Investigative Due Diligence: Challenges and Solutions

Investigative Due Diligence

Cedar Rose has been leading the way with Middle East, focused Investigative Due Diligence Investigations since 1997. International companies doing or aiming at doing business with companies or persons in the MENA region tend to face many challenges, the main one being corruption, therefore, enhancing the need for investigative due diligence to be undertaken.

This is defined as the misuse of public power by politicians or appointed civil servants for private gains. Corruption at Government level tarnishes the perception of the country’s stability and quality of investment potential thus hindering foreign direct investments. The entire population can be affected as a result of inefficient allocation of resources. It might manifest itself as a simple payment request by a low level governmental employee, commonly referred to as petty corruption. Large scale corruption schemes where decision makers are implicated at the very highest political, executive, judicial or legislative levels is commonly known as the ‘Bystander’ effect.

The Bystander effect – is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help.

Corruption at corporate level may manifest itself in many ways but it always leads to the same results: Bad reputation and a loss of market share. Bad reputation and negative commercial standing mean less business due to the lack of trust.

In general – Corruption schemes mainly include:

  • Bribery schemes – the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of a thing of value to influence a business decision.
  • Kickback schemes – vendors make undisclosed payments to employees of purchasing companies in order to enlist the employees in overbilling schemes
  • Bid-rigging schemes – an employee fraudulently assists a vendor in winning a contract through the competitive bidding process
  • Economic extortion schemes – employee demands payment from a vendor for decisions made in the vendor’s favor. Refusal to pay the extorter results in harm to the vendor
  • Illegal gratuities schemes – giving or receiving something of value to reward a business decision

These schemes can be committed by the public sector and by private companies, equally. Their existence in both private and public sectors has devastating results.

Lack of transparency in the MENA region, has its direct effect on understanding the reputation of a subject individual or a subject company. How do you know for instance that you are dealing with a company of good reputation and commercial standing? Open source searches and media scan may facilitate understanding the reputation of a company or a person. Yet, is it enough? Can you take these open sources as trusted sources? The answer is: Definitely not. With today’s access to social media and internet sources anyone and any company can create the profile that suits them more but this would not necessarily be the profile reflecting the reality. They use media and social media platforms to make you believe what they want you to believe. To these companies or persons, Perception is Reality.

It is worth noting companies operating in the MENA region are not obliged by law to publish their corporate and financial information. Some companies do not even care to have a detailed website or any social media presence describing their activities and line of business.

Many Politicians are businessmen and many businessmen are politicians. This may lead to nepotism, favoritism, and leveraging of the existing political system to obtain personal benefits.  The association of a politician with a company may sometimes be visible but this may not be the case most of the times. This is mainly because their exposure will trigger questions regarding any possible conflict of interest, and the misuse of power among many other questions.

Understanding the business network (such as Ultimate Beneficial Owners – UBO Affiliates and business involvements is paramount. Access to corporate information in MENA jurisdictions does not necessarily mean direct access to the shareholders of the company, to its UBOs or even to its affiliates. Access to this information may require exhaustive investigative approaches to various types of sources and commercial authorities. In some jurisdiction, the corporate information is only available in the Arabic language which even adds to the complexity of the whole process especially for International companies willing to do business in the MENA region and which do not have dedicated and specialized Arabic speaking analysts and researchers to overlook the whole KYC process.

Corporate information is not essentially found in one place. This information may be rather decentralized and scattered across different departments of a commercial authority. The concept of one stop shop is a foreign one to many jurisdictions. This of course only adds to the complexity of obtaining credible corporate information. While some jurisdictions have transformed into e-governments thus facilitating access to corporate information, others are rather complex ones. The investigative process of obtaining corporate information is a manual and complex one which takes days if not weeks.

We at Cedar Rose are here to listen and to assist with your requirements.

Please contact Business Development Manager, Helen Lambrou at helen.lambrou@cedar-rose.com for information or simply call on +357 25 346630.

See more articles on investigative due diligence here.

