[IMF Connect] MaxAB CEO Featured on IMF Spring Meetings Panel Regarding Middle East Entrepreneurship
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the most youthful regions in the world. It has an opportunity to embrace the digitalization drive to address its long-term economic challenges of stubbornly high unemployment, low productivity, inequality, and a wide gender gap.
At this year’s IMF Spring Meetings held last week, the organizers hosted “Young Entreprenuers and the Digital Transformation of MENA,” featuring three young regional founders. The panel was moderated by Jihad Azour, Director of Middle East and Central Asia Department of the IMF, and Bo Li, IMF Deputy Managing Director provided opening remarks. Panelists included Belal El-Megharbel, Co-Founder and CEO of MaxAB (a Flourish portfolio company), Fatma El Shenanwy, Chief Strategy Officer of Kazana Tech, and Hazma Rkha Chaham, CEO of SOWIT Ag Intelligence.
The panelists described their journeys from idea to a successful business by leveraging digitalization to solve customer problems in the region. They also outlined opportunities for structural reform to address persistent market and cultural problems, and explained the need for a broader business and government ecosystem in the MENA region to support innovation.
You can see the full 42-minute panel discussion here, and Belal’s contributions start at 13:10. His company offers a digital platform that manages grocery procurement and access to financial services for local grocery stores throughout Egypt and Morocco. MaxAB now features 80,000 retailers with the aim of connecting the micro-retailers of the MENA region who make up 90% of the grocery market.