Edtech Learning Tools & Platforms in MENA 2020

So far schools in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, and Kuwait, Morocco, Libya, Qatar are shut for at least two more weeks to a month (schools in Oman, Tunisia remain open), as COVID-19 locks down cities and countries whole.

We aggregated education tech companies from across MENA in a reference chart to help teachers, school management, parents and professionals with their remote-learning efforts and maximize their time.

This is the updated version of the diagram shared in the Week #72 Newsletter
تحديث على الرسم المعلوماتي لمنصات وأدوات التعليم الرقمي في المنطقة التي أصدرت في الموجز #23

We only covered products produced in the Middle East and North Africa in this table, I’m sure many use Coursera, EdX, Khan Academy, etc, however these platforms get enough coverage as is and do not necessarily cover the needs of the average student, teacher and parent that has to home-school and remote-teach over the next few month.

The most important note is that Arabic remains the dominant language of education in MENA and the most language parents and majority of professionals are comfortable with. While Dubai-dwellers, and workers in tech may feel otherwise, these are services that are currently needed by every household across MENA as a necessity and that forces us into the reality: Arabic is vital for mass, inclusive and equal reach.

Interesting observation:

  • All Academic Distance Learning solutions in MENA are primarily in Arabic.
  • 80% of Professional Distance Learning Solutions are in Arabic, the rest are English first.
  • 9 of Distance Learning Platforms, Academic and Professional, are funded by governments in the UAE, Saudi, Oman & Jordan.
  • All Early Learning Content is Arabic first, and 50% provide English content as well.
  • 75% of all services are available in Arabic, while 49% of services are provided in English.
  • Most of the solutions and services are headquartered in Saudi (22) and the UAE (21) of a total of 85 services listed
  • 69% of solutions are geared toward empowering the Education sector (Academic Distance Learning, Teaching and Tutoring tools, eLearning infrastructure)

*this chart is compiled through hours of online research and some online recommendations, we are likely to be missing some services especially in Early Learning Content as that’s a space that publishing houses are increasingly involved in. We have also not included platforms that are no longer active and ones that are based heavily outside the region (UK is a popular HQ for Edtech companies it seems).
If you have questions about the graph feel free to tweet me or farah.

MENA’s Digital News, Week #25

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions

Gulivery, Somali mobile meals and groceries delivery, add e-hailing service http://bit.ly/2Haf38a 

Tarjama, UAE-based language service provider, raised $5M in a Series A round led by Anova Investments to develop its Ureed platform, an online marketplace focusing on translation and content services http://bit.ly/2XOGXvR 

Dsquares, Cairo-based B2B loyalty solutions provider, raises (undisclosed amount) investment from Algebra and Ezdehar http://bit.ly/2SWdX1n 

Mrsool, Saudi On-Demand Delivery Service, Completes A “Multimillion-Dollar” Series A Funding Led by Raed Ventures and STV http://bit.ly/2EZBPwm

VentureSouq invests in Hello Verify, India-based online background check platform http://bit.ly/2T1x3Dd

Sector News

Jumia files for IPO on the New York Stock Exchange https://tcrn.ch/2T1Oe7J

Network International, Dubai’s payment network, files for IPO in London at a valuation of ~$3B https://bloom.bg/2HxRXYB and appoints the deputy chairman of WorldPay to lead the IPO https://on.ft.com/2VYhG0k


Nabd, Regional Personalized News App, Launches Live Streaming Service http://bit.ly/2tXxHb3 

Weyyak, Zee Entertainment’s first Arabic Video on Demand platform in MENA partnered with Samsung to host exclusive content offerings via their Smartpack http://bit.ly/2CktEde


Foodonclick is now officially Talabat http://bit.ly/2F0lJ6P

Jollychic signs MoU with SAGIA to “bolster Saudi Arabia’s digital economy”. details of how and when are not clear from the release http://bit.ly/2NVU1Lp


FundedByMe Granted License to Operate Crowdfunding Platform in UAE http://bit.ly/2CmZpCz

Emaar will be engaging in crypto but not in real-estate purchasing (as previous rumors claim). Emaar is employing Swiss-based, Lykke AG (ETH based), to develop a community token that can be used across Emaar’s properties and services to drive customer services, loyalty and referrals. http://bit.ly/2O2QJpv

