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Top 10 Best Freelance Platforms In The Middle East

Looking to launch or upgrade your freelance career in the MENA region? Discover the top 10 online marketplaces where freelancers can find gigs.

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top 10 best freelance platforms in the middle east
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Looking for the ideal place to flex your freelance muscles in the Middle East? Our curated list of the top 10 freelance platforms in the region has you covered. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie stepping into the gig economy, this guide will help you navigate the best spots to find work.

Quick Summary Of The Top 10 Best Freelance Platforms In The Middle East:

Platform: Withdrawal Methods: Service Fees: Special Features:
Upwork Bank Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, M-Pesa 10% The world’s largest freelance platform
Fiverr PayPal, Fiverr Card, Bank Transfer, Payoneer 20% Unique mini-store format, Fiverr Pro for established freelancers
Freelancer.com PayPal, Bank Transfer, Skrill, Payoneer, Express Withdrawal 10% Lower service fee with membership, competitive pricing
Ureed Wire Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer 20% MENA-focused, wide range of specialties
Tasmeem ME N/A N/A Creative-focused, job board, external payment handling
Mosawer.net Direct Payment (Client) 20% Photography-focused, simple booking process
Elharefa Cash, Bank Transfer 20% Transparent payment handling, short and long-term projects
Bawabba Direct Payment (Client) 20% Wide range of services, direct client contact
Inploy N/A No Fees Free Contact Exchange, payment facilitation in testing
Bayt N/A N/A Comprehensive job site with freelance opportunities

The Middle East Is Embracing Gig Work

If you’re interested in the best freelance marketplaces in the Middle East because you want to kick off your freelance journey or elevate your existing gig game, then you’re not alone.

The Middle East, a region once synonymous with oil, has been fast morphing into a hotbed of freelance activity. Tectonic shifts in economic landscapes, spurred by youthful vigor and digital dexterity, are making the gig economy not just an alternative, but a preferred mode of work.

In a sweeping survey of over 4,000 professionals from the MENA region, a whopping nearly 9 out of 10 stated that freelancing is their current or future plan, particularly when it comes to online marketing, graphic design, and content writing.

For those who are interested in trading regular work schedules for a more flexible freelance lifestyle, the appeal is clear: the autonomy to choose projects that resonate with your skills and interests, the freedom to set your own hours, and the ability to work from anywhere are powerful draws. And when you couple the perks of freelancing with the appeal of cities like Dubai, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi, which have thriving startup ecosystems (particularly in sectors like fintech, edtech, and digital media), the proposition becomes all the more enticing.

That’s why there’s no shortage of websites where MENA freelancers can find gigs that align with their expertise and aspirations. On one hand, we have global marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. On the other hand, regional alternatives such as Ureed, Tasmeem, and Mosawer.net are equally excellent, helping freelancers and employers within the region collaborate with ease. Let’s take a closer look at them.

#1- Upwork

upwork freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Bank Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, M-Pesa
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 10% of the earnings made on the platform

As the most popular freelance platform in the world, Upwork stands as a colossal figure even in the MENA region, offering a platform where freelancers can connect with clients in need of services ranging from graphic design to web development and much more.

Thanks to its size, there’s no shortage of work opportunities on Upwork, posted by anyone from solo entrepreneurs to large brands. That’s why the platform is equally ripe with potential for newbies looking to snag your first gig and seasoned professionals eyeing big-ticket projects.

However, Upwork can be a bit competitive for newcomers due to its vast pool of established freelancers and the fact that it costs money to let clients know that you’re interested in their project because freelancers receive only a limited number of free Connects every month.

#2- Fiverr

fiverr

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: PayPal, Fiverr Card, Bank Transfer, Direct Deposit, Payoneer
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 20% of the earnings made on the platform

Fiverr flips the traditional freelance model on its head. Instead of bidding on projects, freelancers set up digital mini-stores, showcasing their services to clients who come shopping. This unique system takes the pressure off bidding and allows freelancers to shine in their own creative space.

As freelancers complete projects and rack up positive reviews, they ascend the ranks, possibly earning the coveted Top Rated Seller badge, which amps up their visibility on the platform. For those with a solid freelance reputation elsewhere, there’s Fiverr Pro. An application to this exclusive club can open doors to high-value projects and premium clients.

