Sports industry valued at $5B in 2023

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Sports industry is valued over $5 billion in 2023, policy advocate specialist, Phiwe Hlatshwayo, cited the global sports market report 2023.

Hlatshwayo affirmed that Africa’s sports industry has potential to drive economic growth and development.

She emphasized the transformative power of sports in shaping Africa’s future, elaborating that sports is a tool for social cohesion, equality, economic growth, and international cooperation.

Hlatshwayo highlighted during a speech, titled, “the business of sports in Africa” the economic impact of sports, citing examples like the 2010 World Cup in South Africa contributing significantly to the national GDP.

“The 2010 World Cup in South Africa contributed over $5 million to the national GDP. The 2010 World Cup also generated direct impact on labor with over that with 1000s of jobs being created through infrastructure construction, hospitality, which showed the potential for the business of sports to significantly shape Africa’s economic future,” she stated.

Hlatshwayo referred to the challenges, saying that the continent faces challenges such as lack of financing, and reliable data.

“It’s imperative that we gather pertinent data to inform decision makers bridge the talent management gap. Investing in sports education and training in schools is vital to identify and nurture young talent,” she said.

She concluded the speech by sports has the power to build hope, unity, and cohesion in Africa.

This came during a presentation on the second day of IATF2023 which is currently being held in Egypt from Nov. 9 to 15.

The IATF2023, which is the third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, provides a platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people with a GDP of over $3.5 trillion created under the African Continental Free Trade Area, according to the African Union.


Qatar commits $1.5 billion investment in Egypt’s industrial sector

Qatar is investing approximately $1.5 billion in Egypt’s industrial sector in 2024, according to Head of the Egyptian Commercial Service, Yahya Al-Wathiq Billah.

This announcement marks the first mention of Qatar’s new investments in Egypt since the agreement between the two nations in March 2022, which outlined investments and partnerships worth a total of nearly $5 billion.

Al-Wathiq Billah’s highlighted a 47% increase in trade volume between the two countries in 2022, although specific figures were not disclosed.

The Qatar Egypt Investment Forum, inaugurated by Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir, served as a significant platform for fostering economic cooperation and exploring investment opportunities between Qatar and Egypt.

The forum, attended by Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim, showcased Qatar’s commitment to Egypt’s economic growth. Bin Qassim stated that Qatar had already invested over $5.5 billion in Egypt’s financial, real estate, and energy sectors.

During the event, Saud Omar Al Mana, the CEO of the Qatari Al Mana Group, made a notable announcement. Al Mana revealed plans to inject initial investments totaling approximately $60 million into the Egyptian market throughout 2024.

The investments from Qatar are expected to have a substantial impact on Egypt’s industrial sector, promoting growth and creating new job opportunities.


Italian Mapei completes first phase of its $25M factory

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Italy’s Mapei invests about $25 million to establish a factory in Egypt with a production capacity of up to 100 thousand tons annually. This came during Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s inspection of Mapei’s factory during his tour to visit factories on the 10th of Ramadan City and El Obour City.

The Regional Area Manager Middle East & East Africa at Mapei, Andrea Perini said that the factory extends over an area of 28,000-meters established on two stages with a total investments of 25 million dollars stating that the first stage of the factory was finished. The factory is scheduled to open next year.

Perini asserted that the factory employed 100 workers, highlighting that the production capacity of the factory is 100 tons annually.

Madbouly highlighted Egypt’s keenness to deepen local production and encourage and empower the private sector, pointing out that the Egyptian market is huge and encourages pumping investments in it.

Earlier this year, The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), said that the trade volume between Egypt and Italy increased in 2021 by 29 percent to reach $5.8 billion compared to $4.5 billion recorded in the previous year.

Moreover, Italian investments in Egypt increased by 40.3 percent during the first quarter of the financial year of 2021/22, reaching $448.8 million.