Authors:

Lamia Massaad, Head of Research & Analysis

Wassim Antar, Senior Due Diligence Analyst

*** 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. ***

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. ***

Uber acquires Careem: Largest Technology Transaction in the Middle East

Uber Careem

Uber is set to acquire Careem, the most valuable tech start-up in the Middle East. This acquisition holds great potential for all parties involved. Careem currently operates in over 90 cities whilst employing over a million drivers. Careem, the Dubai-based rival of Uber, has shown a multitude of successes throughout its operations. Although an acquisition is set to take place within the next seven or eight months, Careem will still operate as an independent company. The fact that this acquisition purports to be the largest ever technology transaction, greater than Amazon’s $580 million acquisition of Souq in 2017, lays the foundations for the significance of Careem and the success of Uber.

History in the Making
Uber’s intentions are to acquire the Dubai-based ride hailing app Careem for a whopping $3.1 billion. The merger will have a lot of nooks and cranny’s to sort through, however, both sides have agreed to a deal that should be finalised within the first quarter of 2020. Importantly, Careem’s employees and fleet of 17,000 limousines, which operate in Dubai and the entirety of the UAE, are set to become a part of the merger.  Nonetheless, this significant agreement of $3.1 billion (Dh 11.39bn) is reportedly welcomed amongst all the parties involved.

“It’s a great day for the Middle East, for the region’s thriving tech sector, for Careem, and for Uber.” – Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber

Careem’s stakeholders, which include Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment, firm Kingdom Holdings Company and Rakuten Inc, the Japanese e-commerce company, had agreed to the terms of the arrangement prior to its public announcement. Additionally, according to WAM, the United Arab Emirate’s state news agency, during the meeting there was praise over the safe investment environment that Dubai in the UAE provides to major international companies.

Ups and Downs
Uber and Careem have previously been direct competition to one another; both of the company giants have experienced success over one another throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The ups and downs that the two companies experienced may have influenced the final agreed upon deal of a significant $3.1 billion. Careem’s price potentially saw a rise due to their fierce competition against Uber. Nonetheless the deal poses great potential for both companies, with Careem still able to operate independently of Uber. It is also important to note that the breakdown of the price translates to $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes, which can be converted into shares.

Acquire and Merge
Acquisitions involve long processes of getting to know a business, their operations and the ins and outs of the whole ordeal. The amount of nitty and gritty that is involved can be overwhelming and result in high risks. After months of negotiations, meetings and paperwork, the last thing you’d want is for a merger to fall apart. Therefore, it is important to do your due diligence pre-emptive of any acquisition.

Cedar Rose offers a meticulous service that can help with all acquisitions, mergers and ventures into the MENA region, which, like many places, has a minefield of risks amongst a fountain of opportunities. With an Enhanced Due Diligence investigation our expert and experienced local research and analysis teams will be able to overturn every rock in order for you to have as much information as possible on the companies and people involved in any investment in the region. This will give you peace of mind over a long and time-consuming procedure so you can proceed with confidence; secure in the knowledge that Cedar Rose can provide extensive information that will help you to mitigate the risks.

Contact orders@cedar-rose.com today to find out more about our Enhanced Due Diligence investigations or check out www.cedar-rose.com for an online quotation.

Have you read up on our article concerning data-driven sales?

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. ***

Adapt, Overcome and Diversify – The Oman Way

Adapt - Oman

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA), collectively, have embarked on a mission to diversify their sources of energy. From solar power initiatives in Egypt and the UAE to windfarms in Oman, the MENA region is expanding their sources of energy in an eco-friendly manner. Each entity that makes up the MENA region has had to adapt to these newer forms of energy, spreading a major influence across the nations. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has envisaged a region that draws much of its energy from renewable sources. Many nations in the MENA region have implemented visions of greener energy and Oman is the next country in the limelight with their current ongoing implementation of a windfarm in the Dhofar Governorate.

Adapt
Oman has adapted to an ever-growing demand, to diversify their energy sources, and is expecting to complete the windfarm project by Q3 2019. This initiative will be the GCC’s first utility-scale windfarm with expectations of generating electricity to supply around 16,000 homes. The Dhofar Governorate presents itself as a suitable region for the implementation of the wind turbines. However, due to the harsh weather conditions, the wind turbines needed to be tailor made by GE Renewable Energy, in order to withstand intense heat and arid desert conditions. Nonetheless, the Dhofar project is one of many ideas to harness renewable energy in Oman.

