Ethiopia – A Foreign Direct Investment Breeding Ground

Ethiopia Investments

A vast majority of the African continent has been under direct scrutiny from foreign investors, the fertile lands, immense landscapes and extensive natural resources make this continent a prime location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Amongst the countries of the African continent, Ethiopia stands tall above the crowd; it has attracted investments from across the globe over the last decade, topping the charts of FDI. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has successfully navigated his country in the right direction to create a realm of mass FDI, strategic investments into specific sectors that Mr. Abiy sees fit. Ethiopia and much of Eastern Africa has been experiencing extensive transformations and economic diversification over the last decade.

Ethiopia – An Investment Goldmine

One of the fastest growing countries in the world, averaging a significant 10% GDP increase over the last decade, holding the second largest labour force in the continent and the second largest market in all of Africa – these are a few significant facts about Ethiopia, a goldmine for foreign direct investment. According to the World Bank database, since 2010, where Ethiopia’s FDI stood at an estimate of 288 million, the country has seen an incredible rise, reaching an apex of $4 billion USD in 2017 and now it stands at $3.3 billion USD FDI in 2018.

Ethiopia’s Successful Foreign Investment Strategy

When a country experiences a rapid rise and economic growth it is necessary to question the how’s and what’s? How did Ethiopia manage to top the FDI charts? What strategies and polices were implemented to create such an effect?  In order to fully comprehend Ethiopia’s success and acknowledge their future vision for FDI we can analyse their initial plans and hypothesis that led them to enhancing and creating a realm for positive foreign direct investment. We can inductively assume that Ethiopia’s desire for FDI lies on the fact that they have seen positive outcomes from it, in terms of economic growth, and believe the future of wealth and prosperity resides in creating a robust foundation for foreign investments. The logic simply follows: countries experience economic growth with increased FDI, Ethiopia is a country, and therefore, Ethiopia will experience economic growth. This is already supported by their recent growth and predictions that the IMF set of 7.4% increase from 2017-2020 and, moreover, Ethiopia has set a new policy for 2025, setting a target for 11% growth in their Growth and Transformation plans II (GTP II). The country’s focus is simple and concentrates in:

  • Transport Infrastructure,
  • Agriculture, Electricity,
  • Renewable Energy.

Transport

Ethiopia’s focus on transport is an attempt to aid the transportation of goods across the country. However, in addition to road transport infrastructure, there has been an enhanced focus on the railway network. The goal was to achieve an electrified railway, connecting Addis Ababa to Djibouti, a total of 2395km network to bolster import-export trade. The completion of transport infrastructure presents Ethiopia with ease of accessibility for foreign investors.

Agriculture

Ethiopia’s natural resources have long been sought after by countries across the world, with main investors such as Saudi Arabia, China, United States, India and Turkey. Agriculture, or more specifically horticulture, has attracted the most FDI, which involves the renting of agricultural land and leather goods. The arable land, farming and livestock attract major foreign investment, especially due to the magnitude of rich agricultural opportunities Ethiopia has to offer.

Electricity and Renewable Energy

Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative has helped the country implement advanced and sustainable infrastructure across the country. It is important to look after the land considering the attraction from foreign investment; this is further supported by the recent events that led Ethiopia to a world record of planting trees in one day. The country magnificently planted 350 million trees in the space of 12 hours, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, again, at the forefront of their sustainable policies. Other initiatives such as the electrified railway network above and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which aims to enhance hydro-electric capacity to 37,000 MW by 2037, have helped the country soar through renewable methods.

Ethiopia has undergone and is still undergoing mass transformations, internally, to attract FDI and enhance the country on multiple levels. The country implements a series of policies that directly affect foreign investment and conveys the country as a prime location to invest in.

Incentives for Investment

The Ethiopian government relies heavily on FDI to meet the 2025 GTP II plan and has thus created a set of policies (over 30 bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements signed) that directly benefit external investors for example:

  • Repatriation of investment and profit in convertible foreign currency. Many countries attempt to attract foreign investment, yet, have strict policies when foreign companies attempt to extract the wealth and convert it back to their country of origin. However, Ethiopia has taken an alternative stance that has proved to be popular with foreign investors.
  • Well established labour law allowing investors to hire expatriate staff and personnel with ease. Many companies will want to support their investments using their own staff and/or staff from other countries, Ethiopia provides HR and labour policies that can accommodate this.
  • Income tax exemptions. Ethiopia has carefully and strategically selected sectors in which they desire the most foreign investment and offer exemptions to paying income tax. This would prove to be desirable for many investors.
  • The country also allows for duty free imports of capital goods, this can help the transition of foreign investors and provide an ease of transference.

