Engy KHALIFAEngy KHALIFAMarch 19, 2019


Dr. Mahmoud Mohie El Din is the first Vice President of the World Bank. He is responsible for the 2030 Development agenda and United Nations Relations and Partnership.

Dr. Mahmoud has a strong academic track rekord. He graduated in Economics and Political Science at Cairo University, Egypt, then he obtained a diploma in Quantitative Development Economics from the University of WARWICK and a Master of Science degree ( Msc.) in Economical Social Policy Analysis. Later he gained his Ph.D in Economics from University of WARWICK. 

Dr. Mahmoud started his career in Cairo University for more than 32 years now where he reached a professor of Economics and Finance. He also held the position of a board member of the Central Bank of Egypt; in addition of being the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation for more than 6 years.

In October 2010 he joined the World Bank Group as a managing director as a Managing Director, and currently he is currently an honorary professor at Durham Business School, besides being the senior vice president of the world bank. 

Dr. Mahmoud created the ” Sustainability Index ( S&P / EGX ESG ) for listed companies in the Egyptian Stock Exchange “. Moreover he has an extensive list of publications.


EK: How would you describe the change that happened to the World bank since its formation?

MM: Overlapping crises, from climate change to pandemics, natural disasters to forced displacement, threaten to erase hard-earned development gains. And historic economic changes, in part from technological advancement and disruption, present risks for countries, but also opportunities if they have made the necessary investments in their people, communities, and economies to take advantage of them. The world needs partners that can help meet the challenges of today, while making the investments to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

There has been a great transformation in the way we do business and what we offer our client countries. By offering financing, knowledge, experience, and a long-term commitment to its country clients, the World Bank is a trusted partner for all its members to help transform economies and advance the 2030 sustainable development agenda. With a mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, the World Bank supports its client countries in three priority areas: promoting sustainable, inclusive economic growth; investing more—and more effectively—in people; and building resilience to fragility, shocks, and threats to the global economy. The Bank applies this three-pronged approach across all sectors of development so that countries make the integrated investments that can best help people lift themselves out of poverty.

EK: How would you describe its culture?

MM: The comparative advantage of the World Bank comes from its powerful combination of country depth and global breadth, public and private sector instruments and relations, multisector knowledge, and the ability to mobilize and leverage financing. The World Bank’s principal institutions—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)—work in ever-closer coordination with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to leverage the collective strength of the World Bank Group (WBG) for the benefit of its partner countries. The comparative advantage of the WBG comes from the powerful combination of country depth and global breadth, public and private sector instruments and relationships, multisectoral knowledge, and the ability to mobilize and leverage financing. Collaboration across IBRD, IDA, IFC, and MIGA has grown over time, and spans a range of activities at the regional, country, sector, and thematic levels.

World Bank experts are organized across teams of Global Practices, which focus on key technical areas of development, as well as Global Themes, composed of teams working to deliver on cross-cutting corporate priority areas, such as climate change, gender, fragility, infrastructure, public private partnerships, and guarantees. Collaboration across these teams allow for the development of comprehensive solutions for clients. The World Bank Group has made significant progress in aligning its budget to address development priorities, to reinforce selectivity and efficient delivery, and to maintain budget sustainability. It has done so through a combination of revenue expansion and spending containment measures that include completing an Expenditure Review that saved $400 million. The World Bank has also implemented new sustainability principles and budget indicators that allow for administrative expenses to be covered by revenues generated from operations and realigned its budget with strategic priorities. The Bank Group is committed to continued financial sustainability, strategic alignment, and efficiency.


EK: Its greatest success?

MM: Around the world, demand continues to rise for financing, expertise, and innovation. The needs are great—but the costs of failure are simply too high. Our shareholders are helping us meet that challenge with their approval of a historic $13 billion capital increase, which will strengthen the World Bank Group’s ability to reduce poverty, address the most critical challenges of our time, and help our client countries – and their people – reach their highest aspirations. In 2018, the World Bank Group committed nearly $67 billion in financing, investments, and guarantees.

In our work around the world, we’re facing overlapping crises such as climate change, conflict, pandemics, natural disasters, and forced displacement. We are simultaneously helping our client countries address immediate crises, build resilience against challenges on the horizon, and make enduring investments to prepare for an uncertain future. We work to achieve our twin goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030, and to boost shared prosperity among the poorest 40 percent around the world. Across the World Bank Group, we are harnessing new technologies and developing financial innovations to drive progress on the three parts of our strategy to get there: accelerate inclusive, sustainable economic growth; build resilience to shocks and threats; and help our client countries invest in their people.

EK: How does the World Bank Group work to achieve its twin goals?

MM: First, to accelerate inclusive, sustainable economic growth, we need a new vision for financing development—one that helps make the global market system work for everyone and the planet. In a world where achieving the Global Goals will cost trillions every year, but official development assistance is stagnant in the billions, we cannot end poverty without a fundamentally different approach. With the adoption of the Hamburg Principles in July 2017, the G-20 endorsed an approach that we call the Cascade, which will lead to our goal of Maximizing Finance for Development. The World Bank, IFC, and MIGA are working more closely together to create markets and bring private sector solutions in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, telecommunications, renewable energy, and affordable housing.

Second, to build resilience to shocks and threats—even as we continue developing climate-smart infrastructure and improving response systems—we need innovative financial tools to help poor countries do what wealthy ones have long done: share the risks of crises with global capital markets. This spring, we saw the first impact of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) with a rapid grant to support the Ebola response surge in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With this facility—and a similar one we are developing to improve responses to and prevent famine—we are finding new ways to help the poorest countries share risks with financial markets, helping break the cycle of panic and neglect that often occurs with crises.

Third, to prepare for a future where innovations will only accelerate, we must find new ways to help countries invest more – and more effectively – in their people. The jobs of the future will require specific, complex skills, and human capital will become an increasingly valuable resource. With the Human Capital Project, which we launched this year, we are developing a rigorous and detailed measure of human capital in each country. At the Annual Meetings in Indonesia in October 2018, we unveiled the Human Capital Index, which ranks countries according to how well they are investing in the human capital of the next generation. The ranking puts the issue squarely in front of heads of state and finance ministers so they can accelerate investments in their people and prepare for the economy of the future.

EK: How is the World Bank Group supporting client countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?


MM: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, was a watershed moment in development and diplomacy. Its declaration to protect people and our planet — and to leave no one behind — brought together nearly every nation on earth to endorse its 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. In July 2015, many of these same stakeholders met in Addis Ababa at the third Financing for Development Conference to discuss how this agenda would be sustainably financed. The World Bank Group participated in the formulation of these global agendas for sustainable development and financing and is already deeply engaged in helping to achieve them.

The SDGs are aligned with the World Bank Group’s twin goals to end extreme poverty and to build shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. Our country-led processes with our clients have shown us that countries have a strong desire to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, and as a result, our support for this work continues to grow. This work is not new to the World Bank Group; it was already part of our DNA as a development institution. Yet the establishment of the global goals has energized our efforts to work with our partners to achieve these ambitious targets. We believe that, working together, we can create a world that is more prosperous, secure, and just. The World Bank Group is working to achieve not only individual SDGs, but also the broader agenda for implementation, including finance and data.

EK: What are doing to meet the global targets?


  • We engage with our country partners to help protect the poor and vulnerable, ensure inclusive and accountable service delivery, and improve resilience to economic, environmental, and humanitarian shocks.
  • We work to strengthen the private sector, so that it can create jobs and opportunities.
  • We promote regional cooperation on shared public goods and enable investments in critical infrastructure.
  • And we work with partners to provide assistance in education, health, nutrition, water & sanitation, energy, transport, technology, gender equality, the environment, climate change, and many other sectors.

Of course, to meet aggregated global targets, country-level results must be combined with the efforts of other nations. There are a number of daunting challenges to this global agenda — challenges which transcend borders, requiring international cooperation at many levels to address them — including climate change, pandemics, economic shocks, violence and fragility, inequality, lightning-fast changes in technology which disrupt markets, and polarization of our political and social institutions. To overcome these challenges, we need to work in partnership with multilateral organizations, governments, the private sector, civil society, foundations, and other stakeholders at the global, local, and sub-national levels. As a development finance institution, the World Bank Group will continue to play a key role in leveraging and mobilizing investments in both physical and human capital — with the help of the private sector — to spur inclusive and sustainable growth, create good jobs, and improve the quality of people’s lives.

