How Technology is increasing the Food Security in GCC

Опубликовано: October 13, 2020 в 09:52


Категории: Insights


The global pandemic of 2020 has brought to the global attention the need for advanced food security, supply management, and self-sufficiency.

A new United Nations (UN) report launched in 2019 states that the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. It is also expected to peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100.

A growing population always comes with its merits and challenges as well. 

Most people love to talk about food; but as the global population increases with the society currently faced with a pandemic and the impact of climate change on how we live, food production, security, and distribution must become sustainable. Practical ways to reform agriculture such as soil conservation, consumer education about behavioral changes, and the use of technology to produce, distribute, and reduce wastage ought to have a place on the discussion table. 

As part of EROE’s Business Transformation Explained Webinar series, CEO Daniel F. Solomon led a panel made of Jude Hamod from SRTIP and George Stoyanov from Grant Thornton to predict the future of food security, and answer questions on how innovation and technology can be used as tools in tackling food waste. 

With an extensive background in technology, Jude is the Head of Business Development at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park whilst George is a Partner at Grant Thornton, a tax and auditing firm in the UAE.

What is food security and how is it economically impacting the UAE and the GCC region?

The United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security defines it as the means by which “people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.” The core of food security is whether people have physical access to food and whether they can feed themselves. 

Secondly, do people have economic access or economic strength for food? This can be looked at from the point of not only the individual person but collectively; first as countries and then from a global perspective. This means that each individual has the opportunity to have food and access its distribution and economic elements to support their families, nations, and so on. This should be done in the most environmentally sustainable and friendly manner in a supply chain cycle that is viable and secured making sure that food is not wasted. 

Each member of the cycle will play a pivotal role in this, and so it is everyone’s business to make this a mindset. Food production, capacity in terms of harvesting as well as technology plays a crucial role. These thoughts were shared by George Thornton during the discussion.

Locally, the UAE stepped up the vision towards the future of food security by launching the National Food Security Strategy which aims to make the  UAE one of the world’s best countries in the Global Security Index by 2051 and among the top 10 countries by 2021.

Main challenges to food security for a global population heading towards 9 billion by 2050

From a technology perspective, Jude Hamod believes that the population is still growing and GDP per capita is also increasing which drives global demand for foods that are resource-intensive such as processed foods. It’s not exactly the availability or affordability factor always for her, however, the main problem is the impact on the environment. Resource-intensive foods have had a negative impact on the environment such as on water, global warming, and the loss of biodiversity. There are ways to tackle these with the right technology. Farming techniques that use resources more efficiently, incorporating food waste processing well, and also going towards a diet that is less based on animal intensive resources is a way to go even though, with the latter, food may become more expensive.

The role of innovation by farmers and how we can support farmer-led innovation to tackle some of these challenges.

The agricultural sector has different challenges globally. In the UAE water consumption is one of them. Techniques such as vertical farming or hydroponics which aim to yield productivity through soilless, precision agriculture which uses satellite, productivity monitoring, huge use of drones, and IoT and technology must be implemented on a large scale. Currently, Jude Hamod mentioned one of the three companies in the UAE which are fully equipped to apply these techniques and several others and must be supported from all angles such as Agritech (Agricultural Technology) and Finance to sustain them. Making technology accessible means investing heavily in technology and innovation.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme has warned that an additional 130 million people could face acute food insecurity by the end of 2020, on top of the 135 million people who were already acutely food insecure before the crisis. This is alarming, and a reflection of the looming impact of food insecurity.

What is the best way to turn people into producing locally and how can it help improve the entire supply chain?

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted livelihoods especially in the F&B and Hospitality sectors which are traditionally big in the UAE. We have to support the production of locally produced food even from the perspective of the consumer. Fruits and vegetables are the most perishable items in terms of the food supply chain system and so they rank high in the wastage part. This is why local supply should be encouraged. Hypermarkets and local online stores can also help here. Governments and regulators have a role to play as well. Financiers such as banks can help by investing, and this will create a domino effect to the benefit of all, according to George. There are many opportunities in Agritech and using analytics will be helpful to prevent food loss. Innovation is key.

How do we address the controversy of constantly producing more food to meet the growing demands of the population?

A large percentage of fruits and vegetables always go to waste. They are most susceptible to food wastage because of their natural elements which makes them more perishable. Transporting them means that there may not be a need to add more additives in preserving them. We, therefore, need to find ways to curb the food wastage percentage. It uses the law of increasing numbers. Companies can take advantage of this to optimize waste, improve storage facilities, transportation, and many more in a bid to curb waste. Harvest technologies and packaging is crucial.