Over $2B investment in 9 key Egyptian industrial projects during 2023

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The Minister of Industry, Ahmed Samir, announced the signing of 12 agreements and partnerships in nine integrated industrial projects, with a total investment exceeding $2 billion during 2023. These projects span sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, metals, chemicals, and electric cars, and are part of the industrial partnership initiative involving Egypt, the Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain.

Samir highlighted the ministry’s achievements throughout 2023, emphasizing its commitment to developing the Egyptian industry and boosting exports to global markets.

In terms of industrial lands, the ministry allocated 1,099 plots covering a total area of 4.167 million square meters to investors in 2023. The total number of units in industrial complexes reached 3,298 across 16 complexes. The Housh Issa Industrial Complex in Beheira Governorate was inaugurated, featuring 864 industrial units in various sectors.

Operational licenses for 23,446 industrial facilities were granted, along with 9,970 industrial records across diverse activities. The ministry issued 872 building permits. Additionally, 1,945 studies were conducted to explore customs reductions for sectors like transportation, household appliances, lighting tools, fractional motors, and various products.

In the field of product development, 2,717 studies were carried out, encompassing government agencies’ needs, determining local component percentages for tenders, and value-added certificates. Furthermore, 3,619 technical studies were conducted for tender requests, accompanied by 22,345 technical inspections and 370 technical consultations for hazardous chemicals.

The Ministry facilitated 80 contracts for the sale of industrial lands, covering an area of 752.5 thousand square meters. The annexation of six industrial zones was completed, amounting to LE 219.5 million.

Environmental approvals for licenses numbered 10,915, and 2,110 civil protection inspections were conducted for prior notification licenses.

In relation to the Rubiki Leather City, the first phase reached 100 percent completion, the second phase 85 percent, and the third phase 98 percent. The efficiency of the first phase of sewage stations was enhanced by 95 percent.

Moreover, contracts for 113 industrial units were handed over to 60 investors in the two industrial complexes in New Fayoum.


SCZONE inks $234M deals for five industrial projects

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The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) signed five major framework agreements, valued at a $234 million. These agreements have been reached with private sector companies operating across various industrial sectors.

The total investment amount will be divided into LE 1.2 billion and $195 million. The SCZONE aims to leverage these agreements to capitalize on Egypt’s resources and provide incentives to attract more investors.

Here’s a breakdown of the five agreements:
Apparel manufacturing: Aurajlo Company for Garment Industry will construct a state-of-the-art apparel manufacturing facility spanning over 75,000 square meters. The project, valued at $150 million, will operate under the usufruct system, effectively granting the company the right to use and develop the land for a defined period
Plastic recycling: A subsidiary of the Youssef Allam Group will embark on an ambitious PET plastic recycling project. With an investment of $15 million, the facility will cover an area of 10,000 square meters
Textile and Dyeing: Jade Textile is set to establish a cutting-edge textile and dyeing project, spanning an impressive area of 100,000 square meters with total investments of $65 million
Pharmaceutical manufacturing: Orchidia Pharmaceutical Industries will build a pharmaceutical factory across 10,000 square meters with investments exceeding LE 1 billion
Wood industry: El Hamd Company’s wood industry project will occupy an area of 12,700 square meters with investments amounting to LE 129 million

The Chairman of SCZONE, Walid Gamal El Din, revealed that these five agreements are just the beginning, as negotiations for an additional 50 agreements are currently underway.


Bahrain Secures High Rankings Maintaining its Standing as a Global Destination for Talent

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Bahrain ranked in the top half (27th) of 64 global economies on the 2023 Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Talent Ranking, climbing 8 positions since 2022 and placing 2nd in the Arab World. The rankings assess three factors of each country: the investment in and development of home-grown talent, the appeal factor – which goes beyond the focus on retaining the local workforce incorporating the ability to tap into the overseas talent pool, and finally the workforce’s competencies and quality of skills.

Owing to a tech-savvy, driven, and diverse workforce, Bahrain has cemented itself as a leading destination for international investors that are seeking highly skilled talent. Moreover, the island nation’s strategic location in the heart of the Gulf offers promising operational growth opportunities for businesses seeking to tap into the Middle East and North African market and beyond.