Based on our experience in working with partners such as the United Nations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we learned there are two other factors critical to success: the availability of quality data (including monitoring and evaluation); and evidence-based implementation which grows from a shared commitment with country partners, and which leverages multi-stakeholder partnerships to deliver results.


EK: Africa has always been a forgotten destination, why are all the eyes on it now?

MM: Africa has never been forgotten by the World Bank Group and as region it has been our biggest recipient of our International Development Association (IDA), which is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa, and is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in these countries. IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA credits have a zero or very low interest charge and repayments are stretched over 30 to 38 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress. In addition to concessional loans and grants, IDA provides significant levels of debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).


Let me add that 18 African countries are fragile and conflict-affected States. They have struggled, or are struggling, through war or political conflict to rebuild themselves and lift their people out of poverty. They are called fragile states, nations with poor health and education, little or no electricity, disorganized or weakened institutions, and in many cases no functioning governments. We know that political conflict is bad for development. It causes great human suffering and forces people to flee their homes and abandon their crops and livelihoods. It vandalizes communities and ruins institutions like healthcare, cutting off access to essential services and leaving workers and breadwinners without jobs and wages. It destroys roads, limiting cross-border and regional trade. And it diminishes hope and motivation, so that the millions of educated African youth who leave high school and university every year looking for jobs are left unemployed and dispirited.

The reasons people are fighting are largely economic – uneven access to natural resources such as land and water, too few jobs and persistent poverty. While conflict is bad for development, development is the answer to conflict. Therefore, the World Bank Group strategy for Africa builds on opportunities for growth and poverty reduction to support structural transformation, economic diversification, and inclusion within the new development finance framework. The region is made up of a combination of low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries. Africa also has 13 small states, characterised by a small population, limited human capital, and a confined land area.

EK: What is the World Bank Group strategy for Africa?

MM: The Bank is responding to this diversity by providing a wide range of instruments – both traditional and innovative – tailored to the needs of the countries. Our strategy focuses on the following priority areas:

  • Agricultural productivity: There is a continuing need to accelerate progress in boosting agricultural productivity and output in Africa. Supporting smallholders through investment in improved technologies, rural financial services, and better access to markets is vital.  Equally important is the push to boost agribusiness investments and improve land and water management by adopting modern irrigation practices, preventing conflicts over water resources and implementing climate-smart agriculture solutions.


  • Affordable and reliable energy: Increasing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank’s work in Africa as inadequate electricity supply remains the greatest infrastructure obstacle in Africa. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the WBG, most of the energy generation conducted in Africa is handled by the private sector, and in a clean way. Through the maximizing finance for development (MFD) approach, we have mobilized over $2 billion in private investment in Kenya and nearly a billion in Cameroon so far.


  • Climate Change: Africa’s poor are likely to be hit hardest by climate change, particularly changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Investing in climate change adaptation techniques and disaster risk management will remain top priority. To build climate resilience, countries will need help to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensure food security. The Africa Climate Business Plan, presented at COP21, lays out a work program to help on both fronts.


  • Regional integration:Regional integration in Africa remains a critical emphasis of our strategy to improve connectivity, leverage economies of scale, and get collective action by countries to address shared challenges.


  • Urbanization: Integrated urban planning is at the core of our work in Africa, addressing water, sanitation, transport, housing, power and governance, that are vital to making urbanization a true driver of productivity and income growth.


  • High quality human capital:Each year in Africa and for the next decade, 11 million youth will enter the job market. Young Africans must be equipped with the right skills and training. There is still a mismatch between what African students are learning and the skills employers are actually seeking. To help bridge this gap, the Bank has launched initiatives to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across the region.




Engy KHALIFAEngy KHALIFAFebruary 17, 2019


Mohamed Fakhr Eldeen is currently the CEO of Optima world Egypt.

Formerly CEO & founder of “Logos International Egypt”. Mohamed is a Certified Trainer in Change Management Strategies and Techniques from IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland 2005, and a Certified Trainer from Xerox Corporation.

Mohamed has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Alexandria University, and has been enrolled in preparing Master of Management Learning & Development MMLD at Euro Arab Management School Granada, Spain. He has thirty two years of progressive hands-on experiences covering Strategic/Tactical Planning & Business Development in Service Quality & HR Management, Human capital Training & Development, Assessment & Execution covering areas of: Change management, Leadership, education, Retail & Corporate Sales, Marketing, Telecom & Delivery Channels, with a specific focus on enhancing Sales & Customer Service Strategy Centric. Mohamed has a wide-spectrum portfolio of Senior Management jigsaw components that interlock together to formulate a strong platform to Lead Organisation & Business Development as well as Total Business Results Management & Execution for different wide range of business enterprises, that experience domain results from smooth management and effective running of different business functions with multinational companies, mainly companies adapting the concept of the “Learning organisation”, “Human Resources Value Recognised and Consultancy Relationship” as well as “Customer Value Added Services”.

  1. Can you tell us about the shifting from engineering to the field of business and management?

Well you are asking a very deep question as actually what happened about shifting from engineering to sales and business is not only a career change it has been a full paradigm shift, and it happened out of coincidence after I finished my engineering school and graduated I worked for two and half years as an engineer in the Egyptian Army where I did practice technical engineering in some aspects. When I finished my military services, I asked myself is this what I really want; I mean working in the concrete field with all those workers, graphs, and grey-colour environment?

The real answer was a big sharp no; I wouldn’t like to live this for the rest of my life. At that time, I didn’t have any clue on how to shift, but by chance when God sends you some signals you must follow them. Later I met a friend who was working for a company in the field of sales, marketing & customer service and he was just chatting with me about my plans at that time as I was done with my military service; my response was that I am looking for a job as an engineer but really, I was not so happy with the technicality of engineering. I like the methodology and the way of thinking I gained from engineering, but I don’t like the technical part. So, he proposed to me that I come and join same company, I will tell you later what’s his company is as its one of the major tycoons. For me to apply for that company as a salesperson I had been shocked and told him that I have never studied business or sales or marketing. He told me that I have what it takes to be a sales person, you are a very social person, extrovert, you have a good connection, and you can do some extra connections, you can join this company and it called “XEROX”.

I said what’s XEROX; he told me it’s the biggest worldwide organisation selling documents solutions and at that time I was shocked to find myself lacking some knowledge anyway.

In the interview I was hesitated as deep inside I was refusing the change, I was refusing to get out of my pre-known comfort zone. The branch manager I had been interviewed by told me that you are here for the job of sales what can you offer us? I answered him that I knew you want a person with a good connection and PR skills and I am that person.

Then I chatted with him for the rest of the interview and at the end he told me “Welcome to Xerox”. So when I went to join the training course of sales, for three months I was telling myself that I have to return to engineering but when I practised sales out of the scientific base they trained me on then I started making some success I found out that I am in the right place, I am a person for business not a person for technical engineering. That’s my story of shifting from engineering to sales and marketing. Moreover, I want to add something as at that time when I quit my job and I had to travel to Cairo as I was living in Alexandria at that time, I was a little bit amazed and puzzled and I didn’t know what to do. So I had the luck to have my father as my mentor; he told me that many successful people and he mentioned some names in the field of press are very successful despite to the fact that they hadn’t study literature or press and he mentioned some glorious name in Egypt so my father told me go and try whatever you think you like and come back if you didn’t like it you can shift to something else. I was lucky to have a mentor in my life that is why I see that every young man and woman needs to have a mentor in his life to help him to take decisions.

  1. What about the challenges you have faced and how did you manage to overcome them?

The first challenge I had was the shifting of the knowledge frame I had acquired from typical engineering base, columns, ceilings, and concrete to knowing how to sell in a scientific way; that was really challenging as all I was studying was technical and I had nothing to do with PR, Sales, or Marketing. I overcome this challenge by something I advise young people to do which is listening effectively to my trainer and to any one with experience to learn, acquire as much knowledge as you can from your teachers or trainers, and applied what I did learn scientifically and that helped me much to overcome the gap between what I thought I know and what I thought I don’t know.

