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GCC leaders stress on diversification

Jane Valls - BDI copy


Sunaina Rana / Emirates Business

Economic diversity will help reducing growth fluctuations in the region, attracting a host of international and private investors. The 22nd edition of the Foundation of directorship Workshop held recently by the GCC Board Directors Institute highlighted the significance of the regulatory trends.
The event witnessed participation of senior officials which included Board directors and senior executives of the region’s leading business enterprises.
Jane Valls, Executive Director, GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI), told Emirates Business, “At a time where a strong dollar, China’s economic slowdown and the decline in oil prices is affecting hiring activity in non-oil sectors, the UAE has done an excellent job in creating the right environment for entrepreneurs and innovators to realise their ideas. Looking at sector growth, professional services in particular can help in growth of the GCC economy – these have the ability to support a range of different occupations, regardless of the size of a business or the industry. As part of the UAE’s wider innovation agenda, the software sector will also play a large role, while the retail and consumer product sector shows potential in the run-up of Expo 2020.”
It was estimated by the Engines of Abu Dhabi’s Future Economic Growth, that the oil sector will continue to grow to meet international demand, which is also plays an integral part of the Emirate’s economy.
However, Abu Dhabi will also emphasize on evolving other sectors which, combined, are planned to grow at an aggregate annual rate exceeding 7.5%.
This growth should help the
Emirate achieve a neutral non-oil trade balance.
“The last financial crisis has put corporations under much more scrutiny not only from their shareholders, but also financial regulators and even rating agencies. Publicly listed companies especially are urged to become much more transparent – and as more and more public voices are intervening in the internal decision-making process, openness has become one major ingredient in safeguarding credibility and trust among stakeholders,” she added.
According to the BDI 2015 report on Board Effectiveness in the Gulf, 59 percent of respondents do not believe that all board members make meaningful contributions during board meetings in the GCC.
Further explaining the significance of diversification Dr Amer Al Rawas, CEO, Tasneea Oil & Gas Technology, said, “I think a board can only be as effective as its directors. This is why making sure there is a right mix not only of skills and expertise but also of personalities and diversity of thought is essential, along with a culture of trust and mutual respect so as to foster open and constructive discussions.”
“Effective boards are essential for the sustainability of economies and prosperity of societies.
BDI is playing a pivotal role in promoting professional directorship through effective learning programs, knowledge sharing platforms, and networking events in our region. With a regionally focused mission and very well balanced agenda, BDI provides an excellent platform for a constructive dialogue amongst ourselves and with the regulatory authorities to share best governance practices,” continued Dr Amer.
Highlighting the advantages of diversification of the Economy Valls concluded by saying, “The topic of diversity penetrates almost every aspect of our business practices, even when it comes to board composition. Studies have indicated that gender parity in the boardroom has resulted in a positive impact on business performance. By diversifying the type of thinkers in the boardroom, companies can stimulate creativity, thereby standing out from their peers and leaving a footprint in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. It helps them reach a harmonised approach for the customers they serve, and the communities in which they operate because the more diverse the board the greater the ability to relate to a wide range of audiences. The same is true for the economy, the more diverse the economy, the more resilient, stable and sustainable it is.”

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