy industry, manufacturing, construction and agriculture.
“As global energy demand continues to increase, we need to collectively and quickly decarbonize the existing energy sources that the world still relies on,” Jaber, who is also the UAE’s special envoy for climate change, said.
“We are a global energy player and fully committed to the energy transition,” he said.