International Women’s Day: Business leaders blaze a trail for Arab women

Special International Women’s Day: Business leaders blaze a trail for Arab women
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Updated 08 March 2022

International Women’s Day: Business leaders blaze a trail for Arab women

International Women’s Day: Business leaders blaze a trail for Arab women
  • Thanks to social reforms and economic empowerment, women are making their names in Arab boardrooms
  • Meet the pioneering Arab women laying the foundations for the region’s next generation of female business leaders

RIYADH: Women are increasingly making names for themselves in boardrooms across the Arab world as reforms and empowerment initiatives provide new opportunities. Their future successes will be built on the work of pioneering Arab women who laid the foundations for the next generation of female business leaders in the region. Here, we profile nine of them.


Sarah Al-Suhaimi
Chairperson of the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange
SAUDI ARABIA

Al-Suhaimi has been head of the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange, also known as Tadawul, since February 2017. The first Saudi woman to hold the position at the largest stock market in the Middle East, she was reappointed chairperson of the board of directors in 2020.

In addition she has been CEO and a member of the board of directors of the National Commercial Bank since March 2014. In April 2021, NBC merged with banking firm Samba and was renamed Saudi National Bank.

Al-Suhaimi served as vice-chairperson of the advisory committee to the board of the Capital Market Authority between 2013 and 2015, and before that as chief investment officer at Jadwa Investment.

She was named one of “50 people to watch” by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2017.


Randa Mohammed Sadik
CEO of Arab Bank
JORDAN

Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, was the first private-sector business of its kind in the Arab world when it was founded in 1930 in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine. Its headquarters are now Amman, Jordan, and it has more than 600 branches on five continents.

Sadik, a Jordanian national, served for more than 10 years as deputy CEO of Arab Bank before becoming CEO last year.

She previously worked at the National Bank of Kuwait for 24 years, including a spell as Group General Manager of the International Banking Group.


Areej Mohsin Haider Darwish
Chairperson of Mohsin Haider Darwish’s Automotive, Construction, Equipment and Renewable Energy cluster
OMAN

Mohsin Haider Darwish, a renowned and leading business house in the Middle East, earned a place on the 2020 Forbes list of the Top 100 Arab Family Businesses in the Middle East. It has a diverse business presence, with a variety of interests in trading, contracting and projects. It has brought a number of international brands to Oman, including Land Rover, Jaguar, McLaren, Volvo, MG, Ford, Ashok Leyland, Huawei, Hitachi, KDK and DAIKIN.

Darwish graduated from Sultan Qaboos University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Her career began with a position at Petroleum Development Oman. She joined MHD, the family business, in 1994 and with the guidance, support and motivation of her father, she worked her way up to become chairperson of its Automotive, Construction, Equipment and Renewable Energy cluster of operations.



Sheikha Hanadi Nasser Bin Khaled Al-Thani
Founder of Amwal and Al-Waab City
QATAR

Sheikha Hanadi began her career as an assistant lecturer in economics at Qatar University. In 1998 she founded the Qatar Ladies Investment Company, known as Amwal, the first investment company granted a license by Qatar Central Bank to conduct investment banking and asset and wealth management in the country.

In 2005 she founded Al-Waab City, an urban community development featuring more than 1.2 million square meters of mixed-use amenities. She is also founding chairperson of car dealership Q-Auto.

Sheikha Hanadi is chairperson of education and training organization INJAZ Qatar and a board member of INJAZ Al-Arab. She is a member of the Middle East board of Planet Finance and the advisory board of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She has been on Arabian Business magazine’s list of Most Influential Arabs for several consecutive years, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2005.



Raja Easa Al-Gurg
Group managing director and vice-chairperson of Easa Saleh Al-Gurg Group
UAE

Known for her leadership of the family business, a conglomerate consisting of more than 20 businesses in a number of sectors including retail, construction, industrial and real estate, Al-Gurg is also a business leader in her own right, carving a niche through her support for female Arab entrepreneurs. She is president of Dubai Business Women Council and on the board of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

She serves as deputy chairperson of the National Bank of Fujairah, is on the advisory board of Coutts Bank, the wealth-management division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and on the board of trustees of community-development foundation Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives.

In 2020, Al-Gurg received the Legion of Honor, Chevalier, from French President Emmanuel Macron, for enhancing bonds between France and the UAE.

She ranked top of the 2020 Forbes list of 100 Power Businesswomen in the Middle East, second on its 2019 list of Women Heading Family Businesses, and 89th on its 2020 list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.



Mona Zulficar
Founding partner and chairperson of Zulficar and Partners, and EFG Hermes
EGYPT

In addition to her position with leading Egyptian law firm Zulficar and Partners, Zulficar has been chairperson of financial services company EFG Hermes Holding since 2008, and chairperson of the Egyptian Microfinance Federation since 2015.

An attorney for more than 35 years, she specializes in major restructuring and project finance. International legal directories consistently rank her as an expert in banking, finance, and mergers and acquisitions.

An advocate for human rights and women’s rights since 1985, Zulficar led several campaigns resulting in significant legal reforms. She is currently working on an equal opportunity and non-discrimination law.

