FOO Managing Director, Ghady Rayess (Image: Supplied)
FOO is an award-winning, B2B Fintech solutions provider in the MENA region, which has begun to expand operations into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support digital transformation efforts sweeping across the nation.
Currently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is avidly driving digital transformation across sectors to improve business models, reduce operational inefficiencies and enhance customer experience. One sector, in particular, that is quickly adopting means of digital transformation is the financial sector, with the Central Bank having recently licensed its third digital bank in KSA. Operating at the bleeding edge of innovation, FOO builds solutions in-house using a modular platform consisting of micro-services to provide super-personalized products that empower digital transformation.
As digitalisation grows more prominent across the nation’s business ecosystem, FOO is well placed to support companies in meeting this growing demand through its innovative and agile Fintech solutions. FOO works with banks, Fintech companies and retailers across the MENA region to provide digital products that enhance business models and customer experience. Key products include solutions for remittances, digital wallets, tokenized transactions, fully automated micro-lending and BNPL.
Digital transformation in Saudi Arabia has been accelerated by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 – a national strategy to enhance digital offering across governmental and private sectors. Major targets include the creation of 25,000 jobs in the ICT sector and increasing the market size of IT and emerging technology industries by 50%. FOO’s goal is to support the country’s growing digital ecosystem.
FOO will expand operations into KSA by setting up offices in Riyadh as a foreign investment company. FOO will focus on providing solutions for digital bank, central bank digital currency based on blockchain, virtual card issuance and tokenization and merchant acceptance platforms, all enabled using our EKYC solutions. These target a variety of sectors such as financial, telecommunications and retail. FOO also plans to recruit a pool of local talent to create job opportunities in the Kingdom in addition to forming strategic local partnerships that support mutual growth.
With its expansion into KSA, FOO aims to enable companies to embrace digital transformation by creating intellectual property and enhancing digital know-how to ultimately help them shape and improve user experiences.
Ghady Rayess, Managing Director at FOO, comments: “Saudi Arabia has an extremely high market opportunity for financial disruption with 51% of the population under the age of 25. As digital transformation rapidly becomes a national priority, there is a great opportunity for Fintech companies to deliver embedded finance and transform the end-user experience across sectors. The key is understanding how businesses can integrate financial services within the fabric of their digital experience. At FOO, we are well placed to support businesses achieve this goal with agile and personalized digital solutions.”
COP28: Shelter Afrique secures grant from IsDBI to pioneer affordable housing products
Shelter Afrique, the leading Pan-African Housing Finance Institution, announced a collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) at the sidelines of COP28. The partnership aims to develop Islamic Housing Finance Products to respond to the growing demand for affordable and climate adaptive housing solutions across the continent.
The Pan-African Housing Finance Institution has sought this collaboration with the IsDBI to create tailored products in harmony with principles of responsible investing. This partnership is timely as several African countries are making notable progress in developing their Islamic finance markets, presenting untapped growth opportunities.
Shelter Afrique recognizes a gap in the availability of diversified financial products at scale. As a Pan-African Housing Finance Institution committed to innovation, Shelter Afrique views the development of Islamic finance products as a viable alternative financing model to effectively address Africa’s housing and urban development challenges.
Mr. Thierno Habib-Hann, Managing Director of Shelter-Afrique, expressed delight at the strategic significance of the program, stating, “We are thrilled to collaborate closely with IsDBI on this initiative. Rent to own schemes are natural products for islamic finance, hence will be leveraged to address the large housing gap. In addition, this collaboration aligns with our commitment towards a dedicated funding thematics dedicated to ‘Green financing and Islamic finance”.
Shelter Afrique’s continuous efforts to enhance its product offerings underscore its commitment to meeting the diverse needs of its clients and fulfilling its mandate of delivering affordable housing for all in Africa. The collaboration with IsDB, a multilateral development bank known for its impactful initiatives in member countries, positions Shelter Afrique to pioneer developing and delivering unique financial offerings and structures for housing infrastructure across the continent.
In his comments on the collaboration, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Acting Director General of the Islamic Development Bank Institute, said, “This partnership is part of our collective effort to promote inclusive and sustainable housing solutions through Islamic finance. The Technical Assistance provided by IsDBI aims to equip Shelter Afrique with the necessary tools to navigate the evolving landscape of affordable housing and urban development in Africa. We believe that through strategic collaborations like these, we can drive positive change and contribute to the continent’s socio-economic development.”
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Appoints Stephen Onaivi as New Managing Director
mediaReach OMD Nigeria Board of Directors has confirmed the appointment of Stephen Onaivi effective January 1st, 2024. Onaivi will become the managing director of the nation’s foremost media investment and management agency, known for its thought leadership and innovativeness. The Regional Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom Media Group West & Central Africa (OMG WeCA), Alaba Fadero, announced Onaivi’s appointment in Lagos.
According to Fadero, “Stephen’s appointment is the result of a careful succession planning and talent development program. He is expected to maintain OMD’s industry leadership and drive our regional growth strategy across the three critical global pillars of Client, People, and Capability.”
Onaivi is a homegrown, globally evolved professional who has been responsible for driving innovation across major brands, including Diageo, Airtel, Olam, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Google, Uber, and GSK, to mention a few across the West and Central African region.
In addition to being the Managing Director of OMD Nigeria, he has a mandate to drive the OMD brand across West and Central Africa to enhance client value and ensure the seamless integration of OMD values, technology, and strategic processes.
Before his new appointment, Onaivi was the Managing Director of OMD Ghana, where he contributed to developing a multi-disciplinary, forward-looking media and advertising industry and serviced an array of national, multinational, and regional clients.
Reacting to his new appointment, Onaivi expressed confidence that the industry leadership and innovative strides of OMD Nigeria would be maintained under his leadership, stating, “We are proud of our thought leadership and pragmatic approach to providing value-driven services to our clients, and they should expect more with our team’s renewed commitment.”
According to Onaivi, key focus areas of OMD Nigeria will include innovation driven by technology and marketing science, the development of local talents, and enhanced strategic thinking to improve the agency’s value proposition to its clients.
Onaivi is a communication expert who has attended several management training courses and conferences from renowned business schools across the globe, including the Lagos Business School and London Business School. He is a keen golfer and a firm believer in the importance of community service. He is also the founder of the “Play with Stephen” golf tournament held annually in Accra, Ghana. The tournament leverages golf as a ‘passion point’ for key decision-makers to create awareness and support for Autism across Africa.