DIFC launches $10M fintech fund and has appointed both Wamda Capital and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) to manage it http://bit.ly/2F4dAOC 


Rotana, hotel management company, will pilot a direct distribution agreement with Airbnb http://bit.ly/2XX1yyb

VIVA Bahrain And Etisalat Sign Agreement On SmartHub Data Centre In The Middle East http://bit.ly/2T08tTu 

Further Readings

Al Mashreq Bank announces plans to close 50% of it’s branches as part of it’s digitization strategy https://reut.rs/2XSYqDf

DXB remains world’s busiest airport in 2018, handling 88.9M international passengers in 2018 http://bit.ly/2HxB549

Business Models #LookingEast to China

A couple of weeks ago Facebook announced a shift towards “privacy” that raised a few eyebrows across the industry. Not just because Facebook can’t decide what it wants to be, but also because Facebook makes money from data, all our data, for advertising (and beyond).

However I had just listened to Brian McCullough‘s Techmeme podcast episode with Connie Chan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, about her latest article: “Outgrowing Advertising: Multimodal Business Models as a Product Strategy

Connie confirms the vulnerability of Facebook and Google’s most lucrative business models which is vitally dependent on advertising. What happens when laws like the GDPR hit and governments start to take notice and fight back against the data abuse and “friendly-fraud”

The reason I decided to talk about this, it Careem’s latest interview on Forbes that declares it’s vision to

“build more businesses on top of it (infrastructure). We will build some verticals ourselves, but we are also building a framework upon which others can build upon our platform”

While Careem is not an advertising business it was for a long time dependent on one highly-competitive revenue stream: ride-hailing. It have recently launched it’s food delivery “Careem Now”, and more importantly Careem Pay, the first (and only) truly regional P2P payment method in MENA.

What is everyone modeling around: WeChat; the one app that’s killing apple’s ability to penetrate china. An app that the Chinese live by.

Facebook failed in its countless attempts to enter China, is this a fresh attempt?

Something to think about for the weekend.

To get your daily dose subscribe to MENA’s Digital News telegram channel here: https://t.me/technologyinmena

MENA's Digital News on Telegram

You now join the daily updates on whatsapp (admin posting only) right here

2018 Christmas Gift Guide II

This post is an aggregate of friends’ suggestions base on last week’s post, which you can check out here

L’Atelier Roulant 

Custom plexi-cut products, great for those looking for a personalized edge, or a personalized gift box that can be re-purposed around the house

You can order via DMs on instagram 

Janys De

Buying gifts for men is tough, believe me! Cufflinks with a cultural and modern twist might be a nice touch though. A plus if they’re up-cycled patterns 

You can order via the whatsapp number on instagram or on Janys De’s profile on Little Majlis

Entrepreneurship in Exile

Entrepreneurship has been a game-changer across the globe and MENA is no different. It takes perseverance and a lot of drive to make it work and the plight of the Syrian crisis has been prime grounds for persevering men and women to create businesses wherever they land and thrive.

Also a book available by donation on the author’s website

The Bombchel Factory

Fashion statement pieces handmade by Liberian women, oh and the prints are simply a party! 

You can shop on their online store, and custom order as well, though not sure that’s a good idea in time for Christmas

Yara Berjawi on Redbubble

Shameless plug, but hey who doesn’t want to support their artistic friends when they take a leap of faith and venture into their world of creation <3


You can shop Yara’s designs on Redbubble

Kanj Workshop

Also a friend, but a programmer not an artist, who has launched an on-demand 3D printing service in Lebanon. You can order from what’s online or custom order. 

 Direct orders can be made on Kanj Workshop’s online store.

Not online, but worth the shoutout


More leather goodness, I mean really, who doesn’t want a piece that only gets better with time? Scoche’s Christmas collection is also here:

 You can find them at the The Semicolon Story in Badaro, Beirut. The store also has great local designers, upcycled, recycled and hand made products. 

Can we take a moment: 

View this post on Instagram

Lines of Liberty #recyclingisliving #terrazzo

A post shared by Jean-Paul Fares (@jp.recycledesign) on

Happy Holidays 2018