In addition to this an incident had happened to me in the training which proved that learning can happen scientifically and efficiently; a part of the training was technically about the features of copy machines and the trainer kept telling us about the features of machines and I really felt that I don’t understand anything I felt that I want to quit the training and the job and went out of the classroom and my trainer felt that I am not digesting what she explained so she told me to go and copy some stuff with different sizes and jobs too. When I got to the copy room I found myself suddenly recalling what she taught us in the training and start applying what she taught me so that was the first gap between what I thought I knew and what I thought I did know. While working I had some gaps too like applying the sales science I knew, I also had some challenges which small details and I were could overcome this by try and error accompanied by mentors or more senior people coaching.

I also overcame this gap by continuous reading and continuous self-development as Stephen covey said as I have to  sharpen my own sew and continuous development of my own humble self-kept me always updating and always ahead of my colleagues and my fellows.

What also helped me is three things in addition to what I said; first thing was diversifying the field of knowledge I learn I mean reading and everything. Reading about business, technicality, finance, administration, engineering, politics, and even global conditions. So, reading to acquire different diversity of knowledge helped me a lot. The second thing is connecting myself to many people and making PR in different company departments, the company I worked for at the beginning of my career helped me to acquire a lot of knowledge which was beyond my core of business, I have connected with people in the field of HR, sales, finance, operation, and technical service. They gave me a lot of knowledge that broadened my spectrum of intellectual capacity. Third thing is connecting myself with some business and social communities; like the chamber of commerce, German chamber, Canadian chamber, and American chamber. All that stuff helped me to gain some connections, some PR, some business acquaintances. All of this was enveloped by the skill that my parents gave me which is reading; I always read a lot and acquire knowledge.


  1. From your own experience; what is your best success recipe and strategy?

Well; I do believe there are a lot of diverse aspects to success; I can remember a movie I have seen about 20 years ago which was “Secret to my success” which addressed one part of success which is being an opportunist. In addition to this I do think from my humble opinion is that success is the submission of totally integrated aspects that formulate success, something like six sigma concept, however I would add other factors. The first factor is learning; where it comes from acquiring knowledge from a knowledgeable people or during life incidents. The second thing is the trial under coaching which is an essential part of success. Then; thinking out of the box as for me I used to dream first then go and achieved what I am dreaming of I do remember while I was working in sales I used to dream of approaching specific client with a specific solution or product and everyone thought that it was impossible but I succeeded and I was awarded as being the first person to achieve top salesperson from the company outside the headquarters. Next is the smart hit, you must know where to hit not just hit. Another factor is PR where you must increase your social network and business network and as Philip Kotler said in his books “Marketing is Relationships” marketing is not only your products but also yourself. Also playing in a team is a very important factor besides believing in yourself. Finally; you have to know what the mission or vision of the company you work for and you have to make it your own motto. I think these are the magic recipe for success.

  1. What do you think about the youth inclusion in the Egyptian economic development?

First let’s talk about the idea of inclusion and integration in itself, you cannot have any sort of movement, change, or development unless you include all the stakeholder of that change. Our Egyptian demography consists mainly of youth; and those young people have inherited and took over the Egyptian economy of the past three decades so if you don’t include them and integrate them in the development plans there will be failure.

We can include them in two ways:

  • First way is to get them prepared and that can be done through forums, conferences, trainings, and education to be ready to take over the economical platform in the coming decades.
  • Second way is having them to mirror-image the role of the senior economists and I think that the government is doing a great job now in terms of preparing the youth. Examples are available as the presidential leadership programme. If you don’t prepare them; you will find two bad things. First thing is the negative momentum pulling us back as they refuse to go with the change and the second thing is wrong actions in term of economical knowledge which will take us back. In addition to that we will find something taking place which is very negative that these young people will refuse the actions that are done by elders and will formulate a resistance that will take us away from the development action plan that is being executed in Egypt now.

By the way the Egyptian vision is named under 2030 which means they are preparing the youth for year 2030 so the youth by any means will take over their place. Final thing we will use is that we will not get the feedback of our real customers that will take over our economic platform who are “Young people” , so I do think that the government are doing some efforts to include the youth in major activities. Also, if we talk about the integration and inclusion of youth in terms of philosophy and concept itself there are some individuals’ trials in our community that have proved success of inclusion of youth, one of the success stories I know is about the Egyptian Scout & Girl Guide Federation which is part of the Arab Scout Federation and the world Scout bureau which has been working for years now to include and integrate the young leaders to take over the leadership and strategic management of the Egyptian Scout Federation this federation includes almost one million boys and girls.

Also, I would love to mention something I observed during working with young people for many years now; a new trend of the youth and we cannot neglect them as they are our customers. The new trend is the start ups and the small micro-businesses accordingly as this is the mindset of the young people we cannot even deny that a major part of our future economical growth will be composed of small and medium enterprises as these young people have the will to start up and they are succeeding in it.

  1. And what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Well I cannot give an advice as it is a big word, but I can give some guidelines for success. First I say have your vision, have your dream, dream and don’t be afraid of dreaming, and if you dream work to accomplish it, think out of the box, think what others might not be thinking of ; so, my first advice is Dream.

Second advice is when you dream you push the walls far from you, break the walls.

Third advice is after dreaming and thinking out of the box, take a deep breath, go back and look from a very far and deep eagle-eye perspective and work out on how to achieve that dream in a practical way.

Another piece of advice do not refuse and always consider elders opinions, they might say old style wisdom yet the cheapest way to learn is to learn on the cost of others experience,  elders made their mistakes and they don’t want you to repeat their same mistake.

Also, they must take into their consideration the definition of stupidity. which is doing things every time the same way and expecting different results, so don’t repeat what the others do in the same way. I mean get the benefits of learning and put your own hands to achieve it. Additional advice is don’t be afraid of trying, try, make mistakes, and get the benefits out of it.

Work as a team; you cannot succeed alone, have your own labelled idea, persona, style; even if it is different or considered wild or mad just have your own fingerprint. Another advice that might seem a little bit old, but once I read a book about sales and in page 2 there is a quote that said “ Customers like to deal with people they like and trust because they are professional and different” so my advice to young people is be professional do your job up to standard and books so you will be different and people will like to work with you or buy from you if you have something to sell; stick to the values and Good behaviours because still people like well raised up people, being out of the box or wild does not mean being impolite or rude. One very important advice is adopting the concept of quality which means doing things right from the first time and every time and have everything written and follow the recipe and what you promise is delivered 100 % of it. Believe in yourselves, believe in your GOD, believe in capabilities. Globalization is very good but doesn’t mean losing your persona or your own Identity.

  1. How do you evaluate the current Investment ground in Egypt?

Let me tell you my observations as a business person and sales trainer, I think what is happening now is that we are trying to shift our investment from consumer-based investment to real long term investment in the infrastructure which leads to better economic status and growth in the industry, I mean that investment in Egypt used to be for a while in consumer goods like FMCGs; of course I have nothing against them but what I mean is that they are just consuming goods. So, what we need now is to know where our strength is; I think our strength in this country comes from more than one factor. First factor is the Human Capital which if developed and led the right way will be a great power, we must invest in infrastructure and that’s exactly what the government is doing now. They are investing in electricity, water, new cities, roads, and all that stuff. Assessing our investment Geo-economic map; creating diversity all over Egypt as every governorate has its own strengths and opportunities for investment. We also must work on integrating all these investments opportunities all over Egypt in the main 2030 vision. I think we need to develop our people, know where to invest, how to invest, and know our strengths and work on it. I recommend not doing the investment in things that are not ours. Now we are shifting from economic situation of consuming to real production.