The entire project is funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) which reinforces Oman’s commitment to amplifying their energy sources. As stated, an estimate of 16,000 homes will be supplied with clean renewable energy; however, this is not the only significant factor. In addition to transferring cleaner energy across Oman, the nation is also offsetting an average of 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, annually. This alone is an incredible feat and a sign of a modernising and forward-thinking society. The world, in the last decade, has turned its head towards cleaner energy and greener solutions to replace the redundant ones currently in use. The Gulf region already suffers with extreme heat and humidity and relies on air conditioning to sustain comfortable living during most of the year. Governments and organisations in the region have proven to be very supportive of new initiatives and have implemented many techniques to provide more sustainable living.

“Supporting the diversification of Oman’s energy mix and economy is our top priority, in line with Oman’s sustainability goals, which aims to generate 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.” – Saleh Al Rumhi, CEO of Tanweer. 

Is Oman the next step for you?
Oman has proved that it can adapt, overcome and diversify to newer means of energy. Eradicating their reliance on traditional forms of energy has superseded future support to transform the nation entirely. This is upheld by the overriding vision which aims to generate 10% of electricity from renewable resources by 2025. The onset of these initiatives is generating an exciting, forward-thinking and ambitious nation that may prove to be pivotal in the upcoming years.

With Cedar Rose, you can navigate, instigate and operate within Oman. Being the leading industry experts for the MENA region, Cedar Rose has compiled sourced and relevant data on Oman that may help your company’s next move. Cedar Rose has been active in this region for over 20 years, in which we have gained a network of resources at our disposal, to provide quality data for others to use. By ordering a due diligence investigation we will be able to conduct an in-depth investigation of your potential business partner, customer/supplier or conduct research for investment motives. Cedar Rose’s due diligence teams consist of experienced and professional individuals, fluent in Arabic, French and English who can conduct meticulous research for your peace of mind. Our data is globally trusted, reliable and detailed. To find out more, go to https://www.cedar-rose.com/solutions/investigative-due-diligence or email orders@cedar-rose.com for a full quotation.

If you enjoyed our article on Oman, make sure you check out our other articles as other countries adapt towards clean energy 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. ***

Deal or No Deal: Cementing together the Saudi-Russian Relations (Part 2)

Deal OPEC

The much anticipated OPEC meeting that took place in Vienna, Austria, on the 6th of December has finalised and reached an agreement of sorts. The significance of the meeting was at an all-time high due to the fact that oil prices have crashed more than 30% within the last two months, which has caused pressures to intensify in oil exporting countries. The deal got off to a rocky start with no conclusive output levels decided upon the first day, which elongated the meeting to the next day. With pressures rising on all sides within the OPEC and its allies, the importance of agreeing on a deal was fundamental for the continuity of the organisation and for the maintenance of relationships afar.

Deal
After much needed deliberation, OPEC and its allies concluded, on the 7th of December, on an agreement, including actual figures. The deal rested on the inclination that oil production would be cut by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd). In light of the relations between OPEC and its allies and to highlight the strength of their relations, the 15-member OPEC cartel agreed to reduce output by 800,000 bpd. The remaining 400,000 bpd to be cut was part of the deal and will be contributed from Russia and the allied producers (non-OPEC). OPEC began capping supply in partnership with Russia in January 2017, and since then their relation has made significant progress, highlighted in this recent settlement. One of the highlights of the meeting in Vienna was Russia deriving at exact figures of output reduction, settling at a 2% decrease from their October production of 11.4 million bpd which equates to an estimate of 228,000 – 230,000 bpd.

Controversial Deal
However, although output figures were reached, relations were strengthened and decisions were made, there is still controversy around the deal that was finalised in Vienna. Many are still awaiting exact figures that will be cut from each member of OPEC and the oil-producing nations. Little has been released in terms of exact figures from individual members, aside from Saudi Arabia, who are aiming for an output level of 10.2 million bpd in January (down from 11.1 million in November) and Russia as previously stated. Additionally, there was some controversy in regards to members wanting to be exempt from the output reduction deal which lead the discussions to hit an impasse. Saudi Arabia originally refused to accept Iran’s bid for exemption, however in light of the US sanctions on Iran, that have already significantly reduced their exports, Saudi accepted Iran’s plea for exemption.

