Middle East: key developments from the region

Jon Wright
Head of Insight - RA EMEA

Date : 09 March 2020

Developments from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

UAE based ecommerce websites to register with the government

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has advised companies and individuals involved in ecommerce to register with their respective economic departments. Registry will be used to monitor the delivery and quality of goods to protect consumer rights and increase confidence in products purchased online.

Purchases will be controlled by the government, meaning consumers can contact their local government authority for solutions regarding problems with their online orders. All issues are to be solved by the consumer protection department.

UAE drops prices on food and supermarket goods

Separately, the UAE has reduced food prices to align with a government initiative to promote consumer welfare and keep household expenses under control.

The Ministry of Economy introduced a programme to offer shoppers discounts of 25-60%. Beginning on 1 March, discounts have been applied to 5,000 food and consumer goods to ensure price stability in the market. Price reductions come ahead of Ramadan, beginning late April where retail prices tend to increase as families stock up for the festivities.

The Ministry collaborated with retailers and cooperatives to implement the initiative. One participating retailer, Union Cooperative, has reduced its prices by 30% for the month of March.

Lulu launches health campaign

Meanwhile, Lulu has launched the campaign “your health is in your hands” aiming to promote proper hand hygiene for shoppers, employees, and the public. It has introduced the campaign as infections and diseases are mainly spread through poor hand washing.

Shared surfaces and touchpoints such as trolleys, baskets, handrails, and washrooms will be cleaned daily. Strict hand washing procedures will be enforced, especially in the butchery, fish counter, kitchen, and bakery, where staff are in contact with raw meat and food preparation. Employees will undergo compulsory hand hygiene training, while their temperatures will be monitored before and after reporting for work.

Carrefour signs MoU to support farming sector

Finally, Carrefour in Bahrain where it is operated by Majid Al Futtaim, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bahrain Agricultural Cooperative Society to enhance the diversity and sustainability of Bahrain’s agricultural sector.

The retailer aims to use its knowledge to increase support for local farmers and help them to develop and promote their products. It has committed to improving the sales and marketing platform for Bahraini agricultural products including vegetables, fruits, herbs and plants, among others. It hopes the partnership will encourage farmers to work towards sustainable production, as well as spread awareness about food security while promoting environmental preservation.