  1. So, what is your opinion about the Egyptian sustainable development experience?

I think from my humble opinion it is the first time to have a real vision and a master plan for this country. This vision really contains many diverse fronts that we are working on, very integrated yet smart I mean some objectives are very smart, achievable, and measurable. My only concern is that according to the change management theories and concept, there will face some resistance people are not ready to share creating their stake in the GDP, some people are used to get paid without working. We are also facing another problem which the parallel economy is where people are working and not paying taxation and are working in an unorganized way. Anyway, this vision looks to be achievable, realistic, also tough because it contains a part which is letting people work, really work and not just having money without working. I went through the 2030 in every aspect and I think we will achieve it, yet I am focusing on the resistance that we might face.

  1. In your opinion; how can the Egyptian regime overcome the change resistance?

Let me tell you first where the resistance will come from, scientifically when a change happens in the beginning the population of change is divided into three sectors. Maximum of 25 % of the population is called “early adaptors”, minimum of 25 % of the population is called “resistors”, and 50 % of the population are called “inbetweeners”.

The inbetweeners are waiting to see the WIFM; what’s in it for me from this change. Either the benefit of doing that change or the loss of not doing that change.

The major vital role of the change steering committee is the will and the continuous process to convince many of those 50% people to join the 25% of early adaptors to formulate the big cluster that will achieve change. Yet at the end I think we will have refusers that will stay like this, unfortunately I have to say this, but they will be distinct, obsolete and they will not be considered in the future population of the change. We must know first why people refuse change where the resistance come from. The reasons are fear of loss, feeling comfortable in their place, not being convinced with the subject of the change, not believing in the steering committee, or even people that are not changers by nature; these are the main reasons of resisting to change and the steering committee must handle every refuser out of his own reason. Yet, we value resistance for some other reasons, because they must know that they are mistaken, they must know that they have to change a little bit to fit more, they might be reasons of raising up some extra questions that helps us to do the change in a better way, or the tactical benefit of showing themselves to know where the  resistance  is coming from. Every change is not a resistance and every change has got the distinct part of the population.

  1. Now let us talk about what is currently happening globally; What do you think about BREXIT?

I think in my humble opinion that politics is based on pragmatism which means where your interests comes or goes, you go after it. So, the British people as history proved; they go for the interest of their own country. Now the BREXIT is for the favour of the Britain and not to the other European countries, as they found themselves not having a lot of benefits from the political and economic point of view from being among the European Union, so they are quitting. In my opinion this Brexit will formulate two clusters USA and Britain in one party and the other European Countries on the other party. Germany and France will pay the bill as usual, the English people will refuse to share their part of the bill. Anyway; it is part of the new regime. The European Union might have the will to continue together, so they must again study their benefits, and what every country will add to this European Union. Also, what Britain took away with them during their exist should be compromised by the other countries. I can see also another formula or mirror imaging from this Brexit, which was what QATAR did in quitting the OPEC after 57 years of being a member. I think something is happening now intentionally to break the classical old clusters of this world, we will see in the coming days some counter actions and some corrective actions from the owners of those clusters to rectify their position.

  1. What about “Yellow Vests”? Do you think that Globalization is related to them?

well the yellow colour is always meant to be an alert colour “take care”, anyway what I say now is unfortunately the European Spring , it is phase two of what was called the Arab Spring as this is a movement of other bigger entities to take care of this mess or this chaos, what I mean that all of these are a bad expressing of anger and I think these yellow vests are moved by some other major movers who are moving them from behind the curtains, I am not sure if they are really expressing anger from the economic situation or from the high cost of living. I think it is an act that was intending to be part of the big plan of “springs” formula or phenomena.

Globalization is good; globalization is a mean of crossing the border, but it has a good part and bad part. Good part is like increasing the trade, the bad part is losing your identity. I think each country must have both sides of the coin. The global part in terms of relationships and trading with others, and the other side is the local part where you keep your identity. I do like the Japanese part of Globalization which is exceptionally modern and well related to western world and yet they still keep their Japanese persona and cultural depth.


Engy KHALIFAEngy KHALIFAJanuary 27, 2019



All the economists nowadays are talking about the change that is occurring in the world concerning job positions and how by the year 2022 many jobs will disappear. 

According to the world economic forum there are some important business roles    will decline by the year 2022. These roles include data entry clerks, accountants, bookkeepers, payroll clerks, secretaries, customer service, and auditors. On the other hand, there will be a change in emerging jobs. By 2022 the emerging roles will be data analysts, artificial intelligence  agents, machine learning specialties. Big data specialties, organizational developments, sales and marketing. From these jobs we can see that most of the jobs are going to the area of data and information. Most of the world’s largest corporations are investing  in the sector of data and Information and they are changing their departments so that it depends on information basis.

By analyzing most of the jobs in the mentioned fields, we can see that  new jobs mainly depend on information and intelligence. Now the world is seeking to transform their specialism to a world of intelligence. Intelligence is now a part of each job. Technology has transformed to Artificial Intelligence, competition to competitive intelligence, marketing to marketing intelligence, and even finance to financial intelligence.


The question here is , why intelligence?


the way intelligence is used in the military; can be applied the same way in every field. Intelligence helps you to see what others cannot. It helps you to differentiate between different types of gathered and collected information. To know how to obtain strategic information.


The world is changing, and people must find new ways to adopt to the change that will occur.  people must accept change, know  how to self-develop, discover the needed skills for the coming years; as when the times comes, they show their full capabilities and be ready for it. Also, it will help them to defend against any possible attacks whether internal or external.


Everyone should draw a plan for themselves, where they want to be and what do they need to be in that place e.g. if you are working in the field of finance, you must know that the position of financial analyst is predicted to disappear after 10 years. You must change your way of thinking. Just studying the numbers are not enough. You must know that finance is not only about reviewing the numbers gathered from your different products, it has much more of an effect. You must know how your stakeholders are working, know their languages, their capabilities, plans, and how they can affect your business.

Market analysis will play a major role in the coming years, you must understand all the aspects that affects  your market internally and externally. Economic analysis is the solid ground that you can back your business with, you must study the past as it will reflect on your future. Analyzing valuation, corporate governance and compliance reports all become a part of the finance departments. Accordingly, all these new aspects and ways of doing your jobs can be applied to all the other departments, you must know what affects you and know every aspect of it. There will be no more one independent department; everything is interrelated. You must know that the world became a network years ago and, if you miss one aspect of it, you will not be able to survive the competition and eventually will fall down.


We still have time to prepare for what is coming, so, improve yourself, know which skills you need now and which you will need in the future. No one ever said that you were only born to do one job. You were born with some skills and you must acquire the other skills. Prepare and be persistent in fighting for what you want and where you want to be.





Engy KHALIFAEngy KHALIFANovember 3, 2018



Emad Henin is the founder of GamUp; an organization specialized in Gamification where they have occasional open courses in partnership with Gamification +LTD, UK. Emad is also a member in the steering committee of GamFed. Gamification refers to work situations where game thinking and game-based tools are used in strategic manner to integrate with existing business process.
Emad is also the Human Resources Business Partner for Minapharm Pharmaceutical organizations. Emad have a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Ain Shams University. He is also accredited with MBA from ESLSCA Business School specializing in Global Management.


  1. How did the Egyptian Market respond to the concept of Gamification?

I will tell you first how we initially started as it will give you a clear idea about how the market accepted us. At the beginning I have used the game concept inside the company I am working in “Minapharm” as I am working in the Human Resource Department and mainly in “Ramadan” the holy month of Muslims; the energy of employees is weak also the working hours is fewer than the normal days especially there is no break. So, I thought of creating something that will make employees more energetic in that month.

So, I created a competition and called it Ramadan Riddles with the Ramadan Theme; I found it being approved by many. I started by sending small questions to the employees where anyone can get it from google then I realized that the questions have to be more deep so I started to customize the riddles to be tailored to “Minapharm” organization so that the employees can feel the relatedness to feel that these questions are only for them the process have changed from a year to another then it changed to be a training program where employees started to participate in a competition for a whole month and at the end they learn a lot from it.

This made me realize the power of games the idea of fun theory and that employees enjoy the working environment as here in Egypt it wasn’t taken into consideration, the concept of enjoying work as people perception about someone who is smiling or happy it means that he is not working but I have found the opposite ; as when employees are happy and satisfied in their workplace they achieve better and the communication between the departments gets better.

