UAE leads economic diversification in Arab region
In the next 50 years, empowering women to take their seats in the boardroom will be a key driver to build thriving economies, says Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
"The UAE has led economic diversification in the region over the last 50 years, catalysing a shift towards a cluster-based economy and making significant headway in the establishment of innovative and sustainable industries," said Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Co-founder of Aurora50.
The statement was made during the second annual three-day Board Summit of Aurora50, which started on Monday, under the patronage of Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. The hybrid event provided an opportunity for boards to connect women who have the experience required to add value to boardroom discussions.
"As we chart a course for the next 50, enabling and empowering women to take their seats in the boardroom will be a key driver to build thriving economies that contribute to the progress of the region. Ensuring that we have diverse boards fits into a wider sustainability framework and is essential for the development of a well-designed circular economy. One that will inspire other nations to follow," Sheikha Shamma said.
Concluding the board summit, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Falcon Aviation and President of Seven Emirates Investments LLC, attended an exclusive meeting held in Dubai on Wednesday.
The meeting brought together a community of chairpersons to discuss the importance of diversity of thought in boardrooms and how it supports the UAE economy.
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, and one of the keynote speakers at the event, emphasised how The Board Summit is a significant platform to help drive change since the UAE places a paramount importance to gender equality.
"The great progress UAE has made globally, and in the region, in empowering our women can be attributed to our country’s deep-rooted belief that women and men are equal partners in development. To further drive female representation in UAE boardrooms, several initiatives were launched over the past decades to increase their participation on corporate boards and at the boards of federal entities and institutions," Al Marri said.
"Women play a fundamental role in shaping the nation’s future and we are confident that this summit will bring about wide-ranging positive benefits including not just enhanced performance of boards and companies, but also greater national economic growth and increased socio-economic participation of women," the minister concluded.
Successful outcomes from the summit included Abu Dhabi Ports and Aurora50 announcing their collaboration for a first-of-its kind accelerator, which will help the organisation’s Emirati female employees gain leadership opportunities.
Furthermore, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is supporting a new initiative to capture information for a research report which will be released next year. This research is a joint project conducted by Aurora50 in collaboration with Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government and sponsored by ADNOC. The research project aims to explore how women can maximise their opportunities and identify the enablers which have helped women who are already participating in corporate boards.
At the Board Summit, Aurora50 brought together women in the early stages of their board careers with seasoned directors to bridge the network gap. This follows on from the mandate passed by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) in March this year for greater representation of women on listed boards. Aurora50 aims to make it easier for listed boards to connect with the growing pipeline of talent and the first cohort of women participating in Aurora50’s flagship Pathway20 accelerator will graduate in November, with many having already achieved non-executive board positions.
The Summit, supported by the SCA, the UAE Central Bank, Etisalat, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Ports, Tabreed, Mashreq Bank and Nasdaq, brought together over 1,000 attendees from the UAE’s key ecosystem to highlight how gender-diversity objectives are transforming boards and contributing to the economic success of the UAE.
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