A strong indicator of the deep-rooted investor trust in Bahrain’s talent pool, the past few years have witnessed leading regional and global industry leaders base their service centres and technology hubs in Bahrain. Citi’s Global Tech Hub, the regional service centres of both Talabat and PwC Middle East, alongside the recently announced KPMG Low-Code Centre of Excellence, are collectively set to generate 2410 employment and training opportunities for the local workforce.

Bahrain also performed remarkably well on the “Readiness” index of the report analysing the talent landscape, which assessed key criteria including availability of international experience and competency of senior managers, landing an overall score of 73.7%, earning Bahrain the admirable position of 6th globally in both finance skills and language skills.

With sector-wide digital transformation initiatives implemented year after year, the government and private sectors in Bahrain operate as an agile collective, harnessing the ‘Team Bahrain’ approach to continue to foster a thriving ecosystem conducive to successful long-term business performance, thereby cementing the strategically located island nation’s eminence as a value-adding destination for investors.

Nada AlSaeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said, “Talent competitiveness increasingly hinges on a country’s commitment to empower its workforce. For Bahrain, the continued investments in talent have gained the trust of investors, further demonstrated in the rise of global data centres and tech hubs setting up their roots locally.”

The Chief of Strategy added, “These home-grown achievements enable Bahrain to build on its position as a leading destination for talent on a global scale, owing to the local Bahraini’s working side-by-side with a diverse pool of global experts offering specialised skills and qualifications to serve international clients and their future demands.”

With recent initiatives that include Tamkeen’s ‘Kawader’ skills portal, which connects local talent with high-potential job opportunities in the ICT sector, as well as the establishment of the nationally backed initiative Hope Talent, a talent management organisation that matches high-achieving candidates with the right job opportunities, Bahrain continues to earn its stripes as a leading destination for highly skilled talent. Bahrain’s forward-looking government continues to invest in the local talent pool, upskilling and reskilling individuals with the requisite skills to meet rapidly changing market needs. The creation of high-value job opportunities is one of the key pillars under the national Economic Recovery Plan launched in 2021, which prioritises the development of an innovative, adaptive local workforce, targeting the employment of 20,000 and the training of 10,000 annually until 2024, with a focus on the financial services and ICT sectors.


Fintech Forward 2023 Successfully Wraps Up its Inaugural Event in Bahrain

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Fintech Forward 2023 (FF23) wrapped up its inaugural event last week, which was held at Bahrain Exhibition World securing more than 900 attendees. Following an evening networking session and dinner on October 10, the event for the first day which was held as part of FF23, ‘The Transformation Agenda: Finance Re-imagined’, was programmed by Economist Impact with the support of EDB, included a one-on-one interview session with Binance Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder, Changpeng Zhou, known as “CZ”. The interview was conducted by Alice Fulwood, a Wall Street correspondent at The Economist, where CZ weighed in on the potential disruptive effect of cryptocurrencies and the future of finance and the economy, sharing his worldly views on what the wise rules of cryptocurrency should look like when it comes to regulatory frameworks.

Throughout The Economist Impact-programmed event on the first day, leaders and investors across finance gathered to network with key decision makers from the industry and government, gaining cutting-edge insights from the interactive panel and fireside chats which featured speakers from more than 15 countries including industry experts from JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and MIT, and leading fintech companies from MENA, Japan, Brazil and beyond. Day One additionally featured the panel ‘Spotlight on the Middle East,’ which delved into the region’s vast investment opportunities owing to a large consumer base, and ample room for innovation and growth for financial players and fintechs, taking a deep dive into Bahrain’s fast-growing ability to groom, attract, and retain qualified talent. The panel featured Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board, Abdulmohsin Al Omran, Founder and Chief Executive of The Family Office, Michel Sawaya, CEO of Citi Bahrain, and Remo Giovanni-Abbondandolo, MENA General Manager of

With innovation in Bahrain’s Fintech ecosystem reaching new heights, backed by nation-wide digitisation efforts, FF23 has cemented itself a flagship event for regional and global financial industry players seeking to connect with businesses and key decision makers in investment and regulation. By bringing together expert panelists to reimagine what the global financial landscape could look like to discuss an array of relevant topics from diverse perspectives, FF23 works towards cultivating a productive roadmap towards the digital transformation of finance.

