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How Are MENA-Born Businesses Unlocking The Path To Global Success?

Unlocking the Path to Global Success: MENA-Born Businesses on the Rise

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is emerging as a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and businesses to carve their names on the global stage. As we delve into the realm of MENA's burgeoning business landscape, we'll explore the key factors driving success, the rise of new champions in various industries, and the path forward for MENA-born enterprises to claim their spot as global leaders.

Seizing the Global Stage: MENA's Pioneering Enterprises

The MENA region has been asking vital questions about its competitiveness and capabilities, and it's high time to address them. Who are the global champions originating from our region? Can MENA produce a tech giant like Google? Do we possess the ingredients to foster global success? The unequivocal answer to these inquiries is a resounding "yes."

Consider some of the MENA region's shining stars:

  • Saudi Arabia's Aramco and SABIC: Aramco stands as the world's third-largest company by market value, while its sister company, SABIC, has achieved global leadership in the chemical industry.

  • ACWA Power: Hailing from Saudi Arabia, ACWA Power has garnered immense respect as a leader in renewable energy and water processing.

  • UAE's Emirates and Jumeirah: Emirates has set unparalleled benchmarks in global aviation excellence, while Jumeirah has redefined the standards of hospitality worldwide.

  • Qatar's FIFA World Cup: Qatar successfully hosted what is widely recognized as one of the best FIFA World Cup tournaments.

  • Egypt's Orascom: Orascom, from Egypt, extends its reach across the globe with telecommunications, cement, and energy ventures.

This list could continue indefinitely, emphasizing that the MENA region already boasts numerous global champions, and many more are on the rise.

The Next Wave: Knowledge Industries Taking the Lead

While the region has witnessed global champions in traditional sectors such as aviation and hospitality, a new wave of champions is emerging in knowledge industries. These sectors encompass high-tech innovations, defense, healthcare, and more. Notable organizations like SAMI and Tawazun are making significant strides in defense industries. Hekma Pharmaceuticals leads the charge in the medical sector, while tech-driven companies like, Aramex, and others represent a new generation of knowledge-based enterprises.

These rising champions reflect the MENA region's potential to compete and excel on the global stage, transcending geographical boundaries and conventional limitations.

The Formula for Global Success: Decoding MENA's Triumph

Behind the success of MENA-born global champions lies a distinct formula for conquering the global economic arena. Let's dissect the key elements that define this formula:

1. Offering Real Value

Global success is not merely about expanding internationally for the sake of it; it's about delivering compelling value to global stakeholders. Aramco, for instance, ensures global energy security while actively engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR), sports, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives worldwide. Providing genuine value is at the core of MENA's global champions.

2. Differentiation

Successful global enterprises must distinguish themselves from their competitors. Emirates, with its unique blend of a global aviation network, luxury services, and competitive pricing, has created a winning formula unmatched by legacy carriers in the US and Europe. This differentiation has spurred emulation within the MENA region, with challenger airlines like Etihad and Qatar Airways following suit.

3. Focus on Quality

In a world where many global players offer commoditized solutions, MENA-born businesses must maintain unwavering quality across all aspects of their offerings. Compromising on quality is a perilous path. To sustain growth while expanding globally, upholding quality standards is paramount.

4. Managing Cost Efficiency

Leveraging the competitive advantage of lower labor and operating costs in the MENA region, businesses can establish cost-effective operational and service infrastructures. Unlike markets in the European Union (EU), which grapple with over-regulation, high taxes, and post-pandemic welfare policies, the MENA region possesses the agility to build lower-cost, high-scale enterprises.

5. Exceptional Client Service

While automation has found its place in client service, personal interactions rooted in trust, relationships, and familiarity continue to play a pivotal role. MENA-born global champions prioritize customer satisfaction, investing heavily in dedicated customer teams that operate around the clock, catering to diverse needs and fostering lasting relationships.

6. Unwavering Ambition

The belief that MENA-born enterprises can compete and succeed globally is a fundamental part of the equation. The MENA region has made significant strides in elevating healthcare, education, infrastructure, and ambition since the post-colonial era. This ambitious spirit drives businesses to extend their services worldwide, leveraging technology to overcome geographical limitations.

Whether it's a fintech startup in Cairo, a blockchain venture in Dubai, an energy leader in Saudi Arabia, or an art lab in Beirut, there are no bounds in the digital world. MENA-born enterprises can and should venture beyond local and regional markets, seizing the opportunity to serve a global audience.

In contrast to building "fortresses of value" confined to MENA markets, the digital landscape knows no boundaries. International competitors can establish a presence in the region and compete directly with local and regional players. Instead of surrendering to this reality, MENA-born businesses should boldly take their value to the world. The quality and innovation offered by MENA enterprises are often on par with or superior to international counterparts, making MENA businesses the potential acquirers in Western and Asian markets.

Throughout history, the MENA region has thrived at the crossroads of civilization and trade. Its entrepreneurs were renowned for their astuteness, quality, and craftsmanship. In today's post-colonial era, a new generation of MENA entrepreneurs is flourishing, and it's time to harness this renewed talent and return to the heart of global trade. The journey has already begun, and the momentum is set to intensify in the years ahead.