She was an expert member of the board of the Central Bank of Egypt (2003-2011); vice-president of the Constitutional Committee of the 2014 Constitution; vice-president of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (2008-2013); chairperson of the Women’s Health Improvement Association in Cairo; and chairperson of the External Gender Consultative Group of the World Bank in Washington DC (2000–2006).



Jalila Mezni
Co-founder and CEO of Societe d’Articles Hygieniques
TUNISIA

Entrepreneur Mezni — co-founder and CEO of Societe d’Articles Hygieniques, which makes diapers, tissues, and other hygiene products — weathered the storm of the Arab Spring over the past decade and guided her business through the worst of it.

She founded SAH in 1995 after quitting her job as vice-president of a Tunisian bank. She saw an opportunity in the hygiene-products industry and, at the suggestion of a colleague, applied to a government program that provided her with cheap land and tax breaks in a poor area outside of Tunis. Her business was born.

SAH Group now has a presence in 21 African nations and employs 4,000 people at nine production facilities.



Nezha Hayat
Chairperson and CEO of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority
MOROCCO

Hayat has been chair and CEO of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority since 2016. It is responsible for the country’s non-banking capital markets, including the stock exchange and brokerage firms. She is also president of the Africa/Middle East Regional Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

An advocate for women’s rights, she is a founding member and president of Club des Femmes Administrateurs d’Entreprises, a non-profit that promotes good governance and gender diversity on the boards of public and private companies.

Her career began in Spain, where from 1985 to 1988 she worked in the international division of Banco Atlantico, responsible for global risks and restructured debt.

In 1999, she was elected president of the Association of Stockbrokers in Morocco, serving two terms. She co-founded Association des Femmes Chefs d’Enterprises du Morocco, an association for female entrepreneurs, in 2000, and was nominated as a global leader for tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2001.



Mona Ataya
CEO and founder of Mumzworld
PALESTINE

Ataya is the CEO of Mumzworld, a leading online store for baby products in the Middle East, which she founded in 2011. In 2014 and 2015, she was ranked among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by Arabian Business.

While she was raising her three children, she spotted a gap in the market when she struggled to find support for mothers who need advice and help with decisions about purchases of products for their children. She decided to make it her mission to empower mothers and make a difference in the community.

To develop her skills, she landed a job with Procter and Gamble working on leading brands in the soap sector and later with Johnson and Johnson managing a broad portfolio of leading global brands, including Neutrogena and Clean & Clear. Later, she became a co-founding members of job-search site Bayt.com.


Market capital of Saudi Exchange jumps 8% to hit $3tn in first 9 months

Market capital of Saudi Exchange jumps 8% to hit $3tn in first 9 months
Updated 14 sec ago

Market capital of Saudi Exchange jumps 8% to hit $3tn in first 9 months

Market capital of Saudi Exchange jumps 8% to hit $3tn in first 9 months

RIYADH: Saudi Exchange’s market capitalization jumped over 7.5 percent to reach SR10.8 trillion ($2.8 trillion) at the end of the first nine months of the year compared to a year earlier.

This comes despite the total value of shares traded during the first nine months falling by 21.5 percent from the previous year to SR1.4 trillion, while the total volume traded decreased by 37 to reach SR35.35 billion, the latest Saudi Exchange data revealed.

Tadawul All Share Index closed at 11,405 points at the end of the first nine months of 2022, down 90.44 points or 0.79 percent from last year’s close.

The highest close level for the index during the period was 13,820.35 points on May 8.

The total number of transactions executed decreased by 4.25 percent during the same period and reached SR68 million compared to 2021.

The Number of trading days during the third quarter of 2022 was 184, compared with 185 during the first nine months of 2021.


OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd
Updated 02 October 2022

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd
  • The figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week

RIYADH:  The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia, also known as OPEC+, will consider an oil output cut of more than a million barrels per day when it meets on Oct. 5, OPEC sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week, which ranged between 500,000 bpd and 1 million bpd.

OPEC+ is meeting in person in Vienna for the first time since March 2020. “It is a meeting that is taking place at a very interesting global time,” one of the sources said.

The output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multiyear highs reached in March and market volatility. Saudi Arabia first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.

Earlier this week, a source familiar with Russian thinking said Moscow could suggest a cut of up to 1 million bpd, while an OPEC source put the likely figure closer to 500,000 bpd. Talks are expected to continue ahead of the meeting.

FASTFACTS

OPEC+ is meeting in person in Vienna for the first time since March 2020.

Saudi Arabia first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.

The output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multiyear highs reached in March and market volatility.

India cuts tax

The Indian government has cut a windfall tax on domestically produced crude oil to 8,000 ($97.99) rupees per ton from 10,500 rupees per ton from Sunday, after a decline in global oil prices.

India has also scrapped an export tax on jet fuel and halved export duties on diesel to 5 rupees per liter from Sunday, a government notification said.

NNPC transaction

Nigeria’s state-owned oil company NNPC Ltd. has bought the marketing business of unlisted OVH Energy, giving it access to 380 fuel stations in Africa’s largest oil producer and Togo, among other assets, the two companies said on Saturday.