However, the path isn’t rosy for everyone. Newbies may find it tough to gain traction amidst a sea of established freelancers. And the steep service fee of 20% can be a deterrent for some, especially considering that Fiverr’s customer support notoriously sides only with clients.

#3- Freelancer.com

freelancer

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: PayPal, Bank Transfer, Skrill, Payoneer, Express Withdrawal
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 10% of the earnings made on the platform, which can be reduced with a paid monthly membership

Rounding up the trio of global online marketplaces for freelancers is Freelancer.com. Founded in 2009 with its headquarters nestled in Sydney, Australia, this platform has grown into a popular space for freelancers and clients to connect.

This platform attracts with a fairly low service fee of 10%, which can be lessened with a paid monthly membership, making it even more palatable for those who plan on using the platform extensively. The variety of withdrawal methods adds to the platform’s appeal, catering to freelancers worldwide, including those in the Middle East.

Just know that Freelancer.com does have its share of challenges. One notable concern is the race to the bottom competition often seen from freelancers from Pakistan and India, who sometimes offer extremely low rates for their services. This can make it harder for freelancers in other regions to compete on price.

#4- Ureed

ureed freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Wire Transfer, PayPal, Payoneer
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 20% of the earnings made on the platform

Formerly known as Nabbesh, Ureed has rebranded and evolved into a bustling marketplace for freelancers in the MENA region. Unlike Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, this freelance services marketplace has its deep roots in the Middle East, with all of its founders being from the region.

Since its inception in 2017, the platform has witnessed robust growth, doubling in size and extending its reach beyond borders. Now, it boasts over 5,000 employees working remotely across 10 countries, and is home to freelancers spanning 500+ different specialties, 55% of which are women.

To get started on Ureed, you just need to sign up, create an attractive profile to showcase your expertise and experience, test your knowledge to get a blue check, and start pitching for projects. It’s a simple system that should be instantly familiar to those who have used other platforms and should take no time at all to get used to for those with little to no experience.

#5- Tasmeem ME

tasmeem me freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Not Applicable
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: Not Applicable

Tasmeem ME, translating to “my design” in Arabic, is a haven for creatives in the Middle East, particularly those who spend their days creating logos, illustrations, 3D models, motion graphics, websites, and so on.

Launched in 2009 as a part-time endeavor, it morphed into a full-fledged platform by 2014. Today, Tasmeem ME is known mainly for its job board, where freelancers can browse through a variety of creative projects. Besides connecting freelancers with clients, Tasmeem ME is also a place where designers can showcase their work and a hub for learning and professional development, offering a range of courses that go well beyond design.

It’s worth pointing out that Tasmeem ME, unlike some other freelance platforms, doesn’t handle payments. It purely serves as a bridge between freelancers and clients, leaving the financial transactions and agreements to be managed externally.

#6- Mosawer.net

mosawer freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Handled directly with clients (payment processing options to be released soon)
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 20% commission on bookings (to be introduced later this year)

Mosawer.net shines a spotlight on freelance photographers in the Middle East, offering a platform where they can showcase their portfolio and attract customers. As a freelancer, you get to create a profile, display your work, and be discovered by clients in search of photography services. The platform has a simple yet effective process: clients can search, filter, and shortlist photographers, request quotes, and then confirm bookings through a chat.

If you’re keen on a particular project, clients can also post public jobs, allowing you to privately send in your application. Although it’s completely free to sign up and create your portfolio, Mosawer.net plans to introduce a 20% commission fee on bookings later this year.

The current model requires freelancer photographers to handle payment processes directly with your client, but there’s a promise of several payment options being introduced soon. While this is a point of friction, the platform makes up for it by offering exclusive benefits and discounts from their partners, just by sharing your Mosawer.net profile link with them.

#7- Elharefa

elharefa

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Cash, Bank Transfer, Vodafone Cash, Orange Cash, Etisalat Cash, Aman Payments, Masary’s Shops (Egypt)
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 20% of the total project value

Dubbed as a hub for the talented and diligent, Elharefa is Egypt’s most popular website for freelancers. Getting started is straightforward: browse through the available jobs, create a free account, fill out your profile, and once verified, you’re set to draft and send proposals to jobs that catch your eye.

The monetary aspect is handled with transparency. Once a client picks you for a job, they pay the project budget to Elharefa, who takes a 20% cut, and you get started on your project. Payments are released post project completion and client approval, and transferred within 5 working days.