The aforementioned incentives, in addition to internal policies, have created a country in which foreign investment is very attractive. Ethiopia’s economy has organically soared and for good reason, the strategic implementation to gain foreign investment support has seen the country rise through the rankings. Ethiopia is serious about meeting 2025 targets and continues to create the perfect breeding ground for investors.

Knowledgeable Investing and Mitigating Risks

Every investment and potential business opportunity comes with a certain level of risk. As a business intelligence company that specialises in the Middle East and Africa, Cedar Rose aims to help companies mitigate those risks. Leaping into unknown territory can bring unwarranted surprises, with cultural, language and business differences you may not be aware of. Cedar Rose has been compiling data on companies, directors and shareholders across the globe for over 20 years, data which can help you minimise risk. We have an experienced team of in-house researchers and analysts whose expertise extends throughout Africa, the Middle East and beyond. If  you’re considering investing in or expanding into Ethiopia  with a due diligence investigation from Cedar Rose, you can find out all of the relevant information you need to make an informed business decision.

Visit www.cedar-rose.com for more information on our business intelligence services and don’t forget to check out more of our latest articles here.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Hub for Foreign Investment – Moroccan Business Opportunities

Hub - Morocco

The Middle East and North Africa have seen their fair share of economic and political instability, from the Arab Uprisings of 2011 to the commodities crash and oil price dive in 2015. Therefore, attracting foreign investment has always been a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Morocco has been in the spotlight as a hub for foreign investment, the country has experienced a major growth in recent years, through strategic innovations, robust infrastructure and diversifying their economy. Instability and risk are arguably the biggest blockades that foreign investors face when seeking external business opportunities. Morocco has been steered into safer grounds and is now experiencing positive growth.

Watch Us Rise
Becoming a hub for foreign investment throughout the continent of Africa is no easy task. But recent events have shown Morocco to become a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies, with over $4.2 billion investment from France, UK, Spain and South Korea in 2018. The country has aimed to boost employment, attract further foreign investments and raise output performance in sectors that generate the most revenue, such as the Automotive and Aerospace industries. The Aeronautic sector is especially prominent and active with over 140 enterprises, delivering in excess of $1.7 billion revenue in 2019, equivalent to 17 billion Dirhams. To put this into perspective, Morocco was only active with 3 enterprises 20 years ago. Morocco’s commitment to the Aeronautical sector is increasing, with plans to add 10 enterprises per year and an overriding goal to attract over 120 industry related enterprises by 2020, translating to a surplus of 8,700 jobs and a $1 billion revenue increase in exports. Morocco has justly become a robust hub for foreign investment and should be the ones to watch over the next 5 years.

Education Impacts
Earning the title of Africa’s hub for foreign investment doesn’t come easily, the government has had to make smart decisions, wise investments and provide a healthy foundation to attract others. Importantly, Morocco has aligned a focus on the internal education of its citizens, in attempt to organically grow the country from within. Education is of utmost importance for a booming country, to keep delivering prosperity and achieve targets set for 2020. Therefore, when the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) partnered with the Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) to provide global qualifications across universities in Morocco, the potential for growth was becoming more likely.

“We wish through these new certifications, to develop the knowledge and the technicality of the financial center of Casablanca. We are happy to partner with a recognized international organization, CISI, which will enable us to offer a service that best meets this objective. We are also pleased that higher education institutions continue to trust us by supporting this initiative.” – Karim Hajji, General Manager of the Casablanca Stock Exchange

Morocco is experiencing success on many levels and the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) supports this. Casablanca ranks the highest of all African countries and stands tall at 22nd on a global scale. So why is Morocco steaming ahead of its neighbouring countries?

The Art of Giving Back
The vast landscape of the African continent presents countless possibilities to secure trade and to diversify economies, yet it takes the recognition of the potential to utilise what Africa has to offer. One of the main reasons for Morocco’s success is this recognition. Moroccans have been particular interested in Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Africa as a whole for investment opportunities. From chemicals to real estate and renewable energies, Morocco is deploying capital to neighbouring and local countries throughout the African continent. Essentially, Africa is seen as the future engine for growth for the global economy.

