As some of you might know, I’m co-authoring a book with my dear friend Nadim Issa on Financial Freedom that is due to be published soon.
The book is really focused on the MENA region and has been written in a way to provide insights, techniques, suggestions and ways to reach financial freedom taking into consideration the financial systems, banking system, legal structure, and culture in the MENA region.
I’m just going to share the “Preface” of the book below as a small teaser about the book, stay tuned as I will announce when it is officially launched.
Financial freedom is an aspiration to many, if not most, individuals around the globe, yet achieving it can be rather tricky, and challenging, and needs a lot of hard work, particularly in the MENA region. This book, written by two co-authors, Afif Tabsh and Nadim Issa, aims to provide readers with practical insights, information, and real-life examples of how to gain financial freedom in the MENA region.
The idea for this book came during the authors’ morning walks in Istanbul as they discussed ways to optimize their financial status after losing most of their savings and investments in Lebanon’s financial crisis. They realized that their experiences and observations of what is happening across the region could benefit many others in the MENA region. Their discussions and brainstorming sessions culminated in a new framework for the book, which will serve as a toolkit for anyone seeking financial freedom in the MENA region.
Throughout the following chapters, readers will learn how to gain financial freedom in the MENA region, focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities specific to the region. However, lessons learned, facts, and knowledge apply to everyone wherever they live, especially in third-world countries or developing countries. This differentiation is because many techniques, resources, options, policies, and regulations in countries like the US, UK, Canada, and most European countries do not apply in the rest of the world. Thus the authors focused on making this financial freedom book MENA-Centric in its approach rather than Western/US-Centric like most of the books and resources available on this topic.
The book covers various stages of life, from university to retirement and beyond, providing practical insights and advice for novice investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an ambition to succeed in the region. The word success in this book refers to people’s financial freedom and not their business success, career development, and impact on the community or any other metric.
The importance of this book at this point in time lies in the fact that despite the challenges that the world is witnessing, from hyperinflation to recessions and world health crises like covid19, the MENA region continues to show impressive growth, with many countries enjoying at least a 3% year-on-year GDP growth. This growth is fueled by significant government investments in infrastructure and high demographic development of more than 2% per year. With this in mind, the authors believe that anyone in the MENA region can achieve financial freedom with the proper knowledge, mindset, and resources that this book aims to provide.
With over 35 years of combined experience, Afif and Nadim offer a wealth of knowledge and practical insights that will help readers achieve their financial goals. They have tailored their advice to the unique challenges and opportunities of the MENA region, making this book an essential resource for anyone looking to gain financial freedom in this region.
The authors hope this book inspires, informs, and motivates you to achieve financial freedom in the MENA region. Enjoy and benefit from it!
I hope 2023 is treating you well and that it brings you a lot of health, wealth, and happiness! 😀
2022, just like its predecessors, has brought with it a plethora of challenges and hits on all of us. Challenges like changes in market needs, pricing schizophrenia, logistics limitations, fluctuating global situation, and last but not least, for me, a great loss on the personal level, have made this year a tough one to handle, to say the least. Nevertheless, at times pushing against the current, and other times riding it, alongside amazing, family, friends, partners and team members, has made it an outstanding year in terms of growth and expansion and the plans ahead are even more ambitious, so I would like to share with you some updates from my end on RPS MENA, JPC Ltd, RainMakers, and the Youssef Tabsh Foundation among other things I’m currently part of.
I have a lot to say to be honest, but I will try to keep it brief, insightful, and hopefully inspire you to be optimistic and to think of growth despite everything going on in the local, regional, and global arena.
Growth and success from my perspective are not accidental but intentional. They are a deliberate effort being put day-in and day-out by all those involved. Everyone ought to be doing all they can to keep on learning, testing things, trying new ideas, being hopeful in times of despair, daring to dream of things that do not exist yet, planning for 5 and 10 years ahead when we sometimes feel we can not anticipate what is going to happen next month, and yet putting everything we have into action to make things work. Do they always work? Definitely not always from the first time! We do mistakes; we might feel we’re failing or that things are not going as planned, but building feedback loops, rapidly adapting, and pushing forward is definitely bound to make things work in the end in the given context and resources.
Here are some highlights from my end for 2022.
As many of you already know, it has already been 5 years since RPS MENA, a research, consulting, and training firm headquartered in Beirut, was founded by my sister Ghina and myself and expanded to another office in Istanbul over a year ago. Over the past 5 years, we have been primarily focused on serving the development sector (NGOs, INGOs, UN, WorldBank, IFC, CSOs, Networks, Coalitions..), though we have had a fair share of private sector clients across industries and partnered/supported service providers and other organizations that work with them.
In 2022 we are glad to say that we’ve had yet another record-breaking year with more projects, more consultants engaged, more clients served, more consulting days put, more training days delivered, and more research projects implemented than any of the previous years. With that, we’ve expanded our team with 2 new team members and many more consultants and experts that we work with on a project basis, and we are now serving more countries than ever before, including Iraq, UAE, KSA, and Turkey.
Despite all the economic, social, and financial challenges impacting Lebanon, Turkey, and the region, we have invested in our steady growth, building internal infrastructure and proper systems, and most importantly in having on board the right team members and partners that we can build with and grow with for many years to come.
