The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance (Hawkamah) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Arab International Women's Forum (AIWF) to advocate corporate sector reform and strengthen corporate governance for women entrepreneurs and their businesses in the MENA region. Dr Nasser Saidi, Executive Director of Hawkamah, said: "Women entrepreneurs can benefit from strong corporate governance systems and guidelines, because of their ownership patterns - today women entrepreneurs own many large regional enterprises and account for a substantial share of the private sector. We are pleased to partner with AIWF to pioneer stronger corporate governance for women's businesses across the Arab region. Improved corporate governance can lead to, better: management accountability; minimized divergence between the interests of shareholders and management; access to external finance for expansion; divestment of existing operations for better opportunities; and the attraction of strategic investors. Comprising 35% of the U.A.E workforce, women are becoming increasingly prominent decision makers and are contributing substantially to the growth of the region's economy." Mrs. Haifa Al Kaylani, Chairwoman of the Arab International Women's Forum, added: "As women continue to become more influential in the region's business community, it is our responsibility to promote initiatives and processes that we advocate and that we feel will benefit the regional economy. We hope that our collaboration with Hawkamah will also assist in addressing gender issues to ensure that women are given every opportunity to succeed in the workplace. We are honoured to join many major international organizations in supporting Hawkamah, an independent, private sector initiative that is improving the understanding and practice of corporate governance in the Middle East and North Africa." The Hawkamah and AIWF alliance aims to encourage good corporate governance practices and promote the benefits of sound corporate governance to women businesses throughout the region. The cooperation will include conducting corporate governance assessments, surveys and improvement plans for women entrepreneurs and their businesses. In addition, they will assist in building capacity for and raising awareness of good corporate governance in the Arab region by raising awareness and practical implementation of better corporate governance practices through conferences, roundtables and training programmes. AIWF is a non-profit organization set up in London to link Arab business and professional women in the 22 Arab countries with each other and with their counterparts in the international community. AIWF is the voice of Arab women showcasing their development, breaking stereotypical images and creating greater public awareness of their success and prospects within an international context. AIWF attracts through its membership very able women who have many professional skills and experience in their respective countries, and who aim to enhance the role of women in business and the decision-making process. The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance is an international association of corporate governance practitioners, regulators and institutions whose primary mandate is to develop corporate governance best practices in the Middle East region. By promoting the core values of transparency, accountability, fairness, disclosure and responsibility, Hawkamah assists countries and companies in the region to develop and implement sound and globally integrated corporate governance frameworks.