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Emirati women among list of most powerful businesswomen in ME

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on February 4, 2020

(KT file)

Emirati women have dominated the list of 100 most powerful businesswomen in the Middle East (ME) in 2020, with 23 of them taking the top spots on the list, followed by businesswomen from Egypt and Lebanon.

On the cusp of International Women's Day next month, Forbes Middle East has unveiled its annual 'Power Businesswomen in the Middle East' list, packed with 100 exceptional businesswomen at the head of many of the most influential and transformational companies in the ME region. Raja Easa Al Gurg, managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, took the number one position in the list, followed by Renuka Jagtiani, CEO of the Landmark Group, and Rania Nashar, CEO of Samba Financial Group.

In the 2020 list, there are 22 new entries and 23 nationalities represented across 28 sectors. Emiratis are the most prevalent nationality with 23 entries. There are also nine Egyptians, eight Lebanese and eight Omani women. British women have the highest representation among non-Arabs, with seven entries. The top 10 is dominated by Saudis, with three of the country's biggest names in the top five: Samba Financial Group's Rania Nashar, Tadawul's Sarah Al Suhaimi, and Saudi British Bank's Lubna Olayan.

"These Arab women are not only driving economic growth in the region, but they are also representative of the Middle East's strong female leadership and influence across all areas of life from e-commerce to financial services," says Khuloud Al Omian, editor-in-chief of Forbes Middle East.

The majority (79) of the 100 women are self-made, 16 of whom have started their own businesses. And 21 women work in their family businesses, with many of them starting out when it was rare to find women in the workplace. There are 21 women from the banking and financial services sector, including four from stock exchanges and financial regulators. The public sector is also well represented, with 13 women on our list heading government organizations, including director general of Smart Dubai, Aisha Bin Bishr, who is overseeing Dubai's digital transformation. Or Sarah Al Suhaimi who chairs Tadawul, the region's biggest stock exchange, which recently handled the IPO of the world's most valuable company, Aramco.

Half of the list head large corporations, including Nadia Al Saeed, who runs Jordan's fourth biggest lender, Bank al Etihad, and Pakinam Kafafi, CEO of Egyptian energy company, Taqa Arabia, who is the only female leader in the oil and gas sector on our list.

- rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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