“Moroccan policy translates into Moroccan investment into Africa,” – Ibrahimi, chief executive of Casablanca Finance City (CFC)

A World of Coverage
Cedar Rose has been at the forefront of business intelligence for many years, with the heart of the business residing in the Middle East and North Africa. A country doesn’t become a foreign investment hub without dedicated research and assurance that potential risks are relieved. We offer data that can mitigate those risks for you. Whether you need company credit reports or a more detailed due diligence investigation on companies or individuals, Cedar Rose has acquired the largest database in the MENA region, invests in local expertise in the hardest of regions and provides high quality data to help others seek secure opportunities. Currently our database contains over 1,600,000 records on companies in Morocco, this continually growing number can provide sufficient data to help corporations know their customers to the fullest extent, or even more so, with a due diligence investigation.

Have you read our article on compliance

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Cleaning Dirty Data Daily – The Importance of Data Cleaning

Data Cleaning

Operating since 1997, Cedar Rose is known to have the largest single cleaned database of analytically linked companies’, shareholders’ and directors’ information across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, available to our thousands of clients around the world. Data cleaning has always and will always be a priority to us.

No matter how data is gathered and collected, there will always be some level of error. Data in the real world, certainly in the regions we gather it from is mainly dirty: incomplete, disorganized, unstructured and inconsistent. Incomplete data stems from non-available data values when collected and different criteria between the time collected and the time analyzed. Examples of a lack of attribute values could be an incomplete address or incomplete translated company name. Original data contains errors such as typing, spelling, word transposition (e.g. number of premises or number of employees equal to -3, or even a Shareholder/ Manager who is 230 years old).

Data can also be inconsistent and duplicated; containing incompatibility in codes or names (e.g. Company Name: “XXX Company LTD” or “XXX Company Limited” could be considered one registered entity although in the latter case the legal form is Joint Stock Company which is not reflected correctly in the name). The lack of compatibility is mainly between the different data fields. Inconsistent and duplicate data, as in the example above, comes from different data sources merged together or non-uniform naming conventions.

These types of mistakes can result from human error, poor recording software, or incomplete control over the type of data imported. Before processing the data for analysis or use, error-prevention strategies should be implemented to reduce common errors as much as possible, and to ensure that data is accurate, valid and consistent.

Maintaining an excellent quality database is essential for our company to ensure accuracy in our credit and due diligence reports. In our data warehouse, currently containing more than 12 million companies and more than 23 million individuals, data cleaning is a major part of the extract, transform and load (ETL) process. Data cleansing (also known as data cleaning or scrubbing) is the process of spotting and rectifying inaccurate or corrupt data.  Incomplete, inaccurate or irrelevant data is identified and then either replaced, modified or deleted.

Also worth noting that all our data is date stamped and graded. Our clients can now check the date of each data field in addition to its source grading. In recent years, Cedar Rose has implemented a system for the grading and evaluation of the source reliability, as well as of the information and intelligence credibility of the majority of our data. This grading is invaluable to our subscribers and due diligence clients who can then calculate which data they can rely on 100% and which has less reliability (eg; data from third parties, assumed to be correct but not verified).

No matter what sector you are working in, from public health to extractive industries to education, you can have access to our cleaned and linked database of companies, directors and shareholders via our website at www.cedar-rose.com, via API or by a CRiS subscription.

For further information, please contact Hannah King or Nicole Konstantinou to arrange a demonstration of CRiS, or go to our website to search and download or order a fresh investigation on your client today.

Visit our newsroom for more relevant news!

Written By Elissa Ghosn, Data Analyst

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

API – An Insight into Data-Sharing in the 21st Century

API

Application Programme Interface, or as most know it, API, has revolutionised the way the world operates and has provided efficiency beyond belief. The inherit design of this application software acts as the backbone of modern connectivity, providing and utilising efficiency, reliability and speed. API provides alternative means to achieve outcomes, meet demands and diversifies the way Business-to-Business (B2B) operations are carried out. Astonishingly, according to TechCrunch, Salesforce generates 50% of its revenue via API, eBay nearly 60% and Expedia an unrivalled 90%. This relatively new concept, a technological marvel, has gone further than most would have imagined. It is important to understand the principles and benefits of APIs and what they can, or already do for your company.

The What
API, on the surface, is complex software with a lot of technical jargon attached to the matter. However, after understanding the practicalities and the fundamentals of Application Programme Interfaces, it becomes more evident what they intend in doing.  In layman’s terms, APIs allow one piece of software to make use of the functionality or data of another. API functionality’s main purpose revolves around B2B activity. This machine to machine interface can transfer data, in real time, and provide an array of instant possibilities and efficiencies. Importantly, APIs help create seamless networks in order to improve value transfer with suppliers/vendors, clients, partners and employees.