JPC Ltd is a peace-building and conflict transformation firm established in late 2022 in Cyprus by Jean-Paul and me, to serve the EMEA region. Though it was established just a few months ago, we have already attracted a considerable amount of talent to join our Talent Roster, we have applied to several new projects, met with potential clients, recruited a new team member to help us in Coordinating Projects, and we believe 2023 is going to be an eventful and exciting year.
As part of our knowledge-sharing ethos, we are organizing a free webinar, on February February 7, at 6:30 pm Beirut time, titled “Transforming Conflict: A Systemic Approach”. We would love it if you join us and if you know others who might be interested in the field of Peace Building, Conflict Analysis, Conflict Transformation, and the like, then this is definitely for them.
Rain Makers supports organizations (NGOs and others) to improve their opportunity identification, donor mapping, proposal success rates, and developing fundraising strategies and partnership-building capabilities with a participatory approach.
It is legally incorporated late 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey, serving all EMEA region, and is the brainchild of my friend Antoun Andrea and I, as a spin-off of services we used to offer separately through our different vehicles. Thus we decided to join forces, synergize and build something that can positively impact so many lives by helping organizations identify more grants, tenders, bids, and funding opportunities while we can also support them in developing those proposals to help them grow.
We did a soft launch in the last two months and are happy to say that we already got more than a handful of clients and partners that we are serving and the list is growing steadily.
If you are interested to know more, and see how we can help you fundraise, identify more opportunities, write better proposals, map donors and the like…then I invite you to register for our official Launching Webinar, taking place on February 15 at 11:00 am Beirut Time.
Last but not least, it has been a year since my father, Dr. Youssef Tabsh, passed away, and thus a year since we established the Youssef Tabsh Foundation. The Foundation focuses mostly on the causes that he used to be a passionate advocate and supporter of including Social Justice, Medical & Health Services Accessibility to All, and Pan-Arab Collaboration in education, culture, business, and economy among other avenues.
Accordingly, throughout the first year of its establishment, we focused on building its internal policies, procedures, governance, volunteer manuals, developing a way forward, strategy, and some high-level initiatives. In parallel to that, we kept his legacy of philanthropic giving under the three pillars mentioned above to various individuals, families, and organizations in need.
This year, we launched the Youssef Tabsh Foundation Financial Sustainability & Fundraising Support program for Medical & Health NGOs targeting 20 NGOs in the Arab nation. We received a considerably bigger number of applications than we expected and thus ended up expanding our program to cater to 38 organizations, almost doubling our target from the kick-start.
The aim of the program is to empower those NGOs on the best practices in Fundraising, Proposal Writing, and Opportunity Identification and coach them to develop their fundraising strategies to become more financially sustainable. Our belief is that it is better to teach others how to fish, than to give them a fish, and thus helping those NGOs develop the needed capacities or enhance their existing capacities in one way or another, would make a substantially bigger impact than any monetary donation we can offer as a foundation.
The program kicked off in January and will continue till end of April 2023.
To learn more about the foundation, you can check its website, and you can also connect to our social media pages where we will be posting more about the NGOs we’re supporting and announcing new programs and initiatives throughout the year.
Since my brain cannot rest and there is always something I want to learn, things I still want to do, I’ll share a few thoughts about things I’m working on, or others that are to be launched/announced in due time.
Publishing my first book: A friend of mine, and I are currently co-authoring a book which I’m very excited about, and planning to base several educational, coaching, and support programs on it. The full announcement and details will follow in due time.
WAAAUB Turkey Chapter: As some might know, I’ve relocated to Istanbul almost 1.5 years ago with my family, and since then I helped establish the AUB’s Alumni Chapter in Turkey that I currently serve as VP. Since then, I’m happy to say that we have been quite active with events, both online and face-to-face, and now the community has grown to more than 60 members in just a year. It’s always good to connect with Alumni from our Alma Mater and hoping 2023 will be even business, more active and more engaging to all involved..
Training, Job Opportunities & Scholarships: For those who have known me since my days in Aie Serve, Global Shapers and other youth-led NGos, I constantly try to share opportunities for free or paid training opportunities, new job opportunities, and scholarships whenever I find them. I see the offers and demand are increasing and happy to say that through Whatsap Communities, we are able to do that at a scale and ease we could never have thought of before. Communities are growing in the thousands and opportunities are plenty. Mostly Lebanon-specific, which is much needed. So for those interested in sharing opportunities, or to receive, drop me a message to add you to the appropriate Whatsapp Community or direct you to the different Social Media Pages/groups. Just be specific about what you have in mind.
Wrapping it Up
With all the above, I cannot be thankful enough for God’s innumerable gifts and for everyone who has contributed to the success of any of the above, whether through direct or indirect involvement.
I feel blessed every day working and collaborating with individuals that are profoundly good-willed, ethical, and professional. All in all, it makes working enjoyable and smooth, and with a high level of trust that together, we can achieve great things.
As a way of giving back, if you have ideas about something you want to implement, a new project, new business, or new initiative and you do not know how to start or want to discuss it with someone, I’d be happy to support you. Drop me a message and we’ll agree on a common time to do a quick Zoom call to help you out.