DIFC new appointments strengthen leadership team

Peyman Parham Al-Awadhi, head of marketing and corporate communications at DIFC Authority.
Updated 10 July 2019
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DIFC new appointments strengthen leadership team

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, the entity responsible for the operations and management of the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region with a wealth and asset management market of $424 billion, has strengthened its leadership team to drive its ongoing journey toward becoming a next-generation financial center.

The center has made a number of strategic appointments and promotions of UAE nationals to spearhead key initiatives that support the DIFC’s vision to further enable financial technology in the region. In addition, this supports the center’s broader expansion plans approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, in January.

Peyman Al-Awadhi has been appointed as head of marketing and corporate communications at the DIFC Authority to lead the strategic positioning, digital transformation and engagement of the center. Senior individuals have been promoted within the organization, including Mohammad Alblooshi to sector head of fintech, who is leading the development of the center’s fintech ecosystem, Alya Al-Zarouni has been promoted to executive vice president of operations, while Raja Al-Mazrouei has been elevated to the position of executive vice president of DIFC FinTech Hive.

Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority, said: “During the last 15 years, DIFC has firmly reinforced its position as one of the world’s top financial centers. Our focus is to become the most advanced financial center in the world and the only way to do this is to ensure we stay ahead of the curve. 

“Our future is deeply rooted in digital transformation and innovation and it’s crucial for us to make sure we have the right people in the right positions to help realize this vision.”

The UAE has an ambitious goal to become one of the top 25 in the world for gender equality by 2021, and in 2018, a new rule was created to mandate a female presence on listed companies’ boards of 20 percent by 2020. The DIFC is committed to the UAE mandate to embrace diversity.

During the last five years, the total workforce growth in the DIFC Authority reached 23 percent, with Emiratis comprising approximately 40 percent of the total workforce. 

Fifty-five percent of senior management within the DIFC Authority are Emiratis. When it comes to roles with the DIFC Authority, women and men reported 57 percent and 43 percent, respectively.


ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

Updated 18 September 2019

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

With the aim of discussing how the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) can expand their relationship and integrate the gender themes into ICD’s operations and businesses, a meeting was held between Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of ICD; Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi secretariat; and Samir Suleymanov, director strategic initiatives, World Bank, at ICD’s premises in Jeddah recently. The parties discussed the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through innovative sustainable solutions to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in developing countries. 

Teleki highlighted the main objectives of We-Fi, which is to support women entrepreneurs around the world through programs that provide financing, capacity building and also promote enabling environments that allow women to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses. We-Fi uses an ecosystem approach to develop programs at the country level that will break down barriers and create more opportunities for women.

During the meeting, Ayman said: “ICD and We-Fi are working together to enhance their initiatives and mandates in supporting the female society in all ICD’s member countries. We want to ensure that our lines of finance and our relationship with the 102 directly connected financial institutions we are dealing with will further enhance the funding, training to women entrepreneurs and to provide the required necessary support to women in all our member countries.”

Teleki said that We-Fi has six implementing partners (IP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is one of them. “IsDB, along with ICD is supporting women entrepreneurs in fragile countries. In Yemen, they have a very interesting ongoing program named BRAVE Women. They target to train up to 500 women to learn to develop business plans in fragile and high-risk contexts and up to 400 of them will get access to funding on a matching grant basis. This program aims also to develop the relationship between those women entrepreneurs with the local banks and also lead companies to make sure those women have access to finance and markets to grow their businesses. Moreover, the IsDB and ICD will be implementing soon this BRAVE Women program in two other countries to improve the women’s entrepreneurship potential in key economic sectors and we look forward to seeing those programs happening in future,” she said.

We-Fi is a global platform that seeks to support over a 100,000 women around the world in the next five years and mobilize at least $2 billion from the public and private sector for further activities.