Committed for the Long Haul
Although the deal portrayed a few minor hiccups, a prolonged meeting and some disagreements, an agreement was reached and relations indicate prosperity between OPEC members and their allies.

“This is partly driven by our commitment to start on the right foot in 2019 and to demonstrate that delivering on this agreement is not going to take a long, protracted period of gradually winding down. […] We say what we mean and we deliver on what we say.”Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.

This statement released by the Saudi Minister highlights the determination and motivation of their cause, in synchronisation with the rest of OPEC and their allies. Thus, their dedication to start 2019 strong and optimistically is an insight into the growing prosperity between Saudi Arabia, Russia and the rest of the OPEC members. The future of OPEC seems robust for now, until their mid-year meeting (pushed to April) to review changes and impacts on their new course of action.

New Year – New Ideas
With this devoted plan of action to take place throughout the course of 2019, it would be beneficial for companies and individuals to have the right business intelligence. Cedar Rose offers the largest database for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with data compiling on over 11 million companies and comprehensive credit reports with more data contents than the world’s largest providers. Our specialised coverage of the MENA region and developing countries is second-to-none. Whether you need a company profile check, litigation investigations or a directorship and shareholding report, Cedar Rose may have the business solution for you.

With an ever-changing atmosphere throughout MENA and the developing countries, it is important to stay current with any and all changes, in order to mitigate risks. Our bespoke feature of ‘monitoring’ (added to the Business Credit Reports) can help you track any changes to your clients’, suppliers’ and partners’ profiles. You have the opportunity to be notified when something critical happens to them, if they get downgraded, or file for bankruptcy and much more. Stay in the know with Cedar Rose’s largest MENA database and award-winning credit reports to potentially mitigate any risks that may come your way.

Check out our Newsroom for further insights into the MENA region and developing countries.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

Sourced Image: Usplash

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

Cities Alliance – The Tunisia Country Programme

Cities Alliance Tunisia

Tunisia is paving the way forward for future initiatives and becoming a visionary country. It is subject to the first ever Cities Alliance Country Programme in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with major investors supporting the programme. From the World Bank to the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), prominent actors are fully behind the Cities Alliance vision for Tunisia. Through strengthening strategic city planning and fostering collaboration across the country this programme sets out to establish a decentralised and cooperative country which will reap the inherent benefits. Tunisia is in the process of becoming a country of exciting investment opportunities not to be missed.

Trust the Process
Through a serious of planned, structured and innovative changes, Cities Alliance hopes to implement a sustainable and robust city planning ideology within Tunisia. The overriding and fundamental aim is to establish a greater coherence amongst all levels: national, city and community. This foundation will set a path for greater strategic plans concerning urban development and any and all city planning. Furthermore, the decentralised nature of Tunisia’s Country Programme enforces and develops democratic practice by involving citizens into the planning and decision-making process.

The programme is structured around three main pillars: scaling up strategic city planning, setting up participatory approaches to city management and informing the national urban debate.

  1. Scaling Up Strategic City Planning:
    In order to pioneer such a vision there will need to be a consensus amongst the actors involved. Additionally, due to the many investors and parties engaging in the strategic planning, it is a must to bring about a platform for consultation. The actors are external donors, city federations, local governments, communities and NGOs. With the correct implementation of coordination, these actors can work in harmony and synchronisation with one another for maximum efficiency. The Cities Alliance programme will be working with eight secondary cities of Tunisia to engage in city development strategies with the goal of disseminating strategic urban planning. The initiative aims to collaborate across the whole country instead of its current structure where much of the focus is traditionally directed towards the coastal cities.
  2. Setting Up Participatory Approaches to City Management
    This area focuses on increasing interaction between cities, communities and the national government in terms of urban planning. The Country Programme vision seeks to bring additional resources to streamline the implementation of the, already in place, national programme. Additionally, to implement change, there are numerous actors supporting Tunisia, which include the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the European Union and the World Bank.
  3. Informing the National Urban Debate:
    This focus will attempt to help Tunisia better prepare to deal with key issues related to cities that are likely to be confronted in the near future. Information is key, and this reform will allow for a more informative country and a system that works in cooperation and understanding of management and development processes. The Cities Alliance initiative hopes to initiate debate and a strong flow of information on topics such as: regionalisation, the role of cities, intercity collaborative governance, gender equality in city development and city management, and the elaboration of a national urban policy.