Incredibly, since this innovation become available in 2005, the last 14 years has shown an astonishing rise in usage, illustrating how necessary and important the day-to-day use of APIs are. Below is a table of the growth of Web APIs submitted to the ProgrammableWeb directory from 2005-2018.

API Growth

The Benefits
APIs have the functional capacity to perform a multitude of tasks that can be utilised from business to business. From sharing data and processes to real-time results, APIs are a heavily relied upon software. In a nutshell, an API can help create seamless networks that improve value transfer with clients, suppliers and more. Additionally, some core benefits are:

  1. Ease of Access – In order to provide the best customer service you want to make life as easy as possible for your clients. Well, APIs can enhance the user experience and save time making your customers jump through hoops of login forms, order forms and alike. If an API is set up for your end user, integrated into their application, you are essentially removing any barriers from them using your service. This may just generate a long-term client and a happy one at that.
  2. Innovative – In some cases it is possible for API providers to incorporate functionality that end-users have adopted and extended themselves. Through traditional web applications and user experience you have pre-determined how your service is to be used. However, via API, flexibility and innovation may open up a variety of other means for your users to engage in. This could create whole new industries and verticals that you could service.
  3. On-Demand – The real-time applications of APIs provide a platform in which your users can utilise the most efficient of services. An automation of requests and responses will eradicate any roadblocks in traditional service. Your business will be digitalised and primed to scale with the functionalities that an API has to offer.
  4. Customer Analytics – Streamlining a focus on services you provide can allow your company to more directly analyse and enhance to better suit your users. User experience may depend on how the users interact with applications and time may be overspent scrutinising these fine details, rather than working on the actual services that you provide. Streamlining your focus would enable you to understand exactly what your customer’s want, allowing you to better plan your business’s strategic road map.

Cedar Rose’s Availability
Cedar Rose has always taken pride in being one of the most innovative and up-to-date companies in its field. Thus, we heavily endorse the use of APIs to provide a bespoke service to our clients on a daily basis. As we offer data all around the world to a wide array of clients at all hours of the day, we need to make sure that we have accessible services for the greater benefit of everyone. Henceforward, we have enhanced our API capabilities to allow for instant services for credit reporting, risk assessments, due diligence and electronic identity verification. We believe that our customers deserve the best, and when you need critical data for urgent decision-making matters, we can provide you with the relevant data-transfer in a fast, streamlined and secure approach.

Visit www.cedar-rose.com today to see how we can help you.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Waste Not Want Not – The UAE Fuel Initiative

Waste Not UAE

On an international scale the world is becoming more environmentally conscious, acknowledging the past failures that have caused global warming and unwarranted extreme weather. In reaction to rising environmental concerns, the UAE has adopted a new initiative that, essentially, turns waste into fuel. The United Arab Emirates are leading the way forward with their sustainable ideas and making positive strides for a cleaner, brighter future. RDF, Refuse Derived Fuel, is the product that will make all of this happen. Additionally, this streamlined focus on eco-friendliness, alternative energy and sustainability goes hand-in-hand with the upcoming 2020 Dubai Expo, which centres on the very same values.

Set in Stone
Two UAE-based contractors, Besix Concessions & Assets and TG ECO Holding have recently inked the deal to develop and operate a RDF facility in Umm Al Quwain. The construction of the facility will begin operations in December 2019 with expectations to open by April 2020. Moreover, the RDF facility hopes to start receiving waste by September 2020 and begin full operations to convert this alternative energy to practical use.

This sustainable project is set to cost an estimate of $40 million and to be co-financed by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. The benefits from this initiative have incredible potential and scalable possibilities, not only for the UAE but for the Middle East and even on a global scale. The expected outcome of the RDF facility is to be able to receive 1000 tons of waste per day, gathered from households. With this in mind, the Refuse Derived Fuel scheme will approximately divert 90% of household waste from landfills.

“Emirates RDF contributes to the UAE’s strategic objective of landfill diversion of least 75 percent by 2021 and it helps cement plants in decreasing their use of fossil fuels.” -Nico de Koning, project manager of Besix Concessions & Assets Middle East and general manager of Emirates RDF

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy is a hot topic of the 21st century, and, especially, within the last 5 years. An alternative energy source, in combination with a reduction in waste can potentially be a revolutionary factor and a turning point for civilisation. RDF is to begin operations and will be implemented in cement factories as an alternative fuel. This, therefore, means that it will partially replace traditional energy consumptions through the use of gas or coal. The signing ceremony was accredited highly, with climate change ministers present and the director of the Crown Prince’s court of Abu Dhabi. The plans for this initiative have been finalised and the green light has been given, now we wait to see what sustainable implications this may have within the UAE.