After some readings I realized that what I am doing is an established science called “Gamification” and by 2011 the term GAMIFICATION started to be known worldwide. A global definition was set by practitioners in addition to guidelines, procedures, and methodologies. In Egypt and the middle east, we were late to hear about it. So, I started to communicate with international Gamification practitioners and was able to get contact with “Pete Jenkins”; the founder of Gamification Plus.

He was giving courses abroad; so, I introduced to him the idea of working together and I showed to him my achieved projects then we signed a partnership. I have a partner Sandra Abadir and just the two of us do everything.

Our main challenge was to convince Mr. Jenkins to give the course under his name, however we convinced him to come to Egypt and give us the course here and he believed in us and in our work. Afterwards; he trusted us to give the course on his behalf.

Later; we started to go in the market and spread the idea of professional gamification. Our main objective was to seek differentiation as we are specialized in gamification. In Egypt; there were a confusion between the concept of gamification and the game-based learning approach; so, the market expectation was different from what we are providing so we started to face so rejection but later we found approval from the startups; corporates, and especially the new generations of entrepreneurs.

Another challenge was our fees as we are giving a course that is certified from the UK, but people started to know the importance of our product. But we see ourselves going in the right path and the Egyptian market is very promising and full of opportunities.


  1. Is Gamification in favor to the Employer or employees?

I see it as a win – win situation; the employer won’t do the task unless he sees that is has high ROI “Return on Investments” on the company; the employee won’t engage in the task unless he knows it’s in his favor.

So, the equation is that everyone is focused on the objective. What differentiates gamification from just games, badges, and trophies is that we do what we do for the sake of achieving business objective.

From the perspective of employers its always business objective, we always try to measure its effect on the ROI, we measure each project outcome before and after gamification. As for employee; it’s for sure when someone is enjoying his work and getting involved in the workplace; it reflects on the productivity and the revenue.

So simply it’s a win – win situation and if the equation is unbalanced so it’s an inefficient gamified project that had been implemented.


  1. The competition between employees can arouse some unethical behavior, how can the Gamification platform solve that issue?

Well Gamification methods are different as it creates a competition without aiming to a monetary or a promotion, but the main objective is making competition fun and effective. So, it makes employee participate in it voluntarily as they reach the state of loving it and willingness to be a part of it.

Also, there is a model which we apply, and it’s called “RAMP” which stands for “Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose” if the employee gets these four factors it will motivate him to participate in Gamification without doing any unethical behavior.

Relatedness means that the Gamification program is related to the employee and he perceive it as being a part of him or do social bonds with others and give him the opportunity to socialize with them.

These are the socializers; where their priority is to get in contact with others. Next is the Autonomy; which refers to the freedom of choice, the track is flexible for the employees to choose what’s suitable for them. For example; employees can choose their time and topic. So, this Autonomy makes the user interested to participate and makes him feel that he is not forced to be part of that.

Then the Mastery; in the program there is a module that the trainee can master a specific skill or can overcome a challenge; it motivates him to participate in the program and this fits more with achievers’ types who are always seeking for challenges.

The final prospective is the purpose; as there are type of people who love to do work for a purpose, they are also seeking to benefit themselves, others, or the organization they are working in. so when we provide these factors in the gamification program; it makes the competition attractive and related to the program so employees participate in it ethically, as they are not forced to it. Also, employees feel that they are in safe environment and they know that nothing harmful will happen to them.


  1. What are the challenges that you have faced in setting up your idea?

We faced many challenges, first challenge we faced was the start-up cost of our company including the fees of partnership with Gamification UK as mainly we started with the strategy of low- budget investment so to establish this partnership we tried to search for several alternative, the first one was to travel and attend this course but that would have cost us a lot, the other alternative was that we invite them to Egypt on our expense but we realized that this will also be expensive on us, so we came up with the idea of organising the Gamification course locally to be delivered by Pete himself . At the same time in UK they agreed on the idea, so it became a win – win situation as the course outcome covered the travel expenses

The next challenge was setting up the company, the advertising and the marketing campaign, and graphics so as working in human resources department we found out that these aspects are new to our field of expertise so we started to learn about web designing and web developing to start establishing our website and establishing ways to increase our audience; we also did everything ourselves. As my partner started to be very talented in designing so we started to save those expenses and do it ourselves. Then we started to attend events where we met startup corporations and entrepreneurs, so we started to increase our network and we communicated with them on one – to- one meetings, also we did the marketing and sales ourselves and we created the training materials customized to each customer as we are originally trainers and we deliver those trainings.

Another challenge was the culture difference between UK and the middle east as we started to tailor the trainings according to the middle east in the same time it had to be with the same content of UK and we had to get approval from the mother company on what we train. One of our main challenge was how to penetrate the market as whether we will target public or private corporations. Another challenge is that we are already employees in other organizations as we are still in the beginning and we cannot sacrifice the safe income now, so we work after working hours and in the weekends and we can stay for months without one day off.


  1. How do you deal with competition?

When we started our business, we faced two types of competitions. They are the ethical and unethical competition. The ethical competition represents the other certified licensed Gamification providers in the market.

As for me I enjoyed this type of competition, it motivates us to do our best; as the idea of being alone in the market doesn’t give any indication of to what extent you are good or not. On the other hand, we also have a collaboration between them and we share the knowledge together.

On the contrary comes the unethical competition, as you don’t know where the attack will come from and in which way. Despite that me and my partner are always focused on our work and on our objective and our response and we tend to be very practical in improving ourselves.


  1. Does establishing a new business need a large capital or there are other factors more important than money?

Money is the main factor to be considered when starting a new business, but it is not the factor that you will start with. First, you must get an idea for the new business, next you will search if the idea is needed in the market, then your qualifications are more important as money can be obtained from different ways.

If you don’t own the know- how of the business, money will be useless. As from our experience, we managed to start with no budget, we also have a good reputable name in the market and we relate to worldwide names, succeeded in doing global partnership.

People started to search for us, as they wanted to enter the middle east market through us. We started to collaborate with organizations that provide integration services for gamification. Success doesn’t come from money only; however, it comes from effort, dedication, and our passion in what we do.


  1. Do you encourage Egyptian youth to be entrepreneurs or just being an employee is better?

I want to give them some advice that they must take care of. First, they must have an idea where they believe in it besides thinking about the implementation method. Second; it’s not shameful to be an employee.

Everyone must know his skills, qualifications, goals in life and then take the decision. As for me I was scared to take that decision, I had a fear from change but once I took it I found out that I am happier and more satisfied about myself.

As now my passion drives me to achieve more as when you do the effort that you should do you generate its outcome. If you are a risktaker, and ready for more adventures so its time to be an entrepreneur. On the other hand; if you don’t want to get out from your comfort zone so be an employee and grow in the organization you are in till you be a director or CEO.


  1. How do you perceive the Investment Ground in Egypt?

Well I think that in the current time and in the coming years investment in Egypt is very promising, as it is obvious that the government is willing to attract foreign direct investments, facilitate all the processes needed for new business to be established.

The spread of one shop office where it contains all the authorities in one place where all the procedures are done smoothly. Moreover, the Egyptian population are very promising for the market needs as Egypt is considered a young country as most of our population are youth where they have the concept of accepting new ideas and technology in an easy way as they are also seeking new ideas and concepts.

Also, in Egypt there are communities for startups and entrepreneurs. People are helping each other, a lot of events where you can meet entrepreneurs from different sectors and who are willing to help and coordinate with each other. As recently there is an annual event called “RiseUp” which is very successful for all the entrepreneurs as more than 5000 attendees from many countries attended 2017 version and expect more this year.



  1. How do you see the future of “GamUp”?

Since I started a dream of making GamUp very large corporation, not just a start up. Our motto was that “Think Big”. In our initial start our target was to serve the MENA region, and we have already extended our services outside Egypt; as we succeeded in conducting many successful workshops – public and corporates- inside Egypt and abroad as well. Eventually we have been shortlisted for global award in international conference GamiCon, Chicago USA, and we participated through workshop in NASAGA 2018 Conference Rochester NY, USA.

Now we are competing in a European award in next November in Amsterdam “Outstanding Gamification Rookie”; this award will go to the individual who has joined the industry during the past 12 months and managed to deliver an outstanding project or spread the word about gamification far and wide.

