Startup funding in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) saw a decline in all but three countries. While the overall amount raised grew slightly to $4 billion in 2023 across 583 transactions, this includes the $1.77 billion in debt financing across 10 deals. Without this debt, the total amount raised by Mena startups dropped by 35 per cent.
Debt financing tripled last year primarily due to the buy now pay later startups, Tabby and Tamara, which together raised $1.3 billion in debt. In fact the debt and equity amount raised by these two startups alone accounted for almost 51 per cent of the total amount raised last year. These two startups also contributed to Saudi Arabia's growth in funding. Besides Morocco and Oman, which saw a 30 per cent and 39 per cent rise respectively, Saudi Arabia was the only country to see investment grow substantially at a rate of 159 per cent compared to 2022.
Most of the countries in the region fared badly, including Egypt, which saw the number of transactions halve to 90 and investment drop 17 per cent last year compared to 2022 while debt-free investment dropped by almost 40 per cent. Perhaps most surprisingly, the amount raised by UAE-based startups decreased by 47 per cent including debt, while debt-free investment dropped by 65 per cent.
The full report is available here: https://www.wamda.com/research