“It contributes to the UAE realizing its ambitious sustainability goals and it helps cement plants decreasing their use of fossil fuels.” -Nico de Koning, project manager of Besix Concessions & Assets Middle East and general manager of Emirates RDF

Get Involved – With Cedar Rose

Cedar Rose is an established business intelligence company with over 20 years of experience and specialises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We want to help you get involved with great initiatives such as the waste alternative energy, RDF, which the two contractors are forming. So how can we help? We can provide an extensive amount of data on companies and individuals that may help you form the right partnership, merger or help mitigate risks to keep business healthy and sustainable. As your business grows, so does the threat of risk, when you order a Cedar Rose company credit report, or due diligence investigation, you can eradicate any unwarranted potentials. Conduct healthy business with Cedar Rose.

Going Green
As a company we take great pride in making changes to sustain the environment, no matter how big or how small. We are sponsors of the Lets Make Cyprus Green organisation that promote eco-friendliness throughout Cyprus and we actively participate in their events in our fight against climate change.

What’s your country or company doing to help the environment?

Interested in more articles? Check out Saudi Arabia’s new initiative here.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant 

Sourced Image: Pixabay

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Green Card Initiative: Saudi Arabia opens its Economy

Green Card

Saudi Arabia is continuing its efforts to reach their 2030 vision of diversifying the economy, however not through traditional means. Similar to the United States green card system, Saudi Arabia is implementing a similar initiative, officially known as ‘Privileged Iqama’. This idea has been in the pipeline for over 3 years, hinted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The idea is simple yet effective, attracting visitors to reside in the Kingdom that, in turn, would boost the economy. The Kingdom is undergoing mass transformations to reach their vision, to develop robust public service sectors, enhance tourism, and strengthen the economy to create an overall better place to live, financially and socially. However, what is ‘Privileged Iqama’ and how can it really help?

“We are working on a specific program similar to the green card.” – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in retaliation to a question on non-oil revenue measures.

Privileged Iqama
Privileged Iqama, commonly known as the Saudi ‘green card’ aims to provide permanent residency to foreigners if they meet a certain criteria. It is understood that the individual would need to be wealthy, highly-skilled and without a criminal record. If you meet these three conditions you will be entitled to a residence permit without any need for a sponsor, which is the traditional regulation currently implemented in Saudi Arabia. Your status will be permanent, subject to annual renews, or, possibly, unlimited. Although, you may be screened and required to prove that you meet the conditions, however, there are many other benefits that you will receive if granted a Saudi green card. For example, the benefits include the opportunity to have ownership of property and transport, recruit a workforce, receive private employment, travel without restrictions to and from Saudi Arabia and even sponsor visitor visas for relatives. 

When this initiative was first hinted, in 2016, it was said to take up to 5 years before implementation, so far the Kingdom is right on track with their promises and their 2030 vision. 

The Benefits of the Saudi Green Card
Expatriates have always sought out the Kingdom as a great place to reside in, however, there are a handful of cases where it hasn’t worked to their favour. The burden of having a sponsor and not being given the same rights as a legitimate resident has often unfairly left some individuals who have had to pay huge sums of money to relieve a dispute. Due to the magnitude and success of expatriates in Saudi Arabia, combating this problem and finding a solution to provide them with a necessary pass, or a green card in this case, to healthily instigate business may have positive outcomes. The new system plans on producing an enhanced and robust social cohesion, inviting many to establish businesses and, for those who are already established, to continue positive and robust growth for their enterprises. The success of companies and individuals within the Kingdom will translate into the success of the country. Affluent living will attract more investors and entrepreneurs to the Kingdom, diversifying the country’s economy and keeping on track with the 2030 vision. 

In another light, providing privileged Iqama will also reduce travel barriers, with many residents having to make ‘visa runs’ every few months, eliminating queues at embassies and many other inconveniences that come with having a visa. The current limits on visas will be a thing of the past. Although this initiative is currently in its early stages, the country is making quick ground on transforming in line with their 2030 vision. Is Saudi Arabia on your radar? 

Know the Kingdom
Saudi Arabia may just be your next potential business move, however, every transition comes with a risk. Attaining a privileged Iqama is one thing, but understanding the way a country works, how to do business and any mitigating unwarranted risks is another. It is important to do your due diligence, learn how the country operates, the typical business week, formalities that you need to know, the legal system, what similar types of businesses exist and more. If you are considering engaging in employment or local partnerships, it is useful to have the full background on the individuals and businesses you may be working with.