Our mission is to boost your business up, enhance your learning process up, and improve your personal life up. We believe in our mission. We dream that we have an impact in Egypt, not just as training courses but for Gamification to reach the macroeconomics and the national projects to be Gamified and we have a lot of ideas concerning that.

We are also seeking partnership with more than one sector. Besides the British partnership we have Hungarian partnership for another service. I am also thinking of making GamUp as integrated service for Gamification and Game- based learning in the MENA Region and have several branches and partners in the MENA Region.


Matthieu VITEAUAugust 1, 2018


The Islamic Republic of Iran has been on the European Union’s political agenda for more than a decade[1]. European businesses, however, had begun developing business relationships there before the country became a hot topic for security and political staff. Far from being monolithic, Iran is a most complex environment for anyone – including businesses – to evolve in. The agreement reached in 2015 on the Iranian nuclear program[2]  had opened doors for a progressive “normalisation” with the rest of the world. Although Iranians had probably nurtured too high hopes about the outcome of the JCPOA[3] in the first place, the latter was not given the time needed to reach its full effect before the United States withdrew unilaterally.

What however appears obvious is that European reengagement – which had been very quick at political, trade, cultural, scientific levels in the wake of the JCPOA signing – has been swift to unravel since May 2018 as once again[4], the US uses domestic legislation to achieve extraterritorial effects at the cost of the EU’s (and others’) interests.

The hamstringing of EU interests by external actors has gone unabated: the US challenging the EU GDPR[5] with the Cloud Act[6], their intention to proceed with protectionist policies targeting European goods and services, Mr. Trump obviously warming up to the Russian president as the latter’s efforts to weaken the EU go on, etc. However questionable the motives and effects are, the United States follows its own course and interests – as all political entities do –. That course of action runs contrary to the EU’s interests. German Chancellor Merkel plainly spelled the crux of the matter after the May 2018 G7 summit in Canada: Europeans must “take their destiny into their own hands”. However incongruous it may sound, Iran may be providing the EU with the opportunity to build its own resilience in a very tangible yet comprehensive way.

1. Designing an Iran policy would strengthen EU internal cohesion

By coming up with a coherent policy toward Iran, the EU will need to assess its inner contradictions. The EU institutions as well as the Member States will have to address connected topics such as European companies’ dependence on the US domestic legislation, its energy policy as it moves farther away from dependence upon Gazprom, and Europe’s economy and industrial base. Progressively solving each of these tensions using Iran as a “training ground” of sorts could help the EU mature and reach the level of independence needed to improve the resilience of its and territory and Europeans.

Dealing politically with Iran involves each of the 27 EU Member States as it clearly falls under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The High Representative/Vice President of the Commission coordinates the common positions as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Council. As chief of the European External Action Service (EEAS), she’s got the tool to genuinely develop and coordinate a common policy toward Iran.

As the US sanctions show, EU-Iran relations can be impacted by 3rd party legislation as well as by the overwhelming influence exerted by a country on the structure of international trade[7]. International trade negotiations are the sole remit of the European Commission as is competition regulation. The Commission also plays a significant role in research and development, innovation, regional development thanks to the programs it funds although it shares that set of competence with the Member States[8]. Those impacted by sanctions, however, are not the Commission or any institutions or States: companies are. These companies have legitimate interests in pursuing trade and business with their Iranian counterparts notwithstanding US interests.

I have written on small and medium size European businesses that have developed business relations with Iran by remaining away from any US levers of influence. This is likely the way to go in the short term pending more refined solutions allowing major European companies to resume doing business with Iran without suffering from US retaliation.

2. Accessing Iran, diversifying strategic options, developing resilience

Iranian and Russian relations are complex and dynamic. Each follows its own path and interests and co-operation can happen when these meet. They do not systematically coincide, though, and Iranians remain wary of any “great power” game, a historical legacy at time when Iran was being assailed by European powers including Russia. Iranians expect tangible acts from partners, whether eastern of western. Iran probably realizes that promises such as the one reportedly made by Russia during the Supreme Leader’s foreign affairs advisor during his trip to Moscow are not tenable.

European Union and Russian interests do not coincide. The EU maintains a train of restrictive measures against specific Russian assets and individuals. Although some Europeans seem to display a more lenient view on Russian influence and activities, these measures have consistently been renewed every six months by the Council of the EU. As unanimity in the Council is needed for these renewals, even the member States who feel better disposed toward Russian influence consider the latter to be ambiguous enough to maintain the sanctions regime. The Union’s territory and European citizens are under continuous disinformation campaign by Russia.

Developing sustained trade and technical co-operation with Iran is one way to bring all Europeans together however diverging their views may be on other subjects. Elaborating a consistent policy for political, trade, technical, cultural relations is a starting point for the design of a common, multi-layered policy[9] that would align words and diplomacy with practical considerations and interests. Not only would such a policy open the doors to Iranian markets, it would also further strengthen the EU’s resilience by diversifying its strategic options. By reconnecting with Iran, the EU may elevate itself both inward and outward.


[1] The EU began its formal involvement in the curbing of the Iranian nuclear program in 2004.

[2] The agreement was named “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”. It was signed on July 14, 2015, by Iran, the five members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, the People’s Republic of China, France, the United Kingdom, the Federation of Russia – the P5), Germany and the European Union. On May 8, 2018, the President of the United States decided not only to withdraw from the JCPOA but also ordered the Treasury to reinstate economic sanctions against Iran.

[3] Especially when it came to the timescale of its effects. People in the streets and businesses had seemingly expected the tangible effects of the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions to materialize almost immediately.

[4] The US began designing economic sanctions with the specific aim of extraterritorial effects in the 1990s.

[5] General Data Protection Regulation

[6] The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act became law on March 23, 2018. It extends the jurisdiction of US law over the internet as it allows federal law enforcement agencies to compel U.S.-based technology companies via warrant or subpoena to provide requested data stored on servers regardless of whether the data are stored in the U.S. or on foreign soil.

[7] One example is the status of the US dollar. As it is the default currency for oil trade, Iran is severely limited in its dealing to trade its crude oil and therefore to generate revenue both for the state and the local hydrocarbon industry.

[8] See articles 3, 4 and 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union for, respectively, the exclusive, shared and complementary competence of the EU.

[9] For a list of possible co-operation fields between the EU and Iran, see : http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-1368_en.htm

Florent BOUILLYFlorent BOUILLYJuly 28, 2018


Lean managements technics are very efficient tools used to increase productivity and processes in several sectors such as automotive. Indeed, automotive companies are using lean management technics for several years and a well-known pioneer of these technics is Toyota. The founder of lean approach was, Taiichi Ohno, an executive member of Toyota during the 50’s. He wanted to focus on production processes, wastes, value streams and the Kaizen to improve Toyota’s efficiency and be more competitive on the automotive market.

This is the reason why, today, Lean manufacturing is often called “Toyota Production System” and this model is analysed by many companies in order to improve their activities.

In 50 years, Toyota became leader of a highly competitive market being in average 4 times more productive and 2 times more profitable than other competitors. These results are mainly due to Lean management and the way Toyota is organized, consequently we will look at how can we implement this model in financial services in order to reduce wastes and produce a more profitable and qualitative service.

Indeed, financial services are following very strict procedures mainly because of legal requirements and these procedures can be improve using lean management technics. As we discussed in the introduction, effects of lean has been demonstrated in the automotive sector which is organised by a succession of stages aiming to produce a final product.

The way Financial services are operating today, using sets of procedures explaining steps by steps what to do to accomplish a specific task, lead us to the conclusion that lean management technics used in manufacturing industry can be adapted to financial activities.

Knowing that lean management can be adapted to financial company, the most difficult point is now to look at how can these technics be implemented.

5 steps to Implement a lean strategy:

A first step that company usually follow is to choose one or several pilot sites where they will test and generate their news technics and ideas on current practices. This step should last 1 or 2 years in order to analyse effects of this new organisation on company’s activities and observe points that need to be improved.

Step 1: Define a target:

Define several objectives corresponding to key deadlines which could be represented in term of value, time, customer satisfaction or any kind of measurable data.