Elharefa supports both short-term projects or long-term gigs with milestone-based payments, so whether you’re looking for a quick gig or a longer, more involved project, this platform has got you covered.

#8- Bawabba

bawabba freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Direct payment from clients
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: 20% commission for the lead if the deal closes successfully

Focusing primarily on the UAE, Bawabba is a platform where freelancers can offer over 160 different types of services, such as photography, music, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, consulting, legal, architecture, programming, maintenance, and entertainment. One of the notable features of Bawabba is the absence of a sign-up requirement to contact freelancers, making the process less cumbersome for potential clients.

The payment structure on Bawabba is quite direct; freelancers are paid per project, per hour, or per word, depending on the nature of the job, with payments made directly by the clients. Although Bawabba charges a 20% commission for leads if a deal closes successfully, it holds no accountability for disputes between the user and the customer.

This lack of mediation in payment disputes could be a downside as the onus of payment retrieval falls solely on the freelancer, which could be challenging especially in cases of disagreements.

#9- Inploy

inploy mena freelance platform

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Not Applicable
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: No Fees

Breaking into the MENA freelancing scene in 2019, Inploy has quickly become the go-to platform for Egyptian freelancers and small business owners looking to connect with clients locally and beyond. Pitching itself as an online marketplace for premium talent, Inploy hosts a vast directory of service providers across over 30 categories.

The platform stands out with its Free Contact Exchange feature, breaking down communication barriers between clients and freelancers by enabling them to connect directly at no extra charge. This is a breath of fresh air in an industry where platforms often act as a middleman at every stage.

Right now, Inploy is testing payment facilitation features, whose purpose is to ensure safe and secure transactions between clients and freelancers. It’s likely that these features will be monetized in the future.

#10- Bayt

bayt job site

🏦 Withdrawal Methods: Not Applicable
πŸ’΅ Service Fees: Not Applicable

Dubbed as the MENA’s version of Indeed, Bayt isn’t your typical freelancing platform like Upwork or Fiverr. Instead, it positions itself as a comprehensive job site, connecting job seekers with employers across the Middle East since its inception in 2000.

Despite not being a traditional freelancing website, it holds a treasure trove of opportunities for freelancers. A simple filter using the “freelance” keyword unlocks a world of freelance gigs among the 55,000+ active job listings on the platform. Navigating through Bayt is a breeze, especially with its well-designed mobile app that makes job hunting on the go quite convenient.

Conclusion

Embarking on a freelance journey in the Middle East is an exhilarating venture waiting to unfold, especially with the surge of online platforms bridging the gap between freelancers and potential clients. We hope that our introduction of the top 10 best freelance platforms in the MENA region has helped you choose the right platform to kickstart or elevate your freelance career. Good luck!

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Guides

Top Free AI Chatbots Available In The Middle East

Discover the best free AI chatbots that are currently available to users in the Middle East so that you can experience the world-changing technology.

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top free ai chatbots available in the middle east

Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT are taking the world by storm, offering (mostly) accurate answers to a vast range of questions. While many of these cutting-edge AI models are developed by Western companies and trained predominantly on English data, their applications extend far beyond the English-speaking world.

We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top free AI chatbots available in the Middle East. Whether you’re looking for a personal assistant to help you manage your daily tasks or a customer service chatbot to improve your business operations, we’ve got you covered.

#1- ChatGPT

chatgpt ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Developed by OpenAI, one of the most talked-about companies in the world today, ChatGPT has brought the transformative power of large language models to the masses since its release in November 2022. Even though it’s not OpenAI’s first chatbot, ChatGPT has captured the imagination of users worldwide with its ability to engage in natural language conversations and assist with a wide range of tasks.

Even in its free version, ChatGPT offers plenty of capabilities for users to enjoy, including full access to GPT-3.5 and limited access to GPT-4o, OpenAI’s latest and most advanced multilingual, multimodal model. At the time of writing this article, GPT-4o is the best-rated model in existence, so the fact that you can use it for free for a limited number of times within a three-hour window is pretty amazing.

Earlier this year, OpenAI introduced voice chat capabilities to free users, meaning if you’ve ever wanted to interact with an AI using voice commands, now you can do so without any cost. Voice interactions with ChatGPT offer a more intuitive and natural way of communication, bridging the gap between human and machine interaction, and then come in handy when driving, cooking, and doing other activities that make it inconvenient or impossible to type.