OVH Energy Marketing, the owner and operator of Oando branded retail service stations, said the outlets would be rebranded NNPC and full integration is expected by the end of 2023.

The deal also gives NNPC access to eight liquefied petroleum gas plants, three aviation depots and 12 warehouses.

NNPC, which became a commercial entity in July, already owns more than 500 fuel stations across Nigeria and said it would be ready for an initial public offering by mid-next year.


Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts
  • Inflation is predicted to be 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively: Al Rajhi Capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budgeted revenues for 2023 are likely to be based on the Brent price at $76 per barrel, said Al Rajhi Capital in its assessment of the Kingdom’s budget figures.  

“For 2023, we believe oil revenues could reach SR754 billion ($200.7 billion) and non-oil revenue at SR417 billion,” said the head of research at Al Rajhi Capital Mazen Al Sudairi.

“Based on our assessment, the government’s 2023 budgeted revenues are likely based on an assumption of brent at around $76 a barrel.” 

Real gross domestic product growth is forecast to increase by nearly 8 percent year-on-year in 2022 and 3.1 percent year-on-year in 2023, according to Al-Rajhi Capital.

Inflation is expected to be 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Al-Rajhi said.

Revised 2022 revenues are mostly in line with estimates, however, the expenditure budget is much higher than from an earlier announcement, it said.

The Kingdom’s Finance Ministry’s preliminary budget statement projected spending to reach SR1.11 trillion next year, with revenue of SR1.12 trillion. 

The 2023 spending budget was raised by 18 percent, with a slight fiscal surplus of SR9 billion expected for 2023.

The world’s largest oil exporter is expected to balance the books in the coming year, having emerged with a quickly developing balance sheet due to the rebound in crude. 

Saudi officials expressed intention to change the heavy reliance on petrodollars and “decouple” the Kingdom’s spending from oil volatility as it puts the country’s economy at the mercy of uncertainty in the oil market. 

Its budget surplus was recorded at SR78 billion in the second quarter of 2022, an almost 50 percent rise from the same time last year. 

Its revenue reached SR370.4 billion whereas expenditure totaled SR292.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, according to the ministry. 

The ministry’s estimates showed that oil revenue stood at SR250.4 billion, signaling an 89 percent year-on-year rise in the second quarter. 

However, the Kingdom’s non-oil revenues only rose by 3 percent to SR120 billion in the second quarter. 

Domestic debt reached SR604.8 billion at the end of June, up from SR558.8 billion in the previous half, showed the ministry data. 

The Finance Ministry’s data showed that the Kingdom’s external debt fell from SR379.3 billion to SR361.8 billion in the same period. 

The objectives of the state’s general budget for the fiscal year 2023 come as a continuation of the process of work to strengthen and develop the financial position of the Kingdom, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said.

“The government attaches great importance to enhancing the support and social protection system and accelerating the pace of strategic spending on Vision (2030) programs and major projects to support economic growth,” Al-Jadaan added.

The Kingdom’s economy has demonstrated its strength and durability by achieving high growth rates, after taking many policies and measures with the aim of protecting the economy from the repercussions of inflation and supply chain challenges, the minister said.


Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council
Updated 02 October 2022

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council
  • Council enables female entrepreneurs to capitalize on business opportunities

ABU DHABI: The Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has formed a new board for the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council, Emirates News Agency reported.

The new board’s mission is to help female entrepreneurs improve their skills, introduce them to relevant laws and policies, and teach them how to take advantage of local and federal government initiatives.

It is part of the chamber’s efforts to help businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi contribute to the emirate’s economic growth.

The ADBWC board, chaired by Asma Al-Fahim, is made up of Abu Dhabi Chamber board members as well as successful Abu Dhabi businesswomen such as Nour Al-Tamimi, Dr. Khadija Al-Ameri, Marwa Al-Mansoori and Shaikha Al-Nowais.

“Over the past 50 years, the UAE has placed women’s empowerment amongst its top priorities and supported the Emirati woman to be a key partner in building the UAE,” Al-Fahim said.

She added: “The support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and honorary chairwoman of the ADBWC, played a huge role in women’s development in all fields, especially entrepreneurship. Thanks to H.H. Sheikha Fatima, the Emirati woman is now equipped with all the factors of success to occupy her proper place regionally and internationally.”

Al-Fahim added that the ADBWC is eager to increase communication with businesswomen in Abu Dhabi in order to keep them up to date on the latest economic changes.

Furthermore, Al-Fahim said that the council will launch new initiatives and programs to support the business environment, giving female entrepreneurs the necessary tools to capitalize on business opportunities locally, regionally and internationally.


Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

RIYADH: Saudi healthcare provider Mouwasat Medical Services Co. said that it has completed the acquisition of 51 percent of Jeddah Doctors Co. in a deal worth SR102 million ($27 million).

The financial impact of this acquisition is expected to appear in the third quarter of 2022, according to a bourse filing.

Jeddah Doctors Co. is a Saudi closed joint stock company that owns a hospital presently under construction in Jeddah called Jeddah Doctors Hospital.