UAE Minister for Foreign Trade
UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade
You don't get much more powerful than HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister for Foreign Trade. The Emirati national has been challenging traditional opinions about women in business ever since she developed a system that reduced cargo turnaround at Dubai Ports Authority from one hour to ten minutes.
Sheikha Lubna’s background might be in IT - she studied computer science at the California State University - but these days she is best known for her role in government. In November 2004 she was appointed the UAE’s Minister of Economic and Planning and became the first female to hold a ministerial post in the UAE. Despite being actively involved in a number of businesses ventures, Sheikha Lubna has continued to play a pivotal role in the UAE government as the Minister of Foreign Trade.
In 2000 she founded Tejari, the Middle East's first business-to-business marketplace. As a result of Tejari, which means ‘commerce’ in Arabic, 70 percent of the Dubai’s government purchases are made online. The company, which has franchises across the Middle East, was initially funded by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, but broke even in 2006. Sheikha Lubna also sits on board of directors for Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and is on the board of directors (honorary) for the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce. She has even managed to find time to launch her own perfume line as part of a campaign to persuade more Arab women to set up their own retail businesses - proving that women really can have it all.