Cedar Rose can offer in-depth investigations into regions such as Saudi Arabia, which we have been covering for over 20 years. With a due diligence investigation we can provide a safer passage to instigate business. The more you know the better. Avoid harmful surprises with high quality data, research and discreet investigative reports from Cedar Rose. 

While you’re here make sure to check out the importance of company credit reports 

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Trade Reference – Ending Late Payment Culture One Rating at a Time

Trade Reference

A trade reference is a trader’s opinion on the creditworthiness of another trader in the same trade. It should come from a business to business supplier with whom the firm is dealing with on a credit account basis. When applying for trade credit, the customer is asked to provide contact details for trade references in order for the supplier to get feedback about the experience of other suppliers in working with this client. 

Trade Reference in Cedar Rose Company Credit Reports
In the Middle East and North Africa, it is well known that there is a lack of available data with regards to actual payment history. In addition to this, companies in most MENA countries are not required to file financial statements which make credit analysis more challenging.

At Cedar Rose, for years, while compiling a Company Credit Report, suppliers have been contacted and asked to complete a trade reference questionnaire providing an opinion based on their experience with the company being investigated. The information is inserted in the system and constitutes a part of the payment history of the company. The data is assigned a quantitative measure and is included in the CR Score which is a credit risk scorecard and proprietary scoring model developed by Cedar Rose to evaluate a business risk level with a set of statistical indicators.

Cedar Rose Trade Rate Initiative
In late 2018, Cedar Rose has introduced the Trade Rate Scheme so business owners and credit managers can anonymously share their collective voice and have their say on late payments through a scoring system. Allowing companies to rate their customers’ payment performance online is both fundamental and lacking within the credit sector. This initiative aims to provide a more efficient and robust credit reporting service. By joining forces, business people around the world can help each other to make better informed choices about whether or not to extend credit and on which terms.

It’s very simple to participate in this initiative and there is no cost at all. Just search for the company on Cedar Rose website and click on “Trade Rate” to add your rating on the simple form – it takes less than two minutes of your time. Your rating will trigger is to freshly investigate your customer so after 15 days; an updated Company Credit Report will be available on our website at a discounted price for you to download.

In case the company you wish to rate is not available on our website yet, please email me on cynthia.gebeily@cedar-rose.com and I’ll make sure we add it to our database and let you know when the download and Trade Rate options are available.

Have you seen our article on AI?

Written By Cynthia Gebeily, Head of Credit Reporting

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Corruption: Steps to Prevention and Avoid Potentially Harmful Risks

Corruption

We come across this statement or the like in everyday news. A great slogan used by business professionals and politicians, equally. Yet, how easy is it to prevent corruption and embezzlement? How feasible is enforcing laws and regulations when corruption occurs? Is implementing prevention measures to deter corrupt acts and illicit practises easier than enforcing laws after corruption had occurred?

It has been argued that enforcement of corruption laws after the corruption act has taken place is far easier than corruption prevention. Enforcement is understood to be easily quantified. For instance, if a fraudulent person siphoned an entity’s funds away from the originally intended purpose, the effect of such act can be quantified and the fraudulent person can be arbitrated accordingly.

Fraud prevention, however, is a more complicated process. How many scenarios should an entity consider to ensure adherence to a “zero tolerance” fraud risk policy?

Quantifying the extent to which a corporate policy would go to prevent fraud no matter the degree of innovation and effort put to refine such policies could be limitless. Thus, any fraud prevention agenda should be inclusive of Integrity Due Diligence (IDD) checks. IDD can be viewed as a tool to apply scrutiny and in-depth investigations to identify, verify and better know your client, supplier, business partner or even employment candidates. It not only helps uncover the reported involvement of a Subject or its Principals in a pre-agreed set of specific issues including bribery and corruption, but also helps tracing Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs). IDD will proactively help you in assessing your business risks at early stages.

At Cedar Rose, we offer various IDD services. Our clients have always been drawn to our comprehensive coverage, information reliability, quick delivery times as well as the source and intelligence evaluation through our internally developed 4×4 Grading System. Our IDD services are available via our website and through Application Programming Interface (API). The scalability of our services is attainable thanks to our large team of competent local language researchers, analysts and investigators who are experienced in handling large volumes of IDD cases.

Corruption remains deadly if precautionary measures are not taken. With Cedar Rose, preventive action is made more reachable.