Pros:

  • The best-rated AI chatbot today
  • Can provide accurate and helpful responses to a wide range of questions
  • Free access to a robust set of features
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Usage limits

#2- Mistral AI

mistral ai interface

🌍 Availability: Everywhere
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Founded in April 2023 by a team of former employees from Meta Platforms and Google DeepMind, Mistral AI has quickly positioned itself as a significant player in the realm of artificial intelligence. As a French company dedicated to democratizing AI technology, Mistral AI focuses on developing open-source large language models accessible through its web-based chat interface.

The models vary in scale and specialization β€” from heavy-duty processing with the Large model, known for its top reasoning capacities, to the Small model, designed for fast and cost-effective interactions. They also offer Codestral, tailored specifically for coding purposes, and Next, a prototype model trained for conciseness and efficiency.

Mistral AI currently doesn’t offer any paid tier, which means that free users have access to everything the company offers. Usage limits do exist, but they are dynamically adjusted based on demand, so you may not even hit them.

Pros:

  • Access to a range of large language models
  • No paid tier, so free users have access to everything
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Usage limits
  • Relatively new player in the AI market

#3- Google Gemini

google gemini ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Previously known as Bard, Google Gemini is a powerful large language model developed by Google AI. With the free version of Google Gemini, users have access to the 1.0 Pro model, which integrates seamlessly with Google apps that you already know and use, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Docs. This makes it an excellent choice for those who rely heavily on Google products for their daily tasks.

However, compared with GPT-4o and Mistral’s Large model, the free version of Gemini is much worse at following instructions closely. On the other hand, Gemini offers a significant advantage in terms of speed. Additionally, Google doesn’t seem to be actively enforcing usage limits on the free tier, so you can use it as much as you want without worrying about hitting a usage cap.

Pros:

  • Integrates with Google apps
  • Fast and no real usage limits
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Doesn’t follow detailed instructions well

#4- Claude

claude ai interface

🌍 Availability: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Yes
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Yes

Claude is a family of AI models developed by Anthropic PBC, a US-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup company founded in 2021. The company’s mission is to research and develop AI technology that benefits the public. Anthropic was founded by former members of OpenAI, Daniela Amodei and Dario Amodei, and has since made a name for itself in the AI community.

Free Claude users can access the Sonnet model, which is designed for natural language processing tasks such as text generation, translation, and summarization. Sonnet comes with a daily messaging limit that’s dynamically adjusted based on demand and reset every morning. Unfortunately, the limit can be quite unpredictable in practice, allowing you to chat extensively one day and then stopping you after a few messages the next one.

Pros:

  • Free access to the Sonnet model
  • Daily message limit is dynamically adjusted based on demand
  • It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Unpredictable daily limit

#5- Local LLMs

local llms ai interface

🌍 Availability: Everywhere
πŸ”£ Arabic Input: Depends on which model you choose
πŸ’¬ Arabic Output: Depends on which model you choose

Local LLMs are a breed apart from the cloud-based solutions we’ve discussed so far. Instead of relying on powerful remote servers, these models run entirely on your own computer hardware. Examples include Llama 3, Phi 3, and Gemma.

One of the biggest advantages of local LLMs is that they are uncensored. Another advantage of local LLMs is that they can be customized to your specific needs. For example, you can fine-tune the model on your own data, allowing it to better understand and generate responses that are specific to your industry or use case.

However, there are also some downsides to using local LLMs. The biggest challenge is that they can be more difficult to set up and maintain than cloud-based AI chatbots. You’ll need to have the right hardware and software, such as Ollama or LM Studio, to run the model, and the performance of your hardware directly influences the performance you can expect.

Pros:

  • Complete control and customization
  • Uncensored and unrestricted by content limitations
  • Arabic-specific models available

Cons:

  • More difficult to set up
  • Performance depends on how powerful hardware you have
  • Can’t match leading cloud-based models

Conclusion

The Middle East region has access to some of the best free AI chatbots available in the market. From ChatGPT’s natural language processing capabilities and Mistral AI’s range of large language models to Google Gemini’s integration with Google apps and Claude’s focus on ethical AI, each chatbot has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Local LLMs also offer a viable alternative for those who prefer to have complete control and customization over their AI models. Ultimately, the best AI chatbot for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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