Cheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), will now chair the World Economic ForumRegional Business Council (RBC) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The announcement was made by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which was held May 19-21 in Jordan.
Sheikha Bodour became the first Emirati woman chosen to co-chair the World Economic Forum, when she co-chaired the World Economic Forum on the MENA region in 2015. At this year’s forum, she participated in a number of of panel sessions, including “Arab World from History to Fiction” and “Managing a Policy Framework for Generational Transformation”. Sheikha Bodour is also a member of the WEF MENA Regional Strategy Group (RGS).
Bringing together influential business leaders from the Arab world, the Regional Business Council strengthens cooperation between the public and private sectors to address the region’s most important challenges. Former Presidents of RBC MENA included Majid Jafar, Vice President of Crescent Group and CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Omar Kutayba Alghanim, CEO of Alghanim Industries and Chairman of Gulf Bank. Sheikha Bodour becomes the first woman to chair the RBC.
The appointment of Sheikha Bodour comes in recognition of her pioneering efforts to address the main regional socio-economic challenges concerning competitiveness, youth employment, entrepreneurship, improving governance and ensuring institutional quality for a inclusive growth, education reform and peacebuilding. Under his leadership, CBR will serve as a collaborative platform to address the complex economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing the region and will work to develop a strategic framework to deepen public-private sector partnerships around economic integration and diversification, stimulating innovation, economic growth, skills development of the workforce, entrepreneurship and increased participation of women in the workforce.
A leading cultural figure, Sheikha Bodour is also the founder and CEO of the Kalimat group; Patron and Founder of the United Arab Emirates Council on Books for Young People; president of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), head of the Sharjah government’s Knowledge without Borders (KwB) initiative. She was named the Arab World’s Most Influential Woman in Investment Development by Forbes Middle East (2013); First Tourism Personality of the Year Award from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); and Woman Leader in Business and Economic Development Excellence Award 2014, awarded by the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute in Dubai.