Check out other articles on our newsroom

Written By Lamia Massaad, Head of Due Diligence

Sourced Image: Pixabay

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

TAQA Takeover – The Schlumberger Acquisition, Saudi Vision 2030

TAQA Takeover

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is undergoing mass transformations in the oil industry. Recent events have seen Saudi Arabia’s Industrialisation and Energy Services Company – TAQA – acquire onshore drilling rigs throughout MENA which were previously owned by Schlumberger. This large operation sees the acquisition of rigs from Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan and Iraq, and amounts to a significant $415 million. TAQA believes this acquisition aligns with the core ethos of Saudi’s 2030 vision, envisaging economic and infrastructural growth. Saudi Arabia have much depended on oil that practically fuels its economy, this acquisition will bring a more robust and stable outlook to the country with hope to generate further income and achieve prosperity.

The Logistics
TAQA’s triumphant acquisition, instigated via their drilling subsidiary Arabian Drilling Company (ADC), will seek to operate a fleet of 58 onshore rigs and 9 offshore rigs across MENA. This investment in growth will generate steady income for the country and provide employment opportunities for an estimate of 6,000 employees across the firm. This acquisition is in respect to TAQA’s 2021 strategy of becoming a leading regional oilfield services and equipment company. This pan-regional drilling powerhouse will unlock value and drive growth in Saudi Arabia. Their growth-driven strategy is reflected in 3 pillars:

  • To create value through expanding into new markets and strengthening their current position,
  • Maintain current value via keeping up-to-date and current with new technologies and by providing optimum services for their clients,
  • Striving for efficiency in relation to safety, reliability and competiveness.

TAQA’s values are aligned with Saudi’s 2030 vision which bolsters the country’s position of achieving their vision.

“This acquisition is fully aligned with Saudi Vision 2030. It unlocks value and drives growth across our entire value chain through a more integrated regional approach, while positioning a leading Saudi company as a global player. The transaction also follows on from ADC’s accelerated expansion activity in 2018 when 16 rigs were commissioned to support the growth of Saudi Aramco. This new combination clearly demonstrates that TAQA and ADC are delivering on their transformation and growth strategies, and further strengthens what is already a long-standing and trusted partnership between TAQA and Schlumberger. We look forward to supporting ADC in the next phase of its expansion and have full confidence that this will benefit all stakeholders, most notably our regional clients.” – Azzam Shalabi, CEO, TAQA and chairman of the ADC board

This much awaited acquisition is set to take place in the second half of 2019, post-regulatory approvals, and will aim to generate revenue, employment opportunities and sustainability. ADC has recently undergone other expansions from as early as 2018 where the company saw an increase in 16 rigs to support the growth of Saudi Aramco. It is evident that ADC, subsidiary to TAQA, is taking an accelerated, progressive and prosperous path. ADC traditionally has a history of innovation, efficiency and safety throughout its 55 years of operations.

Strive for Excellence
Acquisitions and mergers require meticulous due diligence research to make sure you mitigate any potential risks. No matter the size of the merger, if counterparties are not investigated correctly and thoroughly the effects could be costly on your business. Cedar Rose specialises in business intelligence, such as due diligence investigations, especially throughout the MENA region. Know the company and individuals (such as directors and shareholders) you are dealing with beforehand, be aware of their associations to other entities or organisations, ensure all paperwork is in order and remain compliant. Contact our Client Services team on info@cedar-rose.com with your particular requirements.

Head on over to our newsroom for more invigorating articles. 

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

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*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Guide to doing Business in the Middle East – Tips, Tricks and More

guide to MENA

Cedar Rose has been active in the Middle East now for over 20 years, instigating business, gathering data and setting-up one of our offices in Lebanon. This article aims to provide an in-depth guide of how you can enact business in the same region. The Middle East is a vast region which has been, in recent years, both highly prosperous and sometimes unpredictably risky, but opportunities abound for those prepared with the right information. More and more companies each day are looking to this region for new business. However, it is not advisable to dive in without knowing how deep the water is. It is important to learn the facts, to understand the issues that can arise and to be prepared.

Let’s get down to business
It is no secret that extracting data and information from the Middle East is no easy task – there is a widespread culture of privacy. From factors such as decentralised data sources, free zone jurisdictions, language obstacles and a lack of advanced technology; there are hefty barriers that need to be worked around in order to have access to the right kind of information and statistical data to be successful in the region. Although the Middle East is a developing and dynamic hub for investments, it necessary to prepare yourself with the right knowledge that can optimise your decision-making for the better. This region has always attracted foreign business – partly due to low taxation – and relies heavily on imports because of a lack of diversity in local raw materials. So, opportunities abound, but what do you need to know to instigate business within the Middle East? Follow this step-by-step guide that may help you mitigate risks.