Bahrain’s digital talent pool was another hot topic across Day One, programmed by Economist Impact, as well as Day Two, repeatedly cited across the various discussions and panels as a unique differentiator for the island nation. With a bright future ahead, brimming with opportunity for investors and businesses seeking a highly skilled, bi-lingual diverse workforce, Bahrain’s forward-looking government continues to invest in the local talent pool supported by both Bahrain-based and international institutions by upskilling and reskilling individuals with the requisite skills to meet rapidly changing market needs to foster a future-ready workforce. In a panel discussion titled “Developing the Next Generation of Tech Talent” hosted on Day Two of FF23, the conversation tackled modern strategies that nurture Bahrain’s young and driven workforce, providing valuable insights into the financial ecosystem, bringing together Yanal Jallad, Managing Director of Reboot Coding Institute, Bruno Martins, Associate Partner IT Advisory, Technology Consulting at KPMG, Mohamed Al Mahroos, Partner at PWC alongside Latifa Mohamed, General Manager at Hope Talent.

Owing to a sophisticated digital infrastructure, agile regulatory reform, and overall ease of doing business, Bahrain has solidified its position as the prime destination for all things fintech. With a forward outlook for up-and-coming technologies in fintech, open banking, cryptocurrencies, and a readiness to embrace AI advancements, Bahrain has established itself as a magnet for fintechs looking set up and expand into the region.

Held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, in partnership with Bahrain Economic Development Board and powered by Bahrain Fintech Bay; FF23’s dynamic agenda encapsulated the most relevant topics in the fintech horizon across its three themes of Innovation, Regulation and Investment.

To stay tuned on the dates of next year’s edition FF24, visit the following link.


On the Sidelines of GITEX, Bahrain EDB Attracts USD 295 million in ICT as part of total Direct Investments worth USD 1.4 billion

A testament to investor confidence in Bahrain as a global destination for talent and investment
Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) has attracted USD 295 million in direct investments within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector as part of a total projected direct investment worth USD 1.4 billion, during the first nine months of 2023. Stemming from 14 local and international projects, the direct investments for the ICT sector, are expected to generate over 1,600 jobs within three years.

On the sidelines of GITEX, Musab Abdullah, Executive Director of ICT Business Development at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said, “The continuous development of the ICT sector is a strategic priority for Bahrain and remains a pivotal contributor to the diversification and growth of the national economy. This milestone achievement in direct investments for the ICT sector will result in a positive ripple effect across sectors, with digital transformation being a cornerstone of sustainable economic development.”

Musab Abdullah, “Together with its progressive regulatory government, and ease of doing business, Bahrain has earned its standing as the destination of choice for companies seeking highly skilled, future ready talent. Leading technology companies have been keen to tap into the Gulf’s rapidly growing market, and we take pride in witnessing impactful investment projects and industry giants in the ICT sector choose Bahrain as the base for their operations in data management, customer service excellence, software development and service delivery.”

Backed by progressive government frameworks, an unparalleled direct operating cost advantage (28% lower than the region), and a young and tech-savvy population, Bahrain continues to cement itself as a leading destination for ICT talent and investments on regional and global levels.

Recent investment projects include the regional cable system of Saudi Telecommunication Company (stc), which was awarded a Golden License earlier this year. Additionally, Talabat’s largest shared services centre in the region chose Bahrain as its host destination for the quality of its digital talent and its attractive investment environment, demonstrating Bahrain’s ability to provide professional services at regional and global levels.