The vision that Cities Alliance is attempting to bring to Tunisia contains a multitude of benefits and opportunities that will be reaped by all. This initiative may be the kick start that Tunisia has been waiting for and it will prepare the country for a brighter tomorrow.

A Land of Opportunity
The Cities Alliance Country Programme is a positive step, not only for Tunisia, but for the entire MENA region. The stability and robust infrastructure that this initiative will bring opens up doors for incredible investment opportunities within Tunisia. “Cities Alliance is working to develop synergies and encourage coordination among actors, for more coherent national policies,” – Claire Azzabi, World Bank Tunisia Country Office. There is an array of investment opportunities within the country due to the fact that 75% of Tunisia’s urban population lives in the coastal cities, along with the bulk of their industry. The Cities Alliance project will provide the resources necessary to revive mainland Tunisia, and provide benefits not only to the developing cities but the coastal development can also improve through more coherent communication with its counterpart.

Maximise the Full Potential of Investing
When investing in a new country you may be concerned with the logistics, the operational factors and other unknown issues due to not having any involvement with the country in question. However, through Cedar Rose you can obtain extensive information, detailed reports and subscriptions on companies and individuals in Tunisia. Cedar Rose are an expert business intelligence solution that provide the highest quality data and in-depth due diligence investigations throughout the MENA region.

There are some risks that come with exporting into unknown territories; however, Cedar Rose has got you covered. Our credit reports include a risk calculation which allows for a visual risk assessment of the company in question. Our award-winning credit reports are second to none and come in a variety of formats. The Cities Alliance Country Programme is envisaging a developed country with plenty of opportunities for external investments. Cedar Rose can work in tandem with the prospect of opportunities by placing credible information in your hands, either via API or downloaded reports; you are able to receive data wherever you are. The source graded and detailed data we offer can be the deciding factor that ensures maximum security over your future investments.

Contact our Client Services Team for a quotation today.

For similar articles visit our newsroom.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Intern

Sourced ImagePixabay

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

Sanctions on Iran: What to know and How to Stay Involved

Iran Sanctions

The United States have recently imposed, or better yet, renewed sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted (two years ago). President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the multilateral deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under the influence that it contained “disastrous flaws” that posed a security threat. The implications of the sanctions on the economic state of Iran will and have already caused disruptions to imports and exports of goods and services. However, it is important to understand that business with Iran can continue with the right knowledge and ‘know-how’ of the operations within the country. Firstly, it is essential to understand what the sanctions entail in order to assess how your company can still enact business in Iran.

Sanctions – What to Know
The sanctions are divided in to two sets. The first set includes restrictions on:

  • Iran’s purchase of US currency.
  • Trade in gold and other precious metals.
  • Sale to Iran of auto parts, commercial passenger aircrafts and related parts/services.

This set of restrictions came into effect on August 7th.  Furthermore, a second set of restrictions are set to be implemented by November 4th. The second set includes:

  • Restrictions on sales of oil and petrochemical products from Iran.
  • Sanctions on Iran’s ports.
  • Restrictions on foreign financial institutions transacting with the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian financial institutions.

Individual named entities, people, companies and even aircraft are also sanctioned. Both sets of sanctions will have impacts on the economy of Iran that may make it difficult to export to and import from. Sanctions on Iran have mainly prohibited the US and EU from conducting business as most banks in these regions will not accept payments from Iran. Nonetheless, there are many opportunities for the Middle East and other regions to continue their business arrangements within Iran.  For example, foreign banks that are most willing to cooperate with Iranian banks are: BCP, KBC and HALK Bank. Additionally, Iran has reopened branches in European countries and, importantly, in neighbouring countries such as the UAE. The seven emirates of the UAE are free to commence trade with Iran without concern over the imposed sanctions.

