Emerging Technologies

100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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View of Dubai, the base of many Arab startups

Many Arab startups are headquartered in Dubai Image: iStock

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The impact.

Our selection builds on the success of an initiative that began in 2017, working to integrate the most promising Arab startup entrepreneurs into a national and regional dialogue on pressing challenges.

The 100 startups in 2019 were selected out of almost 400 applications. They represent 17 countries and a range of sectors, including education, energy, environment, finance, health, media and mobility.

What’s the challenge?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has presented the Middle East and North Africa with unprecedented challenges that need to be solved through community innovation, collaboration and technology.

The Startup Ecosystem in the Arab World shows entrepreneurship is booming across the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, $900 million was invested across the region in 386 deals, an increase of 31% in total funding in 2017. Entrepreneurs and startups are playing a key role in facilitating new ideas, strategies and progress in society – and need to be given a greater platform to meet the region’s most pressing challenges.


The 100 Arab startups initiative is not just a platform for recognizing promise but a way to bring great minds together to discuss the limitless possibilities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the next breakthroughs that the regional ecosystem can deliver. The Bahrain Economic Development Board is proud to partner with the World Economic Forum on the search for the 100 Arab startups shaping the future.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, Board member of Bahrain Economic Development Board

Our approach to empowering Arab Startups.

The World Economic Forum and the Bahrain Economic Development Board have proudly partnered for many years on the selection of 100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The initiative gives entrepreneurs across the region the opportunity to benefit from a tailored programme where they discuss the future of their industries with government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.

Among the 2019 selected startups are: Wahed Invest, UAE, the world’s first halal investment platform; MonoJo, a biotech company that uses camel milk to develop antibodies based in Jordan; Proximie, a company from Lebanon that uses augmented reality for surgeons to contribute remotely to clinical procedures; Swvl, an app from Egypt that reinvents public transport with fixed fares and booking; Malaeb, aplatform to meet fellow football players and book pitches in Bahrain; Akkasa, a production company shaping Oman’s cultural landscape; Epilert, a bracelet that detects epilepsy seizures and sends alerts to care-givers in Tunisia; Coded, based in Kuwait, the first coding booth camps for the Arab world; Clean City M3kod, an app for civic engagement in Morocco; and FalconViz, a company from Saudi Arabia conducting a range of mapping, including that of cultural heritage sites, with autonomous drones. The work of the startups and entrepreneurs is helping to solve some of the Arab world’s most crucial challenges.

A selection committee of experts on the startups ecosystem in the region worked with the World Economic Forum and the EDB to screen and select the 100 Arab startups.

For the full list and more information about the selection committee, click here.

The Arab world will need its private sector to address youth unemployment, the current skills gap for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the inclusion of women in the workforce. Startups, and the entrepreneurs building them, are key to a strategic public-private dialogue on these issues and to creating corresponding new opportunities in society.

Mirek Dusek, Deputy Head of the Centre for Geopolitical and Regional Affairs, World Economic Forum

How can you get involved?

The World Economic Forum is helping ensure a significant global impact through enabling initiatives like the 100 Arab startups. You can contribute to improving the Arab region’s future and solving its unprecedented challenges by partnering with us.

Join us today and help shape a better future
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Join us today and help shape a better future
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