Top business names to speak at high-level Riyadh forum

Over 300 leaders of government, global and local organisations will assemble on April 25
Badr Jafar, founder of the Pearl Initiative and CEO of Crescent Enterprises.
By Staff writer
Sat 21 Apr 2018 03:55 PM

Over 300 leaders of government, global and local organisations will assemble at a high-level forum to be held on April 25 at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre in Riyadh.

The Governance in Focus: Boosting Competitiveness in a New Business Paradigm forum is being hosted by Saudi Aramco and the Pearl Initiative to discuss the inextricable links between good corporate governance and sustainable economic competitiveness.

The Forum is being held under the patronage and in the presence of Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and chairman, Saudi Aramco.

Other speakers include Amin Nasser, president and CEO, Saudi Aramco, Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, The World Bank Group, Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman Abu Dhabi Global Market and managing director of Dolphin Energy Limited; Yousef Al Benyan, vice chairman and CEO of SABIC; Khalid Al Hussan, CEO of Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul); Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim; Fadi Ghandour, co-founder Aramex and executive chairman of Wamda; Rick Haythonwaite, chairman of Mastercard; Maysa Jalbout, CEO fo Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education; Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Company; Shaima Hamidaddin, executive manager of MiSK Foundation; Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, partner AQ&P; Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital; Jamal Fakhro, managing partner of KPMG and first deputy chairman of the Bahrain Shura Council; Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, CEO of Saudi Telecom Ventures; and renowned music producer and tech entrepreneur Will.i.am.

With more than $50 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2017, over a third of which was into the Gulf Region, and 91 Arab companies launching investment projects outside their countries’ borders, there is increasing recognition of the business case behind higher standards of governance when it comes to a business’ license to operate and invest regionally and globally.

And with over $1 trillion in wealth expected to pass to the next generation of family business owners, which collectively generate over 80 percent of non-oil GDP across the Gulf Region, these governance standards are essential in preserving value creation and building resilience within the region’s economies.

Badr Jafar, founder of the Pearl Initiative and CEO of Crescent Enterprises, said: “The international investment community is carefully watching the Gulf Region, an exciting high-growth market with compelling investment opportunities. The faster we embed corporate governance within our business DNA, the faster we will see foreign direct investment and investor confidence grow.

"This is essential as the region strives towards economic diversification, competitiveness and mass job creation.”

Forum sessions will examine how the government and private sector can work together to promote robust competition, social-capital creation, and enhanced productivity in the context of economic diversification.

A dedicated session will explore the adequacy of governance models within the technological sector within the Gulf Region and globally, and how to ensure the disruptive impact of new technologies can be harnessed for socioeconomic development and inclusive growth.

The forum will also highlight the increasingly important role the philanthropic sector is playing achieving national economic and social objectives, and the potential of scalability in small and medium sized businesses to generate employment opportunities and foster innovation.

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