Step 2: Map

This step is important because we will define every action needed to create value in the activity such as the different step of a car production. We will create a map or a timeline going form the current state to the future state. This timeline or map is commonly called “value stream”. Then we will identify and categorize waste in the Current State, and eliminate them. This step will end up with a process where only “useful” steps are present.

Step 3: Flow

We will organise the value stream as a flow of step that we perform one after another. Then we will turn the flow to a product or service-focussed organization in order to put the service’s quality and performance as main point in the company. This will directly impact the production’s duration or services performance.

Step 4: Pull

This steps is mainly use for production of finished good as we will let the customer pull products as needed and so eliminate the need for sales forecast. In a services industry, such as finance, we will highlight which steps are needed by customers and focus on these ones. Consequently, it will remain only useful task and services in the company’s process as both customers and organisations will express what do they expect from each other.

Step 5: Perfection

This steps is not the end of lean implementation process because we can always improve a service or a production. We will restart at step 1 and go through every step again and again in order to keep only essential parts of the value stream.

What impact can we expect on Financial activities?

We can often hear people saying that lean management is only efficient in manufacturing activities because they are producing the same kind of product several times over long periods and that we can easily standardize this flow of production.

When we talk about implementing lean in industry of services, main part of people say that lean management is not applicable because tasks are too complicated.

When we step back and reflect about it, we observe that services are composed of long processes which could be sometimes more complex than those of manufacturing industries because they need to be specific to each client. The important thing to notice is that as long as we have processes to improve, lean management will be useful for the company. Hence, having processes in the financial industry makes the lean management implementable.

A difficult point will be now to convince people to get involve in a such organisation as lean strategy usually takes place on the long term and result are difficult to see on the sort term.

Many people will ask you the following questions: “Does this strategy will positively impact the financial turnover of the company? Will we see a real improvement on a financial point of view?”

A simple answer to this question is to make a quick exercise.

Find two teams having similar missions such as entering consumer transaction. We will give to each member post-it and ask them to detail how they process step by step to accomplish the task. This will create a map of the employee activity and way of working. At the end, we will put on a wall every map coming from each employee and will see which step are the most listed. This will give us the most important part to keep in the process and we will be able to look at the remaining others and see if it is possible to remove them.

After this exercise, we can now prove that on a middle to long term strategy, after some change in team’s organizations, the company will be able to perform a quicker and more qualitative service to its customer. The financial result of this strategy will be the reduction of costs, (less time to perform a task) and also an increase of the company’s turnover because employees will be able to perform more tasks in a same period of time compare than before thanks to this new organisation.

Lean is about standardizing processes to make problems visible and developing your employees’ critical thinking ability so that they can solve those problems and improve work processes. In these conditions, financial industry can take advantage of these methods and it’s sure that some of them have already started to use them in their daily activities.







Ilias KACHMARIlias KACHMARJuly 25, 2018


The carbon market… What is it?

Roughly speaking, it is a market similar to the equity market where we find buyers, sellers and brokers, but instead of trading shares, we negotiate rights or credits for CO2 emissions. Companies are first subject to emission quotas that they must reach, and then during each year, a CO2 emission quota is allocated to each facility (1 quota = 1 ton of CO2). In the European Union, if a company emits more carbon than the imposed limit by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the company must buy a “right to pollute” from a company that consumed less than its quota.

Effectively, companies that fail to ensure their quotas must purchase “rights” to emit more CO2. On the other hand, a company that has managed to emit lower quotas than what was imposed, will obtain credits of which can be sold on the market, all through different types of contracts. The aim of this system is to reward the “good performers” who invest in clean technologies by allowing them to earn money by selling their credits and penalizing those who exceed their quotas by forcing them to buy “rights” to pollute more.

There are two types of carbon markets: A “regulated” and a “voluntary” carbon market. The regulated carbon market concerns the countries that are part of the Kyoto Protocol. It is binding, and concerns the five sectors considered as the most polluting sectors: electricity production, steel, paper, refining, and glass. On the other hand, the voluntary market is open to everyone: anyone can offer CO2 credits, but for this to work you need at least a label.

In the regulated market by the Kyoto Protocol, there are different types of mechanisms for green project financing. For example, the “joint implementation mechanism” gives companies the opportunity to invest in “clean projects” outside of their national territory and subsequently generates greenhouse gas emission credits that can be used by these investors. There is also the “clean development mechanism”, which allows developed countries to achieve their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by investing in projects that reduce these emissions in developing countries. In return, they obtain emission credits that can be used for their own greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Several types of gas are involved in this market:

Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), Perfluorocarbons (PFC) or per fluorinated hydrocarbons.

Some key data…

The carbon market is also a public policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2) in the atmosphere, of which are responsible for global warming. As a result, companies are driven to invest in green and less polluting technologies, whether in the energy, transportation, housing or agriculture sectors.

Nowadays, 60% of global GDP is covered by a carbon price, and to reach it, 46 countries and 26 provinces/cities have introduced carbon pricing, whether through tax or emissions trading schemes.

Nonetheless, this level still seems too low to support the transition to a low-carbon economy in both public and private sectors, according to the I4CE, Institute for Climate Economics:

Indeed, more and more countries have introduced taxes or markets since the Paris Agreement to give CO2 a price, each country has its own carbon price and the differences vary by less than 1 Euro, as in Poland and Ukraine, up to 139 € in Sweden. There is no common global carbon price and prices vary considerably from one country to another!

As a result, it is difficult to assess the economic consequences of climate change. However, US researchers have calculated the effects on the world economy if we line up on a trajectory of 1.5 ° C by the end of the century. The result is a gain estimated at $ 20 trillion.

We can also note that 75% of emissions are covered by prices not exceeding $10 per tonne of CO2. The objective of limiting the global temperature to 2 ° C by the end of the century as set by the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved given these large price differences. According to economists and presidents of the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices, Stern and Stiglitz, prices should vary between $ 40 and $ 80 per tonne by 2020, then between $ 50 and $ 100 by 2050 to achieve this goal.

Carbon revenues are an increasingly important source of financing for the environment and the economy” stated by the I4CE.

Indeed, this carbon pricing generates 32 billion dollars of revenues in 2017, against 22 billion dollars in 2016. These revenues are used for the general public budget, for projects dedicated to low carbon transition, to finance tax exemptions and a small part is transferred to companies and households.

China creates the world’s largest carbon market

Heavyweights like China and Canada; respectively because of coal-fired power plants and tar sands industry, are among the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Thus, between 2016 and 2018, the percentage of global emissions covered by carbon pricing has almost doubled from 13% to 25%, mainly through the entry into force of the Chinese trading system in 2017. For the coming years, more than 25 pricing instruments are announced.

As of 19th December 2017, China has created the largest carbon market in the world, and largely surpasses the European emissions trading market. The more companies pay to pollute, the more motivated they will be to invest in the clean energy sector, where China is already a world leader in term of investment. Surprising, no?

With the launch of this carbon market, China not only sees a market opportunity, but also intends to be at the forefront of the global warming fight, just when the United States decided not to more honor their commitments. At the Paris agreement, China promised to reduce its carbon emissions by 60% to 65% per unit of GDP by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

When it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it’s not just about what governments can do, but about what the population itself can do. The United Nations reported that the entire process of producing, harvesting, transporting, and packing food waste generates more than 3 billion tons of CO2. If this food waste quantity was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gases emitter behind the United States and China.

Other regions are pulling out of the system, and see it as a disadvantage: Ontario

Ontario, however, sees things differently. Ontario’s new Prime Minister Doug Ford since the 29th June 2018, rather conservative, is fulfilling his election promise to take the province out of the common carbon market with Quebec and California.


According to him:

Cap and trade systems for greenhouse gas emissions are nothing more than tax levies that do not represent any gain for the environment and deprive taxpayers of their money – they primarily serve to fund large government programs.

The Earth biodiversity will undergo important changes if humans do not react in time!

International trades are primarily derived from fauna and flora, and global warming will impact them seriously.

