Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), will now chair the World Economic Forum‘s Regional 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, held from 19-21 May 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 MENA in 2015. At this year’s forum she participated in a number of panel sessions including the ‘Arab World from History to Fiction’ and ‘Stewarding 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 across the Arab World, the Regional Business Council enhances cooperation between the public and private sectors to address the region’s most significant challenges. Former RBC MENA chairs have included Majid Jafar, vice-chairman of the Crescent Group and CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Omar Kutayba Alghanim, CEO of Alghanim Industries and the Chairman of Gulf Bank. Sheikha Bodour becomes the first woman to chair the RBC.
Sheikha Bodour’s appointment comes in recognition of her pioneering efforts in addressing key regional socio-economic challenges around competitiveness, youth employment, entrepreneurship, enhancing governance and ensuring institutional quality for inclusive growth, education reform and peace-building. Under her leadership, the RBC will serve as a collaborative platform for addressing the complex economic, social and humanitarian challenges that the region faces and work to develop a strategic framework for deepening partnerships between the public and private sectors around economic integration and diversification, spurring innovation, economic growth, workforce skills development, entrepreneurship and increased female labour force participation.
A leading cultural figure, Sheikha Bodour is also Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group; Patron and Founder of the UAE Board on Books for Young People; chairperson of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), head of the Sharjah government’s Knowledge without Borders (KwB) initiative. She has been named Most Influential Woman in the Arab World in the Investment Development Sector by Forbes Middle East (2013); First Personality of the Year Award in the Tourism Sector by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); and Woman Leader in Business and Economic Development Excellence Award 2014, by Middle East Excellence Awards Institute in Dubai.