Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Bahrain is one of the world's smallest countries, with an area of only 760 square kilometres and a population of about 738,000. It is located in the Middle East, on an archipelago in the Persian Gulf. Most people in Bahrain are well-employed and literate, and almost nobody lives below the poverty line. Bahrain is a small but healthy marketplace. Although it may not be large enough for a brand to justify substantial capital investment, a company can work with an established partner to achieve healthy returns.
Bahrain is believed to be the site of Dilmun, a trading partner of the ancient Iraqi civilization. It was part of the Persian Empire dating back to the 6th century BC. Throughout the centuries, it fell under the rule of different civilizations, including the Parthians and Sassinids. Islam arrived in Bahrain around the 7th century.

In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. During the 19th century, it entered into treaties with Britain to become a British protectorate to secure its holdings. Bahrain attained its independence in 1971.
Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy, which operates under the rule of the king. In 1973, Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa established the framework when he instituted reforms based on a constitution. The king and a bicameral legislature, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies (elected by suffrage) and the Shura Council (appointed by the king) appoint the executive. The government is headed by the prime minister and the crown prince, who serves as commander of the Bahrain Defence Forces. There is no legal framework for political parties, although they do operate under the form of political societies.
Over half of the population is Arab, with foreign-born inhabitants forming the rest of the population. Arabic is the primary language spoken in Bahrain, although English is common. Islam is the predominant religion, with an emphasis on Shi'a, and it governs all aspects of the people's lives. The extended family or tribe forms the basis of social structure and individual identity. Women tend to be more publicly active in Bahrain than other Arab countries.
Bahrain has one of the freest and most diversified economies in the region. It has a GDP of about US$29.8 billion, with the greatest percentage coming from petroleum production and refining. Bahrain's continued investment in communications, transportation and manufacturing infrastructure appears to be bearing economic fruit for the future. It has grown to be one of the most diversified economies in the Gulf Region and has been growing at a rate of 3% to 8% over the past several years.
As the result of a joint venture agreement with Mohammed Ebrahim Al Saffar in 2006, Abudawood operates as the Abudawood Al Saffar Company (ASC). In Bahrain, we offer the following services:
› Key Account Management › Retail Sales › Merchandising › Logistics



  • Area: 750 sq. km.
  • Population: 750,000
  • Growth: 1%
  • Unemployment: 15%
  • Literacy: 87%
  • Urban: 90%
  • Poverty: 0%


  • Base: Manama
  • Facilities: 2
  • Vehicles: 60
  • Employees: 100
  • Outlets: 1,500
Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Egypt is located in northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea north of Sudan. It has the largest population in the Arab world at about 80 million. Egypt is a very important marketplace for any brand - both now and in the foreseeable future. However, the complexity and scope of its economic and geographic diversity requires more than investment and infrastructure; it also necessitates innovative thinking and flexibility to produce success.
Egypt has been civilized for more than 5,000 years, dating back to 3200 BC, due in large part to the richness of the Nile River. Egypt was ruled by several dynasties for 3,000 years until 341 BC, when it fell to the Persians. The Arabs introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century, ruling for the next 600 years.

Upon completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub. Britain took control of Egypt's government in 1882, maintaining allegiance to the Ottoman Empire until 1914. Egypt achieved partial independence from Britain in 1922, and full sovereignty in 1952.
Egypt has been a republic since 1953. The government consists of a semi-presidential republic, where the president is the head of state and head of government. The government exercises executive power, and legislative power is vested in the government and the People's Assembly, which is the principal legislative body. The government also consists of the Consultative (Shura) Council, which has limited legislative powers. The National Democratic Party is the main ruling party, although the Egyptian Constitution, which was adopted in 1971, permits the existence of other political parties (except for religious parties).
Egyptian culture dates back more than 5,000 years, and mixes elements of ancient and modern traditions, with influences from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Egyptian culture is religiously moderate and inclusive; most people are Sunni Muslims, with the remainder being Coptic Christians. Arabic is the main spoken and written language. Social class is very apparent in Egypt, as it determines access to power and position. The population is divided mostly into four main cultural groups: Copts, Bedouins, Nubians and Fallahin (Egyptian peasants). Family is also very significant in Egyptian society.
Egypt has a GDP of about US$500 billion, with growth ranging from 4% to 7% over the last few years. It earns significant revenues from manufacturing and tourism, as well as oil and gas production. Most economic activity occurs around the highly fertile Nile River valley. Over the last 20 years, the government has made reforms to the economy and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure via private-public partnerships (PPPs). PPP projects include building and maintaining public schools, hospitals, potable and wastewater stations, and freeways. Agriculture employs almost 30% of the population.
The wholly-owned Abudawood Distribution Company has operated in Egypt since 2006. Particularly innovative at reaching into the hinterland areas where the majority of Egypt's rural population lives, works and shops, the company has won client accolades for its endeavours. In Egypt, we offer the following services:
› Retail Sales › Van Sales › Merchandising › Logistics