Driven by a clear vision and a forward-looking government Bahrain has made great strides in its ICT sector owing to the world-class connectivity of its infrastructure, solidifying its position as a results-yielding magnet for investment and digital transformation. Bahrain is now leading the world when it comes to governments hosting its data and services on the cloud, with 85% already being hosted on the cloud.


According to an Economic Impact Study Published by IDC Cloud Spending Projected to Contribute USD 1.2 Billion to Bahrain’s GDP by 2026

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Based on a recently published Economic Impact Study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), cloud spending in Bahrain is projected to contribute over USD 1.2 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP by the year 2026 (an equivalent to approximately 2.3% of GDP). This is expected to generate an economic return of USD 6.7 for every dollar invested in cloud technology and projected to create over 9,300 jobs. The results of the study, which conducted a comprehensive analysis of national investments in cloud technology and infrastructure to determine its impact on the economy, determined that Bahrain’s forward-looking legislation, business-friendly environment, and digitally skilled local talent, have been pivotal in achieving a remarkable cloud journey and technological progress.

According to IDC, Bahrain has demonstrated strategic and tactical awareness in its agile responsiveness to global trends in an era of digital innovation by being the first in the region to mandate a national Cloud-First policy, which led to increased cloud spending in 2019. Having conceptualised a cloud security framework, and enacted flexible regulations, Bahrain has established a mature, cloud-ready infrastructure and ecosystem, effectively positioning itself as a leading regional cloud and data centre hub in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The white paper additionally determined that Bahrain’s Cloud-First Policy, the public sector’s commitment to digitising national infrastructure, and the ongoing investments in cloud-based solutions have led to enhanced operational performance for organisations across multiple sectors, where the use of data analytics and advanced AI technologies will further fuel nation-wide cloud adoption. Bahrain’s leading position in digitising its economy and advancing its ICT infrastructure with key digital initiatives was spearheaded by government bodies including the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) and Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB).

The collaborative efforts successfully accelerated cloud adoption and digital transformation, leading to new regulations being pioneered in Bahrain, such as the data jurisdiction law. This was further backed by the Labour Fund, Tamkeen, which has consistently invested in the upskilling and reskilling of the national workforce. As a result, Bahrain has secured key success stories as part of its digital transformation journey, in the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which chose Bahrain as the destination to host the first AWS Region in the Middle East and North Africa in 2019.

“Bahrain adopted a Cloud-First policy early on in its digital transformation journey and we are proud to have been the first cloud provider, implementing advanced and secure technology infrastructure aiding in the growth of the country’s IT and cloud spending. At AWS we continue to meet the demands of our customers as new trends in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and many more are emerging at an accelerated pace, driving positive change and economic impact. We are committed to supporting Bahrain as it makes strides in investing in cloud infrastructure across all industries,” said Wojciech Bajda, Managing Director, Public Sector, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, AWS.

“As Bahrain successfully drives its Cloud-first strategy, economic benefits multiply from the ability to scale resources and leverage the workforce, increase accessibility and productivity, and reduce costs while increasing security. Bahrain’s Cloud first strategies will result in accelerated innovation, further stimulating the digital economy,” commented Jyoti Lalchandani, Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director of IDC Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

Musab Abdulla, Executive Director of Business Development, ICT, at Bahrain EDB said, “Bahrain has continuously led the region in digital transformation and adoption of latest technologies. This has resulted in a number of strategic benefits to the Kingdom, including being the globally leading government adopter of cloud infrastructure, with over 85% of all government entities and services being hosted on the cloud. In addition to leading by example, Bahrain’s unique value proposition which offers a highly skilled workforce, unparalleled financial freedom, and the region’s most competitive average annual operating costs has cemented Bahrain as the destination of choice for cloud computing providers including AWS.”

Another key takeaway of the report outlined the economic impact of Bahrain’s cloud adoption, where a similar study conducted by IDC in 2021 analysed the impact of cloud services spending in Europe, which began prior to 2016. Despite the fact Bahrain’s major cloud spending did not start before 2019, the impacts of its GDP contribution, revenue, and employment are similar. Spending on public cloud services in Bahrain is expected to grow by 14.9 times between the base year of 2018 and 2026 — making it one of the fastest among countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.


