Good corporate governance essential to MENA region’s financial, economic growth



DUBAI — Hawkamah, The Institute for Corporate Governance, will hold its thirteenth annual conference in Dubai on April 25, 2019 in partnership with ICSA: The Governance Institute, the professional body for governance in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Associated Territories, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

At the 2019 conference – ‘Towards Sound Corporate Governance and Sustainable Growth: Strengthening the Role of Companies in Society’ – experts from around the world will gather at the Armani Hotel to explore how different countries are approaching governance challenges, with a special emphasis on large, non-listed companies. They will also look at the ways in which good corporate governance practices support sustainable growth in the face of rapid change and growing economic pressures.

The conference will also address whether the region is unique or similar to other markets that have companies with similar corporate structures, and how regional organizations can adopt good international practices given the region’s structural, institutional and cultural challenges.

In 2018, Dubai-based Hawkamah and ICSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to jointly highlight emerging governance trends in the region and to promote the best governance practices across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Dr Ahmad Al Shaikh, Chairman of Hawkamah, said “in 2019, the annual conference will focus on sustainability and the region’s unique corporate structures. Governance can determine whether a company’s success and profits are sustainable or heavily dependent on external variables such as a booming economy.”

Dr Al Shaikh added “good corporate governance is essential to the region’s financial and economic development. According to the S&P/Hawkamah ESG Pan Arab Index, good governance practices are associated with better stock performance and higher returns on investment (ROI). Non-listed companies can also benefit from good governance in terms of better access to finance, higher profits and sustainable growth.”

This is a time of significant change in the region’s corporate sector; big mergers have been announced and state-owned companies are exploring the possibility of going public. Topics that will be covered at the annual conference include balancing the conflicting interests of shareholders, and the risks associated with technological advancements and disruptive forces in the business, economic and financial landscape.

Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA, said: “I am delighted that our two organizations are collaborating to promote corporate governance frameworks and practices in the UAE and the MENA region. Good governance is essential to encouraging investment in the region.”

Hawkamah was established in 2006 to help to bridge the corporate governance gap in the region. The Institute provides the region’s companies and boards with practical tools to improve corporate governance, engages governments and industry, conducts surveys and studies, and creates regional benchmarks.

ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. With members in all sectors, ICSA is required by its Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With over 125 years’ experience, ICSA works with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.

The speakers, moderators and panelists at the conference will include Hamid bin Sultan Al Busaidi, Executive Director of the Oman Center for Governance and Sustainability; Dr Stephen Davis, Senior Fellow of the Harvard Law School and Associate Director of Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance; Dr Yuen Teen Mak, Associate Professor of Accounting at the National University of Singapore; Ritva Kassis, Company Secretary, FCIS; Sonya Janahi, Board Member of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Vanessa Eastham Fisk, an Independent Non-Executive Director; Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the Dubai Financial Services Authority; Dr Obaid Saif Al Zaabi, CEO of the Securities and Commodities Authority (UAE); Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA; Peter Montagnon, Associate Director at the Institute of Business Ethics (UK); Dr Ahmad Al Shaikh, Board Chairman of Hawkamah; Imad Makhzoumi, Group Chief Strategy Officer, Future Group Holdings; Dr Waddah Al Hashmi, Senior Director for Sustainability, Operational and Business Excellence for the ENOC Group; Fahima Bastaki, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development, Dubai Financial Markets; Chris Hodge, Director of Governance Perspectives Ltd; Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA; Maged Shawky Sourial, Vice Chairman, Beltone Financial Holding; Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President of FinTech Hive; Dr Ashraf Gamal El Din, CEO of Hawkamah; Huda Buhumaid, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Dubai Holding; Hans Christiansen, Senior Economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Sheikh Hussein Al Banawi, Chairman of The Industrial Group, KSA; Rima Al Masri, Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary, Bahrain Mumtalakat; John Chrisman, Senior Partner, Clyde & Co.; and Dr Sarper Tanli, Group CEO, Manzil Healthcare Services. — SG





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