  • Area: 1 Million SQ KM
  • Population: 80 Million
  • Growth: 2%
  • Unemployment: 9%
  • Literacy: 70%
  • Urban: 45%
  • Poverty: 20%


  • Base: Cairo
  • Facilities: 32
  • Vehicles: 250
  • Employees: 1,300
  • Outlets: 50,000
Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Pakistan is located in southern Asia, bordered by India, Afghanistan, Iran and China. It has the sixth largest population in the world, with more than 184 million people. Pakistan has a number of challenges, including a quarter of the population living below the poverty line and half the population being literate. Its sheer numbers of people make it economically attractive, although two-thirds of the population live in difficult-to-reach rural areas.
The Indus Valley civilization dates back more than 5,000 years, and spread over most of what is now modern-day Pakistan. During the second century BC, the existing culture merged with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. Over the centuries, the area was ruled by the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans and Turks. The Mughal Empire ruled the region during the 16th and 17th centuries, followed by the British Empire in the 18th century.

In 1947, British-ruled India was separated into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with East and West sections) and the Hindu nation of India. The two nations have continued to fight over the disputed Kashmir territory, and East Pakistan became the separate nation of Bangladesh.
Pakistan has been ruled by democratic and authoritarian military governments. The government follows the framework of a federal republic, and has been at times parliamentary, presidential or semi-presidential. Under the current parliamentary system, the president of Pakistan (who must be Muslim) is the mostly ceremonial head of state while the prime minister is the head of government. The government exercises executive power and the Parliament is responsible for legislative power. The federal legislature consists of a Senate and National Assembly.
The society and culture of Pakistan consists of many diverse cultures and ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis and Muhajurs in the east; the Baloch and Pashtun tribal cultures in the west; and Dardic and Tajik communities in the north. Each of these cultures has also been influenced by cultures from the surrounding countries. The official language is Urdu, although Pakistani society is multilingual, multi-ethnic and multicultural. Islam is the primary religion, and it governs all aspects of Pakistanis' lives. Pakistan is a hierarchical society, and people are respected according to age and position.
Pakistan has a GDP of about US$451.2 billion, with growth in the range of 5% to 8%. Textiles account for the majority of the country's exports, although it has tried to diversify its manufacturing industry. Rising inflation is a major short-term concern, and Pakistan is trying to find other sources of revenue besides textiles and remittances from citizen workers abroad. Encouraging for the future is the government's current investment in communications infrastructure, its solicitation of more direct foreign investment and the general stability of relations with India.
Abudawood entered Pakistan in 2008 through a complete acquisition of the long-time Procter & Gamble distributor partner there, which now operates under the Abudawood umbrella brand. In Pakistan, we offer the following services:
› Key Account Management › Retail Sales › Van Sales › Merchandising › Logistics



  • Area: 800,000 sq. km.
  • Population: 185 Million
  • Growth: 2%
  • Unemployment: 14%
  • Literacy: 50%
  • Urban: 36%
  • Poverty: 24%


  • Base: Karachi
  • Facilities: 47
  • Vehicles: 400
  • Employees: 1,100
  • Outlets: 165,000
Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Saudi Arabia is located in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. It has a population close to 26 million. Saudi Arabia is poised to remain the region's healthiest economic engine for years to come, and will always be an important marketplace for any world brand. It is essential to partner with a company that has the knowledge, skills, resources and manpower in Saudi Arabia to properly represent your company and brand.
Colloquially referred to as 'The Kingdom,' Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines, in Mecca and Medina. The region in and around Saudi Arabia has been home to various cultures for more than 5,000 years. Islam became the predominant religion in the 7th century, when the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, began preaching in Mecca. He later migrated to Medina, where he united the tribes of Arabia into a singular Muslim state.