Jude believes that controlling storage and transportation is important. The education of people in the supply chain can also help prevent waste. Most solutions are AI-based and so traceability technology is needed to improve the operations and reduce inefficiencies. The use of AI for analytics also helps in forecasting and planning instead of overproducing. Innovative packaging is also important in helping the consumer in being more conscious. This improves dynamic pricing for example on perishable goods.

How do we go beyond price, whilst educating the consumer about how to avoid food waste?

Panelists agree that we must ensure people are buying more organic food, changing consuming behaviours to more sustainable and nutritious foods. We must also encourage the use of applications that help people to be nutrition-conscious leading to 

sustainability is becoming a necessity and not a trend.

Changing the approach to nutrition, Consumers should become conscious buyers and different stakeholders have to be involved in eliminating food waste that leads to insecurity to support the UN goals. 

How do we address food security, nutrition, and waste in the years to come?

First, technology is key and so, companies and startups need funding to be able to use it effectively. Testing is also important to make sure techniques are viable.

Key stakeholders have to be consulted extensively to help implement these technologies.

The UAE has very high ambitions in going ahead in the rankings of the Global Food Security Index. In light of this, we all have a role to play. The role of regulators is vital, and authorities can play an active part however consumers have an equal responsibility of supporting the national vision by educating themselves and by changing harming inherited commercial behaviours. 

Moreover, financing support is key and investors should turn their attention towards startups and companies producing innovative solutions to support the change towards food sustainability.

Least but not last, an important component remains the nutrition and sustainability education, which should be implemented from an early age so that the next generation can develop a greener mindset from the very start.

Consumers, startups and governments together can achieve the National Food Security Strategy of the UAE. We all need to do our part to move everything forward.


REPLAY NOW: The Fintech Era of GCC – driving change from the legacy system to a tech-enabled future

Опубликовано: October 12, 2020 в 14:50


Категории: Webinar series

In this episode of Business Transformation Explained we are joined by Triska Hamid, Editorial Director at Wamda, Jon Edward Santillan founder of Denarii Cash and Milind Singh founder of rise and XARE in a thought-provoking discussion about the fintech industry of GCC.

With a growing ecosystem of start-ups, we are decoding the fintech social impact in the GCC, what drives change in the region, how the start-ups managed to implement tech-enabled ideas and lead the way from moving towards the future from the legacy system.

Our Speakers:


Triska Hamid is the editorial director at Wanda where she drives the platform’s content agenda from features to research. She has covered the mean telecoms and technology landscape for the past 10 years and has been published in MEED, the FT, The National and the Telegraph.  


Jon Edward Santillan founded Denarii Cash, a mobile technology platform that enables money transfer to help overseas workers to send money home.


Milind Singh is an entrepreneur and fintech innovator that is dedicated to revolutionizing the financial services sector to provide accessible banking solutions to more than 250 million migrant workers worldwide, and the billion people who depend on them  

Milind’s venture with rise began in 2016, with an aim to democratize banking to provide a range of solutions to those that cannot access mainstream products and services. He is deeply committed to developing technology that empowers people around the world to have greater control over their own finances and be the bank that they need to support their friends, families and communities. 




Daniel Solomon is the CEO and Delivery Advisor of EROE, a business and digital transformation agency with global operations in Dubai, San Francisco, Lagos & Odessa. As a seasoned professional, Daniel is known for driving growth and the employment of strategies that are guaranteeing the success of project delivery. Daniel’s expertise blends leadership, people’s culture, technical skills and practical case studies aimed to help intelligent businesses to grow and change the way world works. Together with a team of experts at EROE, the consulting agency became the business transformation ally for global partners such as Coca Cola, Lexus, Virgin Mobile, Tenaris, LNG, Abdul Latif Jameel and numerous others.

Decoding the Future of Money – Banking Without Banks

Опубликовано: September 24, 2020 в 16:42


Категории: Media Mentions

EROE, a boutique business transformation consultancy based in Dubai and San Francisco, recently hosted a webinar on 8th September called “Decoding the Future of Money – Banking Without Banks” together with leading specialists from McKinseySecurrencyTarabut Gateway and Bosa Advisors.

