GCC reforms are changing women’s lives

Time: 14 February, 2020

There are many examples of how the fundamental role of women in boosting economic growth has been recognized by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In recent years, the GCC economies implemented ambitious reforms to enhance women’s economic inclusion. They have improved women’s access to education, health care and employment, and have encouraged women to participate in political life. The reforms that took place in Saudi Arabia resulted in 30 women being appointed for the first time to the Saudi Shoura Council in 2013, and 17 women being appointed to municipal seats in 2015.

The World Bank’s annual report on Women, Business and the Law 2020 (WBL) highlights important reforms introduced around the world in the last two years related to women’s economic empowerment.

This year, Saudi Arabia was recognized as the global top reformer, following the enactment of breakthrough reforms supporting women’s participation in the economy. The UAE and Bahrain are among the top 10 global improvers, and across the MENA region Jordan and Tunisia scored highly, too. It is our hope that this strong reform momentum in the GCC is sustained and that we see further reforms across the rest of the MENA region. I would like to highlight some of the historic improvements that were introduced in the GCC.

Saudi Arabia increased its score on the WBL index by 38.8 points in the past two years and moved up 60 positions. Saudi Arabia enacted groundbreaking reforms in six of the eight indicators covered by the index, a few of which have caught global attention. The country allowed for more freedom of movement for women — they no longer need permission from a male guardian to travel abroad or to obtain a passport. The Kingdom also amended the Civil Status Law to allow a woman to choose where to live in the same way as men, and allowed women to be head of the household in the same way as men.

New legal amendments protect women in the workforce from discrimination, including criminalizing sexual harassment in employment, prohibiting employers from dismissing a woman during pregnancy and maternity leave, and equalizing the retirement age for women and men at 60 years, thus extending women’s working lives, earnings and contributions. Saudi Arabia also encouraged women’s entrepreneurship by prohibiting gender-based discrimination in accessing financial services.

Around 6 million Saudi women over the age of 21 are benefiting from these changes. The reforms, which were led by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, reflect the government’s understanding that women play a major role in achieving Vision 2030’s goal of increasing women’s labor force participation from 22 percent to 30 percent.

The UAE has the second-largest improvement globally on the WBL index of this year and implemented changes in five of the indicators measured. The reform effort has been a continuation of reforms that were led by the Gender Balance Council, the federal agency responsible for implementing initiatives to enhance women’s representation in the country’s private and public sectors. Important reforms made include allowing married women to apply for a passport without the written consent of her husband, prohibiting discrimination based on gender in employment, introducing penalties for sexual harassment in employment, lifting restrictions on women’s work at night and in certain industries, and allowing women to be head of the household in the same way as men.

In Bahrain, the continuing reforms were led by the Supreme Council for Women, which introduced the adoption of provisions on sexual harassment in employment such as criminal penalties for perpetrators. Bahrain also began allowing women to be recognized as heads of their households.

These successful reform programs are making significant improvements to women’s lives and are inspiring the region to advance on this agenda, especially as Dubai gears up to host the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) MENA Regional Summit on February 16-17, 2020 as part of their Global Women’s Forum. We-Fi is a World Bank-housed global platform dedicated to advancing women entrepreneurs in developing economies through a collaborative partnership of 14 governments and other institutions. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been key partners to We-Fi, pledging $100 million to the initiative. Through commitments such as these, we hope to see the reform momentum sustained in the GCC and women’s economic participation continually increase.

• Issam Abousleiman is the World Bank regional director of the GCC countries, Middle East and North Africa. His regional expertise includes Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East regions.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Valentine’s Day 2020 in Saudi Arabia

Time: 13 February, 2020

Saudi Arabia now fully embraces and celebrates Valentine’s Day, two years after restrictions were lifted. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

RIYADH: In 2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine’s Day celebrations for the first time in the Kingdom, and the rest has been history. Saudi Arabia now fully embraces the day, see pictures above… (AN Photos/Huda Bashatah)

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Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day

Time: 13 February, 2020

Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
  • Hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow
  • Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person

JEDDAH: Love is in the air and hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once “haram” Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

As recently as three years ago it would have been unthinkable — Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police saw to that.

Florists and confectioners used to hide their red roses and heart-shaped chocolate in fear of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). Restaurant owners even banned birthday or anniversary celebrations on Feb. 14 for fear of arrest or closure.

Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

A breakthrough came in 2018, when former Makkah CPVPV President Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi declared that Valentine’s Day did not contradict Islamic teaching or doctrine. Celebrating love was universal,and not limited to non-Muslims, he said.

Now Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person.

To help readers to get the most out of Valentine’s, Arab News has compiled an essential guide. We have advice on romantic getaways, whether you’re on a budget, or ready to splash out on a rented yacht in the Red Sea or a cultural heritage hotel in a palm oasis in the Eastern Province.

There’s also a “his and her” gift guide for every purse, and info on the best places for that romantic meal for two.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Princess Lamia bint Majed, goodwill ambassador for the Arab world

Time: 13 February, 2020

Princess Lamia bint Majed

Princess Lamia bint Majed, secretary-general and a member of the board of trustees of Alwaleed Philanthropies, has been appointed as the first regional goodwill ambassador for the Arab world by the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

Her appointment came during a press conference held on the sidelines of the 10th session of the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Princess Lamia will advocate for sustainable urbanization, helping UN-Habitat to address urban challenges in Arab states and advance sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace.