In 1932, Abdul al Aziz al Saud (Ibn Saud) founded the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia is ruled by an absolute monarchy, where the King is head of state and head of government. Abdullah bin Abdul al-Aziz Al Saud is the current ruler, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law, which declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by male descendants of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. The Qu'ran is the country's constitution, which is governed according to Islamic law (Shari'a).

On October 20, 2006, Saudi Arabia set up the Allegiance Institution, a committee of princes to vote on the eligibility of future kings and crown princes. The committee includes key sons and grandsons of King Abdul Aziz. The committee can vote for one of three princes nominated by the king.
All Saudis practice Islam, which governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam; millions of Muslims visit the nation every year. Muslims must pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening. All businesses close on Friday, which is the Muslim holy day. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.

The family and tribe form the basis of social structure. Saudis are deeply aware of their heritage, clan and extended family. Saudis are serious about their responsibilities to their families, which tend to be large and quite close. Individuals derive their social networks and assistance from the family. Friends and strangers alike are warmly welcomed in homes and offices, as Saudis are among the most hospitable and social people in the world.
The World Bank ranks Saudi Arabia as the 16th best country in the world in which to do business. Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Middle East with a GDP of US$622.5 billion. Half of the GDP comes from the petroleum sector (Saudi Arabia has about a quarter of the world's known reserves) and the other half comes from manufacturing and services.

Saudi Arabia is investing heavily to develop economic health and diversity for the future, and is promoting foreign investment and private business in the country. In 2005, it joined the World Trade Organization. In 2009, it opened the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia's first co-educational university.
In Saudi Arabia, the country where Abudawood was founded in 1935 and is still its home for global operations, the company operates officially as the Ismail Ali Abudawood Trading Company, but is popularly known simply as IATCO or Abudawood. In Saudi Arabia, we offer the following services:
› Key Account Management › Retail Sales › Van Sales › Merchandising › Logistics › Marketing



  • Area: 2 Million sq. km
  • Population: 30 Million
  • Growth: 1.5%
  • Unemployment: 0%
  • Literacy: 80%
  • Urban: 80%
  • Poverty: 0%


  • Base: Jeddah
  • Facilities: 30
  • Vehicles: 500
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Outlets: 30,000
Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula and is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west and Oman to the east. It has a population of about 24 million. Yemen is known for its strategic location next to the Gulf of Aden, one of most active (and dangerous) shipping lanes in the world. For brands wanting to expand beyond more core marketplaces, Yemen offers opportunity, but only when the right experience, knowledge and capabilities are present.
Yemen is one of the oldest centres of civilization in the region, and has been home to many different civilizations. Islam came to Yemen in the 7th century, leading to rule by many different Imams over the following centuries. Yemen became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, and again in the 19th century.

In 1918, Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Between 1918 and 1962, the Hamidaddin monarchy ruled the country. North Yemen became a republic in 1962; in 1967, the British Empire, which had set up a protective area around the South Arabia port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew from South Arabia and the republic of South Yemen was formed. On May 22, 1990, the two countries formally united as the Republic of Yemen.
Yemen is a presidential republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected president, an elected Assembly of Representatives, and an appointed Shura Council share power. The president is the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government.

According to the constitution, the president must be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates endorsed by at least 15 members of Parliament. The prime minister is appointed by the president and must be approved by two-thirds of Parliament. As a Muslim country, Shari'a is the main source of laws.
Yemen is ethnically Arabic and split primarily between two Islamic religious groups (Sunni and Shi'a), although the constitution provides for religious freedom. The Qur'an is central the life of Yemenis. The country is divided into six cultural and economic zones, each with its own tribal and religious distinctions. Yemen is primarily a patriarchal society; while the 1994 constitution granted equal rights to women, segregation of the sexes still remains. The cultural values of Yemen include decency, hospitality and respect for elders. The majority of the population chews qat, a narcotic bush, for more than five hours a day.
Yemen has a GDP of approximately US$61.9 billion, about half of which is generated by petroleum revenues and half by agriculture. However, it is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab world, with a 35% unemployment rate and declining oil stocks.