EROE’s series of webinars Business Transformation Explained continues to shed light on the important subjects across vital industries in the region. Part of a 3 episodes webinar set to decode the future of money, the edition Banking Without Banks is drawing together global and regional experts in the financial industry.

See more on The Fintech Times

EROE to host “Banking Without Banks” live webinar with financial industry experts

Опубликовано: September 7, 2020 в 15:33


Категории: Press Releases

 EROE announced that it will host the webinar “Decoding the Future of Money- Banking Without Banks” together with leading specialists from McKinsey, Securrency, Tarabut Gateway and Bosa Advisors. 

EROE’s series of webinars Business Transformation Explained continues to shed light on the important subjects across vital industries in the region. Part of a 3 episodes webinar set to decode the future of money, the edition Banking Without Banks is drawing together global and regional experts in the financial industry. 

Hosted by EROE’s CEO Daniel Solomon and moderated by Kareem Monem, regional thought leader in digital transformation, the webinar brings to the hot seat the current banking system, its challenges and how fintech, innovators and technologists are bridging the gap between legacy systems and futurist technologies where value transcends money and banking becomes a personalised experience. 

“In 2019 data from the Central Bank of the UAE showed that the banking sector in the UAE is the biggest in the Middle East and Africa, with total assets reaching 824 billion Dollars (equivalent to 3,022 billion Dirhams). The Central Bank of the UAE has been heavily invested in supporting the fintech ecosystem in an effort to spark innovation that will take the financial services to an “out of the box” experience level for its customers. We feel that conversation around the banking future and the future of money has to become more public and more accessible to a wider audience” said Daniel Solomon, CEO Eroe and host of the exclusive webinar edition. 

The authority panel formed by Sonia Wedrychowicz, Senior Advisor McKinsey,  Patrick Campos, Chief Strategy Officer at Securrency, Bill Ashlock, founder of Bosa Advisors and Patrick Frith, COO at Tarabut Gateway will analyse and provide exclusive insights about the complex relationship between banking, fintech and the bridge that will connect the financial industry to the future.  

Banking Without Banks will go live on 8th September 2020 starting 4 PM Gulf Standard Time and the registrations are now open

What does the future of money look like?

Опубликовано: August 17, 2020 в 20:24


Категории: Insights


The topic of money is of interest to everyone and rightly so; it is the main medium of exchange for goods and services around the world.

The use of money has evolved over the years; from commodity barter systems to the use of cash. What has not changed is the value, in terms of whichever means of exchange is used. 

In today’s world the value of money, how it is accessed and used are all digitally driven and interconnected in many ways from the consumer to financial organisations. Hypothetically speaking, a layman may answer the question about the future of money as being in the ‘pocket of people’. Technically however, the answer to the question might as well translate into the digital version of what they have in their pocket; just that they will have to access it via different mediums and points of exchange.

Since we are living in a technologically advanced era, how do we automate this with finance to achieve a greater level of value and satisfaction?

At EROE, we help businesses to grow, change and improve how society works through digital and business  transformation. As part of a series of webinars which we have been holding since June 2020 to explain business transformation in practicality across industries, we sought to find the views of industry experts on what the future of money looks like, the security space and importance of the banking sector.

The webinar, hosted by EROE CEO, Daniel Solomon on 30th July 2020 was moderated by Kareem Monem who is no stranger to the digital business space in the UAE and EMEA region.

EROE provides a secure technical foundation for businesses using digital solutions, and so discussing a topic concerning the future of money is not out of place for us. We believe that Fintech is a very disruptive force in the finance industry, especially that of the banking sector.

Traditional Banking versus Fintech

“FinTech” is the short form for financial technology and describes the use of technological advancement to consolidate the banking and financial sector for a better consumer experience.

In decoding the future of money, there is the need to discuss the role of Fintech in pushing the innovation agenda for traditional businesses in the financial sector such as banks, from both the consumer and organisational perspective. The modern consumer attaches their loyalty to service providers who actually solve their problems. 

Banks have always played conventional roles when it comes to consumer monetary roles and how they are accessed. Webinar panelist, Bill Ashlock who is also the Founder of Bosa Advisors shares his opinion that banks have always had the loyalty of consumers traditionally, and so over the years they have not paid attention to the real issues of customer experience until Fintech came in to disrupt the market providing ease of doing things and at a cheaper cost.

Infographic: UK’s fintech and traditional banking job markets prior to the COVID-19 pandemic

In terms of risks, there have been instances of privacy breaches by both banks and Fintech institutions, and so we cannot pinpoint one party to be riskier per se.

