In Season 2, Episode 2 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host and Atlantic Council empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad speaks with Facebook Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ramez Shehadi on digitization, the future of e-commerce, supporting SMEs, and changes needed to improve the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If we want to evolve the general wellness and well-being of communities in our part of the world, we must significantly invest in enabling, equipping, and supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises.”
1:23 Ramez talks about digitization of the Middle East economy, what it means and what he is seeing on the ground
3:40 MENA internet penetration higher than global average
5:22 Ramez shares some of the reasons why he feels that businesses are still struggling to join the digital world
7:55 100,000 UAE Golden Visas for coders: Who can apply and how
8:53 Ramez talks about what he does with his role at Facebook to get more of the SMEs online and be digital
9:30 New unicorns spike 491% to 136 in Q2, says report
11:10 Facebook launches #LoveLocal initiative in MENA
14:22 Ramez talks about how the pandemic has been kind of a wake up call for the SMEs to go big and digitalize
17:09 Huda Beauty
17:44 Will conversational commerce be the next big thing in online shopping?
18:04 Ramez talks about e-commerce and c-commerce and how they are evolving in the Middle East region and what plans Facebook has towards that
22:42 Dubai ‘ghost kitchen’ Kitopi is adjusting to life in a pandemic
27:06 Ramez talks about the transformation of Facebook in terms of the revenue structure and how it changes as the environment changes
29:15 Ramez talks about advertisements in the Middle East and if it has fully digitalized in terms of even putting the advertiser’s money online
32:18 Ramez also talks about scalability and how brands are being able to scale globally thanks to platforms like Facebook especially in the Middle East
36:16 Ramez talks about what people should be focusing on in the ecosystem for them to be successful especially in the Middle East
39:15 Ramez talks about entrepreneurship and why we need to widen its definition so as to even accommodate the small businesses and what can be done to help the SMEs
42:36 Ramez talks about how Facebook balances its business goals and the social issues especially in the Middle East region
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The empowerME Conversations podcast features conversations with business and government leaders shaping the Middle East. The podcast sheds light on key opportunities and challenges for companies and governments, and Season 2 will focus on CEOs in the region.
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