Conexus Resources Group Expands Global Portfolio with its Inaugural USD 100 Million Aluminium Plant in Bahrain

Conexus Resources Group, the UK-headquartered pioneer of innovative solutions in the metals and agricultural commodities sectors operating in 15 countries across the world including Switzerland and Singapore, announced today the inauguration of its flagship aluminium rod plant in Bahrain, Konexus Aluminium. The new facility affirms Bahrain’s standing as a leading destination for manufacturing and export hub to international markets. With an investment value above USD 100 million, the state-of-the-art 32,000 metric tonnes per annum facility will leverage the Group’s combined expertise in cutting-edge processing and logistical capabilities in managing global value chains to process liquid aluminium from Bahrain’s national manufacturer, Alba, into high-quality aluminium rods, serving regional and international clients.

Currently the second largest non-oil contributor to real GDP standing at 13.9% as of 2023, Bahrain’s manufacturing sector has maintained a healthy pipeline of national and international companies which includes Alba, the largest single-site smelter outside of China producing more than 2% of the world’s aluminium output, offering manufacturing companies investment-ready land for aluminium downstream projects. The sector remains a point of focus as one of the five priority non-oil sectors outlined by the national Economic Recovery Plan.

Dr. Khaled Fahad Alalawi, Assistant Undersecretary for Industrial Development at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, remarked, “This inauguration marks yet another milestone achievement that stands as a testament to Bahrain’s thriving manufacturing sector, where Bahrain continues to provide companies with an ideal gateway to tap into the Middle East market and beyond.”

He continued, “Over the past 18 months, Conexus Resources have made remarkable progress in establishing their rod plant facility, owing to the collaborative efforts of Team Bahrain as well as Alba. This initiative is a giant stride for the local manufacturing sector and is furthered by a larger strategic plan that will see the development of the Kingdom’s aluminium downstream park, further placing Bahrain at the forefront of aluminium manufacturing on regional and global levels.”

Manufacturing companies operating in Bahrain benefit from a business-friendly environment, a favourable tax regime, with 100% foreign ownership enabled across most sectors, and expert insights backed by a diverse portfolio of aluminium manufacturing companies that effectively complement downstream clustering. Export-focused firms gain streamlined connectivity to international markets with advanced air and sea freight connectivity and direct access to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via the King Fahad Causeway.

Brijender Pal Singh, Chief Executive Officer of Conexus Resources Group, added, “We are pleased to officially go-live with production at our newly constructed and inaugurated state-of-the-art aluminium rod plant in Bahrain. Konexus aims to provide high-quality aluminium rods to global industrial uses, and Bahrain was a clear destination of choice given the availability of experienced and highly skilled local talent, duty-free trade advantage and strategic location that offers direct access to one of the fastest growing markets in the world.”

Ali AlMudaifa, Chief of Business Development at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said, “Beyond its strategic location and free trade agreements covering 22 countries, Bahrain provides investors the best value manufacturing operational costs in the region with unparalleled export efficiencies owing to a world-class logistics zone, providing fertile ground for companies looking to set up and expand across the region – the Konexus Aluminium plant is a welcome addition to Bahrain’s thriving aluminium industry, adding-value with their niche experience and capabilities.” In line with the sustainable development goals outlined in the national Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), Bahrain has continued to strategically develop its non-oil priority sectors to sustain national economic growth and diversification. As part of the ERP, the Industrial Sector Strategy (2021-2026) set out a roadmap to further elevate the Kingdom’s manufacturing sector, which includes the recently launched US Trade Zone, and the development of the Aluminium Downstream Park. Situated near the Alba factory, the Park aims to further develop Bahrain’s logistics sector by providing the necessary infrastructure to establish a downstream zone for the aluminium sector to attract local and foreign investment.