In the Fintech space, the main concept is convenience, and there are a lot of case studies to prove that people can put up with a lot of things when they are assured of convenience. It is therefore important to merge experiences with processes to become more interactive.

Many banks are now reinventing themselves to take on Fintech roles within their organisation by providing consumer innovation services via using customer data to help shape the way banking is done. 

Segmentation wise, most of the customers of financial institutions for example in the UAE are SMEs and they have peculiar needs which have to be addressed in the most timely and cost-effective ways, of which most traditional banking systems are trailing behind. 

From a financial service point of view, institutions should not be perceived as taking risk with people’s monies; neither should they be too altruistic.

With that being said, big banks will always have that responsibility of trust and being regulatorily accountable for it, as opposed to Fintech institutions. Banks largely have government support and play certain roles like being the lender of last resort.

How does culture affect service delivery and implementation of digital currency in financial institutions?

Culture has a very big role to play in addressing some of these legacy solution challenges. Patrick Campos, who is Chief Strategy Officer at Securrency and panelist at the webinar believes that the culture of the UAE for example which does not provide permanent residency for long term stay increases the chances of people having a short-term mentality in terms of financial commitments. Not that he sees anything wrong with how the UAE decides to run the country or its immigration policies, but his point is that regulation can affect the way technology is implemented in some of these financial institutions, especially banks. An example is how onshore and offshore companies have distinct variations when it comes to operating digitally hence the need to use digital platforms like blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Again, the UAE is largely made up of an expat population who expect things to be done in a different way. There is therefore a need to be innovative in the financial environment. Regulation plays a huge role in customer innovation and should be used as a tool to overcome the old way of doing things.

On the other hand, businesses tend to demand for digital transformation in relation to the banking system. This is why Kareem believes that there is a need to understand what the purpose of the financial sector industry is to the layman in the street and the value it can bring. He gives an example where a white paper by Hub71 stated that opening of a business bank account in the UAE takes an average time of sixty-three days! For him, in times like these where digitization is key, it should be taking sixty-three minutes instead.

To think of this is not acceptable considering an IMD 2019 World Digital Competitiveness Report which ranked the UAE as the number one digitally competitive country in the Arab World and the 12th globally.

And so, one may ask that apart from regulatory issues, what else is inhibiting bridging the speed of doing things gap with the needs of the consumer? Well, the panelists agree that expertise is important to execute futuristic hyper-personalised solutions to consumers. Also, there is the need to use technology to streamline automated processes to create systems that actually work for integrated workflow and there is a lot of room for improvement in that space. Challenges for digital currency will be how forms of value, security, cash etc would be shared and used to acquire other forms of value.

With that said, what is then the future of money?

With rapid innovation and technological advancement, it is not very easy to come up with one answer when asked what the future of money would be. However, participants at the webinar largely believe that in the future one form of value such as cash or securities will be used in exchange for another form of value which is digitally inclined. This is largely due to the fact that these digital forms such as cryptocurrency have no ‘middle ground’ value; transactions are made directly from one point of exchange to another. This should be done in a flexible way to prevent ‘trapping’ of money so that people will have freedom to do what they want with their money and access them whenever they wish even though at a financial institution.

Additionally, there is a need for collaboration to make the ecosystem better as there is enough space for everyone to make money and thrive, what people are looking for is the experience.

Regulation comes in here again because for example, you cannot use technology to be disruptive to a country’s monetary system. Technology is an extension of the regulatory extension requirement as processes are now automated.

In summary, the keywords are accessibility, inclusion, fairness and trust, agreed the panelists. The future would be looking at interoperability and more consumer experience. This cannot be done with a binary approach, because no matter what, optionality will always be there. 

In Daniel’s view to conclude, companies have to think about people and how they implement things to help in solving the gap in responding to these needs by using rapid response systems. His perspective comes from a service delivery viewpoint.  Customer experience is really key, and this is evident not only in the financial sector but other sectors such as retail are being disrupted in providing value to consumers. Those providing these particular services must consider consumers when it comes to their privacy and security. Regulation framework is very important to protect the end customer and also companies and even governments themselves. There needs to be dialogue with governments for example to tackle some of the regulation hurdles.

What the future of money would look like is about the value of transactions, and the future of personalized transactions will be the make or break. 

How we think about money and value remains an ongoing evolution. 

Infographic Source:

 Webinar Source: