Final Conference Statement
Final Conference Statement
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The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) wish to thank the participants, speakers and sponsors attending 6th annual regional corporate governance conference held on 31 October - 1 November 2011 in Dubai with H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, opening the conference with a keynote address. The 6th annual regional corporate governance conference assembled public and private participants from across the Middle East and North Africa region, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and their counterparts from Europe and the United States of America. The theme of the annual conference, Words to Action: The Next Regional Corporate Governance Challenge, reflected the improvements of corporate governance frameworks in the Middle East and North Africa through regulatory updates and the development of corporate governance codes in almost all jurisdictions. At the same time, participants acknowledged challenges with the implementation of the new requirements among listed companies, but also with the adoption of better governance standards among other enterprises (state-owned, small- and medium-size unlisted firms) which contribute significantly to the economies of Arab countries. Considering the challenges arising from the global financial crisis as well as the political and economic impacts of the Arab spring in the region, the conference attendees: Recognized that good corporate governance practices will enhance the region's long term economic performance by making it an attractive investment destination, and that furthermore, they can help ensure that the region retains capital in the long term; Noted the growing role of domestic institutional investors, including sovereign funds, as a potential source of demand for better governance practices in local companies and highlighted the need to also examine their own governance arrangements; Agreed on the need to further develop the region's capital markets by providing incentives for family-owned firms and other types of enterprises to list their equity, and noted the initiatives of several Arab stock exchanges to encourage this; Called for the development of a regional corporate governance research platform, bringing together academics, and practitioners in order to stimulate and gather evidence-based research on the benefits of good governance and challenges with implementation; Encouraged the collection of detailed information on corporate governance frameworks in MENA countries, as sought by the OECD Survey conducted in 2011, in order to better understand the existing gaps and support regional dialogue; Recognised that in light of the concentrated ownership structure in the region and the presence of unlisted company groups, the risk of abusive related party transactions remains relatively high and warrants ongoing attention; Observed that since the publication of the regional Policy Brief on Corporate Governance of Banks, governance of banking institutions has evolved, but still requires a review with an emphasis the role of corporate governance in anti-corruption and risk management; Welcomedthe progress made by national authorities in establishing effective disclosure frameworks and encouraged enhanced disclosure by listed but also by privately owned firms, including informative narrative reporting; Announced the first slate of accredited directors by Hawkamah's sister institute Mudara Institute of Directors to serve board rooms in the region as advocates of good corporate governance practices; Acknowledged the need to develop better frameworks on corporate governance of state-owned enterprises, family-owned enterprises and other unlisted companies so as to attract investors, encourage private sector led growth, and job creation; Received a presentation on the OECD's regional publication on corporate governance of state-owned enterprises to be released in 2012 and commended its efforts to support the reform of state-owned enterprises through the regional Taskforce; Commendedthe efforts ofsome MENA countries in improving their frameworks of state-ownership, including Morocco, which released a Code on Corporate Governance for SOEs in 2011, and Egypt which did so in 2006; Encouragedthe development of clear ownership policies, as well as better coordination and accountability of state ownership in the region with a view to improve the performance of SOEs and increase the transparency around the role of the state as an owner; Noted the progress achieved by the OECD Taskforce of MENA Stock Exchanges for Corporate Governance, in which stock exchanges and securities regulators participate, including the forthcoming study on the role of exchanges in corporate governance; Called on the international and regional organisations to support Arab countries undergoing political and economic transitions, notably Egypt and Tunisia, through capacity building activities aimed at supporting the development of sound corporate governance practices; Confirmed that the OECD Working Group on Corporate Governance and the OECD Corporate Governance Committee stand ready to support the Deauville Partnership Process which seeks toencourage, inter alia, private sector development in the region through better corporate governance practices; and Encouraged a more effective dialogue between corporate governance practitioners in the region with their international counterparts through OECD, Hawkamah and other networks. Thankedthe financial support of Du as the Exclusive Telecom Partner, Bank of Sharjah, Muscat Bank, Dubai World Central, Future Pipes Industries, Al Baraka Banking Group, ICSA, Dubal and Weil; and the media partners: the Financial Times, Executive Magazine, and Banker Middle East.

Testimonials

  • "The DDP provides a solid foundation of corporate governance for existing and aspiring directors."

    David Haglund - Senior Executive Director and Portfolio Manager of the Templeton Frontier and MENA Market strategies

  • “Thank you so much for sharing such insightful webinar. It was great and valuable to all participate”

    Shady Rashed - Senior Economic Researcher at The Ministry of International Cooperation of Egypt

  • “Good session and very well organized on the webinar about How to buffer and lessen the impact of the novel Covid – 19, to maintain business sustainability with Hawkamah - AUB / Makhzoumi” 

    Bilal Hamade - Executive Advisor

  • "One of the best webinars I attended. Well done OSB Makhzoumi and Hawkamah”

    Fida Kanaan – Director – Executive education  OSB AUB

  • "A journey full of knowledge, experience and professionalism . I have learned a lot and definitely enjoyed the time I spent with my colleagues."

    Ibtihal Al-Shamali- Director of Corporate Governance- Capital Market Authority of Kuwait

  • The breakfast meetings organised by Hawkamah provide attendees with a great opportunity to meet with peers from leading organisations and exchange ideas on current issues and challenges. A strong panel of industry experts discussing the challenges from different perspectives on ‘How to get the board more engaged’ was most insightful and engaging with enthusiastic audience participation especially in matters regarding diversity and quality of information that is  presented to the board for effective decision making. I look forward to more such events that are organised by Hawkamah

    Sunil Edwards- Group Head of Internal Audit  - Bank of Sharjah

  • The power breakfast on board engagement organized by Hawkamah in collaboration with Diligent was a successful event, very insightful and informative and well organized

    Mostafa Ibrahim Abdeltawab - Tax Agent & Consultant  - Skylines Tax Consultancy

  • There is absolutely no doubt that Hawkamah – as always – has done unmatchable effort in producing its most recent valuable report in association with Diligent about Board Best Practices in the MENA. The discussions that took place in the “Power Breakfast” was so important and insightful; the influx of questions by the quality participants and the valuable answers of the quality panelists is a clear proof of Hawkamah continued success in such events. 

    Yasser Al Dabach – Board Secretary – Ghobash Trading & Investment Group

  • The technical knowledge, insights, case studies and learning provided by the ‘Director Development Program’ are very useful and effective in framing the strategic planning, implementation and delivery phases of growth plans in the difficult economic and geo-political times that we are operating in.

    Hisham Dimashki – CEO - BAP LLC – (associated with GM Trading Companies - Washington DC)

  • The certified Board Secretaries Workshop provided by Hawkamah and Dubai Financial Market is an essential course for learning corporate governance, scope and responsibilities of the board secretary and understanding the governance and disclosure requirements of the Dubai Financial Market and the Securities and Commodities Authority. It is a practical course which combined recent best practices and key learning lessons. I would highly recommend it for people involved in corporate governance and in particular in a listed company.

    Omran Al Zamani - Senior Legal Counsel - Dana Gas PJSC

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