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Most of the region is still off this week, but we have packed this edition with everything you may have missed this week. 

Mubadala was very active, announcing investments in Klarna, Wefox, and Xilis. Swvl marks one more acquisition, Urbvan. Lengthy reports on fintech, the crypto-market and media in Saudi, the global gender gap, and Iraq's labor market.
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Omooma, UAE-based online maternity content platform, raised $2.5M in funding from E20 Investment LTD. The startup was founded in October 2021, and provides online motherhood-related courses by experts.

Aza Petrosolutions, Morocco-based petro-distribution platform, raised $296K in funding from Maroc Numeric Fund II. The startup was founded in 2020 and designs technology solutions and the production of smart and connected products for the oil distribution business.


Swvl acquires Urbvan, Mexico-based shared mobility platform, for an undisclosed value. Urban was founded in 2016, operates in 18 Mexican cities and offers solutions for urban routes, intercity routes, private organizations and private on-demand needs.  


Klarna, Sweden-based BNPL player, raised $800M in funding at a $6.7B valuation from investors including Mubadala Investments. Klarna’s valuation dropped from from $46B to just $6.7B during the past couple of months.

Wefox, Germany-based insurtech startup, raised $400M in funding at a $4.5B valuation led by Mubadala Investments. This current valuation represents a 50% increase on the startup’s valuation from its last funding one year ago.

Tropic Biosciences, UK-based crop gene-editing startup, raised $35M in funding from investors including ADQ. The startup was founded in 2014 and is currently focused on improving the yield and performance of three crops: banana, coffee, and rice

Xilis, US-based bio-tech company, raised $19M in an extension of their series A funding round from investors including Mubadala Capital Management. This brings the total value of the series A round to $89M. The startup was founded in 2019 and is developing a precision oncology platform: MicroOrganoSphere.



💰 Funds and Funding

Smart Capital, Tunisia-based management firm of the Anava fund of funds, has committed $5.2M to the Badia Impact Squared Fund (BIF2), a venture capital fund managed by Silicon Badia.
Deliveroo UAE launched a quick-grocery-commerce solution, Hop, that services clients through dark-stores in partnership with Choitrams, UAE-based grocery chain.


The World Bank published ‘The Global Findex Database 2021: Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19’ report that looks at financial inclusion since 2011 across the world. According to the report, more than half of the world’s unbanked adults live in emerging markets including the MENA region; the report estimates that 73% of adults in Egypt and 81% of adults in Iraq remain unbanked, while the number is over 50% in Jordan, Palestine, Algeria, and Morocco.

KuCoin published ‘Into The Cryptoverse: Saudi Arabia 2022’ report that surveys Saudi-based consumers about the penetration and adoption of digital currencies in the kingdom. According to the report, at least 3M Saudi-based consumers between the ages of 18 to 60 (~14% of adult population) either own cryptocurrency or have traded cryptocurrency in the past 6 months; 76% of those have less than one year of experience in owning or trading crypto. 37% of the investors are females, 48% of female crypto investors are motivated by its profitability in the long run, and 42% of females invest in crypto to gain passive income, unlike male counterparts who say they are investing to ‘not miss the trend’. [report

The World Economic Forum published ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2022’ which benchmarks the current state and development of gender parity across four key dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. According to the report, the MENA region has the second-largest gender gap yet (63.4%) to close. In the reports index, the UAE ranks first in MENA and 68th globally, with the rest of the region ranking below 119th globally. In the subindexes, Kuwait outperforms the region in Economic Participation and Opportunity, although only ranking 123rd globally. Kuwait also outperforms in Educational Attainment, ranking 47th globally. Lebanon outranks the region on the Health and survival of females, 75th globally, and the UAE ranks 30th globally (and leads MENA) on the Political Empowerment of females.

Baltic Exchange and China Economic Information Service published the ‘2022 Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index’ which ranks the world’s top maritime cities for 2021. According to the report, Dubai ranks the top 5th maritime city globally for the 4th consecutive year. [report

PwC Middle East published the ‘Saudi Arabia’s dynamic television and video market’ report that provides an overview of the media market in the kingdom. According to the report, Saudi-based consumers spend on average 5.2 hours watching TV daily, the highest in MENA. And, the average revenue per user (ARPU) for Saudi gamers is the highest in the region ($92). [report]

Iraq's Ministry of Planning, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched a national Iraq Labour Force Survey. According to the report, the unemployment rate among adults is 16.5%. The sectors with the highest percentage of employees are 16.3% in construction, followed by 15.9% in the public sector, and 14.2% in wholesale and retail trade. The percentage of female participation in the workforce is concentrated in two sectors: services and agriculture. Females' median monthly earnings are 20% higher than males.
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