In 2006, Yemen developed an economic reform program to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In October 2009, it exported its first liquefied natural gas. In January 2010, the international community established the Friends of Yemen group to support Yemen's efforts toward economic and political reform. In August 2010, the IMF approved a three-year, US$370-million program to further this effort.
Since 2004, Abudawood has partnered with the family-owned firm, Mohammad Sief Thabet Trading Company, to conduct its operations in Yemen as The Abudawood Trading Company. In Yemen, we offer the following services:
› Key Account Management › Retail Sales



  • Area: 500,000 sq. km.
  • Population: 25 Million
  • Growth: 3%
  • Unemployment: 35%
  • Literacy: 50%
  • Urban: 30%
  • Poverty: 45%


  • Base: Sana'a
  • Facilities: 15
  • Vehicles: 90
  • Employees: 160
  • Outlets: 120
Introduction History Politics Culture Business Service
Iraq is located in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait. It has a population of about 30 million. Iraq represents an enormous long-term opportunity for any brand. However, over the short term, it is a challenging and potentially dangerous marketplace. Success in Iraq requires infrastructure, solid relationships, strategic thinking and long-term commitment.
Iraq has a cultural history that goes back about 10,000 years, and is often referred to as the cradle of civilization (as well as the birthplace of the wheel and cuneiform script). The region was originally known as Mesopotamia, and is also the location of Sumer, the world's earliest known civilization, followed by numerous significant civilizations (e.g. Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria).

Iraq was under Ottoman rule until the end of World War I, and was administered by the British Empire until the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932. The Republic of Iraq was formed in 1958, although it was ruled by a series of strongmen until 2003. Following several years of conflict, Iraq formed a constitutional government in 2006.
Iraq operates within a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic. It is a multi-party system where executive power falls under the prime minister of the Council of Ministers as the head of government, as well as the president (or Presidency Council). The Council of Representatives and the Federation Council are vested with legislative power.
Iraq has one of the world's oldest cultures, and much of its ancient heritage is still celebrated today. The Iraqi population consists primarily of Arabs, with the remainder being Kurds and other groups. The official language is Arabic, although other languages are spoken by other ethnic groups. Most Iraqis are Muslim, and Islam is central to all aspects of their lives. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in the culture, as it is tied deeply to both Arab and Muslim traditions. Family and honour are also of central importance.
Iraq has some of the largest oil reserves in the world, which provide about 90% of the government's revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. It has a GDP of about US$117.7 billion, which has been assisted by an improved security environment. The Iraqi government is working to stabilize the country by enacting law and legislation to develop its vast petroleum resources, and encourage and enable fair and safe foreign investment and economic activity. It is also working on building the requisite institutions to implement economic policy.
Abudawood entered Iraq in 2003, entering into a majority-ownership joint venture with the Marmouka Company, a long-time, well-respected distributor partner there. In Iraq, we offer the following services:
› Key Account Management › Retail Sales › Van Sales › Merchandising › Logistics



  • Area: 400,000 sq. km
  • Population: 30 Million
  • Growth: 3%
  • Unemployment: 15%
  • Literacy: 74%
  • Urban: 67%
  • Poverty: 25%


  • Base: Erbil
  • Facilities: 9
  • Vehicles: 70
  • Employees: 500
  • Outlets: 20,000
Where many organizations and brands see unfamiliar faces and cultures, unusual business practices, uncertainty and upheaval - sometimes even outright conflict - Abudawood sees opportunity. We specialize in helping world-class companies and brands succeed in emerging markets, and have done so for over 75 years. From our base in Saudi Arabia, we have been engaged by great clients in an ever-expanding array of markets. Our current markets are simply a start point and only a hint of where we will go for clients in the future. Use the map to explore how and where we do business now.


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