1. Know the Country

The Middle East spans over numerous territories and nations collectively. These countries, in order of population size, traditionally include Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. In some definitions, the small island of Cyprus is also included. The political situation within the region can be volatile and there are often extreme tensions, if not wars between one or more countries, civil wars between factions or formidable tribal disagreements as well as equally strong alliances. It may be wise to have a guide with you whilst you navigate around a country, to help you get to where you need to be. Judging the region as a whole is naïve as there are vast differences between economies and infrastructure, as well as GDP from country to country. Qatar, for example, has a GDP per capita in advance of $70,000 whereas in Yemen it is less than $600, so studying the particular market of interest is wise.

2. Know the Language

The Middle East is, perhaps, the most linguistically diverse region on the planet with more than 60 languages spoken, some of which include Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Hebrew and Kurdish. Therefore, instigating business may raise language barriers which would require expert translators in order to mitigate the risk of misinformation. However, language barriers shouldn’t stop you from a great potential business opportunity, so it would be wise to do your due diligence on the area you wish to enact business and find solutions to any potential language restrictions. Overall, English and/or French are widely spoken as second languages by locals within most countries of the Middle East and due to the large population of foreign nationals working and residing in the region; English has become widely accepted as the predominant business language. Arabic is widely spoken, but the dialects vary enormously from country to country so whilst the written language is the same, the spoken language may be difficult to understand, between one country and another.

3. Know the Technology

Depending on where your company originates from, there is a high possibility that there will be technological differences. Although the Middle East has recently seen a technological uproar, there are many nations in the region that still lack ‘common’ technologies. Whether it is automated border control systems on entry of a country or the requirement for manual submissions (in person) of tax documentation, it is important to understand what to expect. Not all countries in the region have VoIP, fast, reliable internet or even 24 hour electricity, whilst others are leaps ahead.Limitations in technology can halt business and be a major blockade for any success; therefore, it is important to assess the situation before diving in.

4. Know the Culture

Cultural differences may be a big factor in whether you land that deal, merge with that company or complete that agreement that you so desperately need. For example, understanding the difference in working weeks, it’s common for western countries to work a traditional Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm. However, this is usually not the case for the Middle East, so it is necessary for communication and transparency to understand your client’s working culture. Many companies in the region do not work Friday or Saturday, but they do work on Sundays. Others may close for lunch from 1pm to 3pm or have different summer and winter hours. Many government departments do not open at all in the afternoons.

Additionally, religion plays a big part in this region with certain holidays or customs that different nations respect; it will be beneficial to pre-emptively know what these are so you do not get caught up in confusion. Communication is one of the biggest factors in business, having strong connections and transparency can help with business. However, customs may vary in the Middle East, from greetings to hospitality expectations, understanding this may help your business perform better in certain regions. Face-to-face visits require a lot more preparation in order to successfully navigate your business in the Middle East; moreover, visits ‘in person’ are highly appreciated throughout this region.

5. Know the Corruption Landscape

Corruption exists in all countries in some form or other, but you only need to glance at the map on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index to see that the Middle East has a very high perceived level of corruption. Corrupt practices are commonplace in many countries and it is wise to use a reputable and highly recommended accountant and auditor to help keep your company on the right side of the law when conducting day to day business. So as not to tarnish your company’s reputation by trading or partnering with known or perceived offenders – and these may well be accountants, lawyers, highly successful business people or government officials – it is always wise to conduct reputational due diligence.

Regional Experts – Cedar Rose
In order to utilise what the Middle East has to offer it is smart to use a company that has experience within the region and the know-how that can generate opportunities and guide your business to success.

Cedar Rose has been in operation in the Middle East for over 20 years, established originally in the UK and now residing in Cyprus and Lebanon and can guide you to success. Whether you need company credit reports or more in-depth due diligence or reputational investigations, Cedar Rose can provide high quality data and reports that can help you instigate business. Our experience and knowledge will help you mitigate risks within the region and our “boots on the ground” approach can guide you in the right direction.

The Middle East offers a myriad of opportunities for great business, but it may require stepping out of your comfort zone to a complete new region and culture.

Check out www.cedar-rose.com today and see how you can utilise our services for the Middle East or give us a call on +357 25 346630 to discuss your particular requirements.

Enjoy our guide? Why not have a look at the importance of company credit reports 

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***