Arabs got tech: 8 Middle Eastern startups that will make your life easier

Published March 23rd, 2014 - 06:39 GMT

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health
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Image 1 of 8: Feeling sick and don’t know why? Looking for a Dr. in your area? AlTibbi.com is the Middle East’s answer to WebMd - an all-Arabic online resource where hypochondriacs can ask all illness-related questions! It even has an Arab language medical dictionary of over 65,000 terms for those with serious health concerns!

Arabia Weddings
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Image 1 of 8: The Middle East takes weddings VERY seriously! Luckily, Arabia Weddings are here to help you have the perfect (and showstopping) big day. From a wedding checklist, trends and deals, Arabia Weddings offers a full online service - it even has a travel section just in case you were thinking of flying in all those cousins!

online books
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Image 1 of 8: Less TV, more reading is the primary aim of Jamalon. It’s the Middle East’s largest online bookstore and offers over 9.3 million titles in Arabic and English with an easy home delivery option. Aimed with the “Arab consumer” in mind, it aims to localize its services - move aside Amazon!

accommodation
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Image 1 of 8: Struggling to find couchsurfing options for your Middle East sojourn? Gweet is here to help! A win-win for the foreign tourist and the local Arab homeowner with excess space, it provides a regional network of housing options offered by locals.For homeowners, it is an easy way to monetize extra space and show tourists the local culture.

electronic waste
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Image 1 of 8: Want to help the Middle East clean up its act? RecycloBekia is a electronic waste recycling company that serves the region. It wants to minimize the electronic industry’s impact on the environment by creating an easy-to-use recycling system for your electronic waste. Very noble and very necessary - lets make the Middle East green and clean!

reservation
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Image 1 of 8: Want to make the best dinner plans for the weekend? If you’re in Amman, Beirut, or Dubai ReserveOut allows you to search restaurants nearby and reserve a table free of charge. Connecting hungry people with their favorite food? What could be better? It’s got plans to expand across the region too.

Middle Eastern weather
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Image 1 of 8: After snowstorm Alexa, you can never be too careful when it comes to Middle Eastern weather - so get on ArabiaWeather! Whether you live in Casablanca, Dubai, Cairo, or Baghdad, it will give you with a hour-by-hour, five-day, or ten day forecast. With your new weather-savviness, you’ll never run out of small talk!

cooking
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Image 1 of 8: Want to cook your grandmother’s famous mansaf? Check out Zaytouneh, a website with thousand’s of videos dedicated to teaching you how to prepare classic Middle Eastern meals. Dubbed in multiple Arabic dialects and languages, Zaytouneh produces 80 videos a month - so there’s no excuse not to get in the kitchen and cooking up some kubbeh!

Much attention in the Middle East over the last three years has focused on the Arab uprisings -- on the political transformations, good and bad, that have remade the future of the region. Yet, much less attention has been paid to the small, but growing economic revolutionbrewing throughout the Arab world.

Startups, internet companies, and the technology sector more generally are beginning to lead the way in the Arab world’s economic transformation. The question is, can the Arab world parallel its political revolutions with a new economic paradigm?

Tel Aviv is known globally as the “startup city.” Though the Arab world has yet to create its own Silicon Valley, small hubs of innovation are sprouting in places like Amman, Beirut, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

As a new, young generation of Arabs turn to surfing the web more than the sand dunes it is an opportune time for tech-startups to establish themselves and lead the region in a new wave of economic inspiration.

More importantly, many of today’s entrepreneurs are creating products for Arabs and by Arabs. No longer simply imitating Western ideas, this new wave of entrepreneurs is creating solutions for local and regional Arab problems and needs.

Finally, the startup revolution offers the Middle East economies an opportunity to tackle stubbornly high youth unemployment by training and equipping a new generation in tech-related skills. For resource poor countries like Jordan, the treasures inherent in the startup sector create an opportunity to leverage the human capital that already resides in the country.

 Can the Middle East transform itself into the new tech-Mecca of the world? Let’s explore...

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