This would result the extinction of several hundred thousand plant species. CO2 causes an increase in the growth rate of plants, but the increase in temperature will have repercussions on their lives. Global warming will also increase the severity of disease in the ocean and cause a deterioration on the marine ecosystem health (fish, algae, corals, etc.), and the entire food chain will be impacted.

Reducing these inequities and inefficiencies would save a lot of money. Does the human race realize that if plants disappear because of the increase of CO2 present in the atmosphere and the decrease of the oxygen, many forests would disappear, there would be less food for human consumption and many species would become extinct? Life in general would suffer unthinkable consequences. As a result, the Earth’s biodiversity will undergo significant changes if humans do not react in time.

Nowadays, there is a lack of projects that allows or targets waste transformation into energy, and that in some countries landfills are burned, partly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions instead of being used for example in transportation or local energy.

Therefore, the carbon market seems to be a good tool to encourage a real energy transition and to unite all countries efforts.

For that to occur, all countries would need to abide by these rules through energy production, agricultural transformation and waste management. Countries would need to take advantage of these financial resources to be able to invest differently and durably!

The Earth biodiversity will undergo significant changes if humans do not react in time.”







Ilias KACHMARIlias KACHMARJuly 23, 2018


The French SME lending company has made the decision to increase its loan capacity by 200 million euros. A decision that should reassure private investors.

Lendix decides to think bigger. With the creation of a new fund of 200 million euros, the leader of “crowdfunding” hopes to guarantee to SMEs access to loans. This fund “ensures private customers and offers insurance to borrowers to receive their funds very quickly,” said Thomas de Bourayne, president of Credit.fr. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of the investors.

« Increase its strategic strength »

The French platform, which has already lent 150 million euros to SMEs, aims to extend its scope.

“This new commitment of leading institutional investors will increase Lendix’s strength by supporting more than 600 VSEs & SMEs in their development,” said Olivier Goy, founder and president of Lendix. This initiative will undoubtedly help boost the investment of European SMEs, and consolidate its leading position in its category in France: A decision that seems responsible considering how Lendix remains below its target risk budget of 2% of outstandings. Nevertheless, the gap remains wide with the UK world leader Funding Circle, which reported having lent more than $ 5 billion.

However, it should be noted that to lend money to a SME, Lendix proceeds firstly with an eligibility test. It is necessary that:
• The head office has to be in Metropolitan France,
• The company must have a commercial activity,
• The turnover must be greater than 250 000 €,
• Operating incomes must be positive.

An in-depth study is then carried out on the career of the CEO where they verify whether he has created other companies or not, and whether they are doing well or not.

Once these verifications have been made, and to ensure their viability and profitability, the analyst examines – through financial documents – the company’s profitability and repayment capacity, its solvency through EBITDA and equities.

No SME is immune to bankruptcy!

According to a study carried out by the Banque de France from March 2017 to March 2018, the number of SME defaults is decreasing. Defaults are falling for all SMEs (-7.1%) and are increasing for medium-sized companies and large companies (+17 failures over one year), as shown in the table below:


Source : Banque de France, Direction des Entreprises, Données disponibles fin mai 2018

The higher the rating, the lower the loan rate!

Even if the number of SME bankruptcies in France decreases, Lendix must ensure that the company to which it will lend funds will be able to repay.
To do such, the Lendix credit team guarantees – as soon as the offer is issued – a fixed interest rate for the entire duration of the contract, based on a rating assigned to the project. This rating, ranging from A+ to C, allows lenders to easily understand the repayment capacity of the company and the risk level of the project to finance.

Here are the loan rates defined for each rating:


Source: https://lendix.com

In order to evaluate the loan rate amount, several criteria are taken into account:
– The performance of the company
– The Business environment
– The quality of the management team

The higher the Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio (FCCR), the greater the margin of safety!

Above all is calculated the Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio (FCCR) through the following formula:

• If the FCCR is < 1, there is not enough profitability to cover the debt repayment charges,
• If the FCCR is = 1, the profitability is just enough to cover the debt repayment expenses,
• If the FCCR is > 1, the profitability is sufficient to cover the expenses of repayment of debts.

Thus, in order to ensure its financial independence, any SME must diversify its sources of financing so as to ensure a positive growth, manage its risks and ensure its financial balance.

This decision taken by Lendix is somewhat correlated with the decrease in the number of SME bankruptcies and the growing number of created companies that will perhaps be tomorrow’s large groups.


Edouard CHANSAVANGEdouard CHANSAVANGJuly 22, 2018


More information can be found on ZeroHedge or more “traditional” media, but the quick bottom line is that real estate in China seems to be relatively positively correlated with its stock market (pictures 2 and 3).  Chinese equity seemed to have led slightly ahead the timing of the beginning of the bullish (bubblish) trend towards the end of 2014 as Chinese real estate in every cities from all 4 Tiers became buoyant soon after during the beginning of 2015. It must be stressed that most Chinese households hold nearly 75% of their wealth stacked in real estate, while American people have their wealth mostly invested in financial products (picture 1).

Source: ZeroHedge

Source: ZeroHedge

Shanghai Composite (Weekly): Compare the Chinese real estate and equity markets (March 11, 2018)

There are plenty of news related to Chinese real estate special situations and it is well known that the Chinese government attempted several times to curb down price. However, in January 2018, price tags started to decrease for the first time since May 2015 – which corresponds to the peak of the Chinese stock market bubble that became more apparent after the introduction of, you guess what, the European Quantitative Easing.

Source: ZeroHedge

Interestingly enough, soon after the Chinese president Xi Jin Ping  modified the constitution to become a potential “eternal” president, the drafting of a bill for property taxes in China was made public almost concomitantly. This coincidence appears to be too good and well-timed to be true. Are we finally sitting on the top of the cycles (fundamentally and technically speaking) as many “specialists” have already foreseen?

Xi Jin Ping’s focus on corruption crack-downs could have been extremely strategic so that opposing political powers and elites would be forced to step down. This could have given free reins to the man and its companions to keep the power and, ultimately, control market cycles in a global way.

It is also very noteworthy to mention that the Chinese Central Bank’s head Zhou Xiaochuan was replaced for the first time in 15 years on March 19, 2018 by Yi Gang, an US-educated Chinese man who also taught at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Other institutional shifts and changes happened to appear almost concomitantly in China, such as the merger of bank and insurance regulators that would grant nearly all the power to its central bank.

Now, check the last update of the chart of Chinese equities after I wrote the first line on March 11, 2018:


Shanghai Composite (Weekly) as of July 9, 2018: More than -20% since its peak in January

The Chinese stock market has tumbled and lost more than 20% of its nominal value so far since its last peak of the year on January.

This market could become very bearish as already expected previously. Let’s see how everything will end.


Another crunchy piece of news concerns the acceptance of the US president Donald Trump to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. This setup was naturally not “random”, otherwise everything in life would be too simplistic and easy.

A fashion trend about Korea hype has been continuously building up for many years. Korean students are known to be working and studying really hard, despite some negative impacts that it brought up under the will of the Korean conglomerates (Chaebol) to control its people. This also helped the Korean to improve the country’s economy albeit all the sacrifices that have been made. The well-being of the country’s people is generally improving, and their Purchasing Power Parity will soon (in 2020?) be above those of the French and the Italian, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Moreover, that increase in focus on Korea was further spurred by the 130th Anniversary of the French – Korean diplomatic relationship in 2016. Korean people are travelling around the world, especially in Europe, more than ever. That is the “new” Asia-Pacific trend.

Among too many other things, this naturally leads to the discussion on North Korea and the claim by many experts of the potential that it could create should it reunite with its old sister, South Korea.

Source: abcnews.go.com

One key word besides the meeting of the American and North Korean leaders is cycle timing. We do not know what will happen. Not yet. But there is in fact another extremely important point that has not been widely discuss so far: rare earth minerals are abundant in North Korea and China, especially one: Neodymium. Without delving into further details, it is said that Toyota has discovered a new way to create magnets for its hybrid cars that would be much cheaper and less dependable on this “rare-earth metal” which is also used in the construction of wind turbines, semi-conductors and so on. This “geopolitical” move is indeed clearly more economic than ever. The Olympic Games that were held in February 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are probably another good excuse.


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