Stay Involved and Do Your Due Diligence
Cedar Rose provides services which can assist in the continuing of business within Iran, whilst remaining compliant and secure. With our vast database and high coverage of data within Iran, Cedar Rose offers a multitude of solutions that can benefit your business. There are two important investigations that Cedar Rose offers to support healthy and secure business arrangements in Iran, but can also be applied throughout the MENA region. Firstly, a Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) investigation may be an imperative operation to take on-board, through our investigative due diligence team. This investigation will assess how politically exposed a business may be and it highlights the negative connotations that this may hold. Performing this check can mitigate potential risks of involvement, especially if a country has been sanctioned. Secondly, our Compliance and Regulatory checks may provide detailed information that can ensure a successful business arrangement. When sanctions are imposed there are many known implications, yet, there are also unknown and, potentially risky, implications that may need to be addressed. Our Compliance and Regulatory investigations are able to assess the risks and provide incomparable data through dedicated and meticulous research.  Additionally, the due diligence investigations can be performed globally or nationally, providing tailored made checks for optimum benefits.

Our due diligence reports come in a variety of specifications, from company checks, person checks and even affiliates and relationship checks of said person or company. The extensive nature of an investigative due diligence report provides a secure and professional solution to mitigate risks. Furthermore, we can offer bespoke or tailor-made reports, what you require to be included or researched from a variety of specifications. This allows for exact and specific investigations for direct and comprehensive answers to your concerns. When enacting business within a sanctioned country it may be wise to pre-emptively investigate to ensure a successful business arrangement.

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Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Intern

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

Investigative Due Diligence Report – What is it & Why you need one?

Investigative DD

Investigative due diligence has a variety of important functions and factors that can mitigate risks for your next business transaction. In order to full utilise what investigative due diligence has to offer, we need to assess what it is and what it can do for you. When conducting a business arrangement it is important to know what you are getting into. For example, when you buy a car you would check how many miles it has on it, if it is functional, the history of where the car came from and much more. Therefore, when dealing with B2B arrangements the variety of factors that you need to take into account are of a much greater magnitude with a higher level of risk potential. So what really is an investigative due diligence report and why do you need one?

The Dot to Dots of Due Diligence
Imagine you are exporting goods abroad and company ‘x’ wants to buy your products. Due diligence answers, ‘who is this company ‘x’, what is their history, who are they connected with and much more.’ Performing a due diligence investigation shows care taken before entering into an agreement. This is necessary in order to make informed decisions and access information to assess risks, with the ultimate goal of mitigating any and all potential problems. Investigative reports provide peace of mind and full compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) obligations.

When you want the latest source of information of the highest credibility it is necessary to opt for an investigative due diligence report. The in-depth potential of these reports can filter out information on your potential partner, client or investment regarding connections with Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), Ultimate Beneficial Ownerships (UBOs), litigation checks, reputational checks and many more. The investigative nature of due diligence reports can sieve out any factors that may create risks and highlight any problems that your business may face when conducting B2B arrangements.

Due diligence reports require expert knowledge, reliable sources of information and a vast network of resources in order to extensively cover a specific sector. Due diligence investigators and analysts often require knowledge of several languages, meticulous research skills and a street-wise approach that cannot necessarily be taught in any university. They often need to sift through reams of data and intelligence as well as conducting discreet interviews to find the hidden information that is usually the most revealing.

Investigative Due Diligence – Brought to you by Cedar Rose
Cedar Rose offers professional reports of the highest calibre. Our team conducts research in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond. Since 1997, Cedar Rose has built a trusted network of resources and contacts within the region in order to provide clients with the strongest and most reliable source of information. Through our specialised research we can provide reports, documents and even photographic evidence to assist your company in making safe transactions. Our due diligence team are extensively qualified and experienced in conducting meticulous research throughout the MENA region and beyond.

The reports provide accurate, detailed and, importantly, reliable information, thoroughly investigated by our team. Whether you are checking the reputation of a company or performing a litigation check, Cedar Rose may have the right report for you. These easy-to-read reports can help build a successful long lasting and secure business relationship.

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Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Intern

Sourced ImagePixabay

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