Princess Lamia has also worked as the secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies since March 2016. She also worked as executive manager of media and communications at Alwaleed Philanthropies between 2014 and 2016.

Princess Lamia has a bachelor’s degree in public relations, marketing and advertising from Misr International University in Cairo, Egypt.

In 2003, the princess founded Sada Al-Arab, a publishing company operating from Cairo, Beirut and Dubai.

Princess Lamia also co-founded Media Codes Ltd. in Egypt and the Fortune Media Group in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

She was editor in chief of Rotana magazine between 2004 and 2006. She held the same position at Mada magazine between 2002 and 2008.

In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Arab Women’s Award for her charitable work.

In 2019, Princess Lamia was appointed as a champion of Generation Unlimited, a global partnership that aims to boost the productivity of young people. Her Twitter handle is @lamia1507.

This article was first published in Arab News

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‘Changing the Script’: Red Sea film festival announces theme, honors three cinematic innovators

Time: 12 February, 2020

Jack Lang, left, former French minister of culture, Kim Dong-ho, right, founder of South Korea’s Busan Film Festival, and Daniela Michel, founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico
  • Three Gold Yusr awards will be presented to the trio at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea Film Festival on March 12

JEDDAH: The Red Sea International Film Festival announced on Tuesday that its inaugural session, which will be launched next month in Jeddah, will have the theme “Changing the Script.”

The festival announced the honoring of three film innovators who have made great contributions to the industry. They are Jack Lang, former French minister of culture, Kim Dong-ho, founder of South Korea’s Busan Film Festival, and Daniela Michel, founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico.

Festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh said: “The honoring of these three legendary figures is at the heart of the Red Sea Film Festival’s goals. An appreciation of pioneers of the film industry, who contributed to unlocking artistic capabilities of their compatriots and developing cinematic masterpieces to be enjoyed for generations.”

He said: “It coincides with the founding moment of the film industry in our country, and in honoring these individuals looks at how the introduction of similar international models can add to the dialogue establishing Saudi’s film industry.”

Lang was appointed culture minister by then-French President Mitterrand in 1981. He created a revolution in the film sector, where he worked to develop a profitable infrastructure for the French film industry.

He redefined the state’s involvement in cinema production with the restructuring of existing funds, a strategy that paid off handsomely. He oversaw the creation of the French National Cinema Center and the Independent Film Support Fund, establishing new funds such as the Mass Production Film Fund. His innovative idea, known as the SOFICA funds — a private money funding system — was the crown jewel of his plans.

Kim Dong-ho is considered a giant of Korean cinema. He is the founder and former chairman of the Busan International Film Festival, launched in 1996.

Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to shaping Korea’s cultural landscape. From 1988, he was president of the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Corp. (now the Korean Film Council), contributing to the expansion of the cultural scene, deepening the base of the country’s film industry and establishing its films as a global force.

Daniela Michel is the founding director of the International Morelia Film Festival, established in 2003 as an annual festival to support a new generation of Mexican directors, and credited with the rise of Mexican cinema internationally.

The direct result of this is the prominence of a new generation of Mexican filmmakers, that is winning major prizes and gaining a permanent place in major film festival competitions. Collectively they have come to be known as “The Second Golden Age” of Mexican cinema.

Three Gold Yusr awards will be presented to the trio at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea Film Festival on March 12.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Mayada Badr appointed CEO of Culinary Arts Authority in Saudi Arabia

Time: 12 February, 2020

Mayada Badr, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Culinary Arts Authority. (SPA)
  • Badr is a chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris
  • Culinary Arts Authority is one of 11 bodies by the Saudi Culture Ministry

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan has appointed Mayada Badr as CEO of the newly formed Culinary Arts Authority, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

Badr is a talented Saudi chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and trained under a number of renowned international chefs. Through the Culinary Arts Authority, she will be responsible for regulating and developing the Kingdom’s culinary sector and supporting other practitioners in the field.

The Culinary Arts Authority is one of 11 cultural bodies launched by the ministry to manage, promote and advance the Kingdom’s cultural sector. It will be responsible for issuing licenses for culinary activities; organizing conferences and exhibitions; providing courses and vocational training programs; and encouraging research, studies, and development in its field.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Love on Saudi Arabia’s silver screens

Time: 12 February, 2020

Mahmoud Sabbagh’s “Barakah Yoqabil Barakah”
  • The genre, previously frowned upon, is going mainstream among Saudi directors, and audiences are embracing it

JEDDAH: The love story is a relatively new concept in Saudi movies, but filmmakers and actors are finding they are increasingly able to portray this aspect of life from the Kingdom’s perspective.

“Roll’em” was one of the first such Saudi films to appear in cinemas. It centers on an aspiring filmmaker who wants to showcase his city, Jeddah, and realizes how much it means to him when he meets an underrated cinematographer living in a country without cinema.

The film is a love story between characters Lina Najjar, played by Sara Taibah and Omar Nizar, played by Khaled Yeslam.

The director of the film, Abdulelah Al-Qurashi, told Arab News that Saudi audiences were positive about the story, and the film received great reviews.

“I think it (the love story) worked out more than other scenes. There was a scene where Omar sees his ex-girlfriend by chance in the supermarket and his reaction grabs the attention of the audience. I felt that they were able to relate to this because I think this is the first time such a scene appears on screen, but is quite common in reality,” he said.

A film poster for “Roll’em,” by Abdulelah Al-Qurashi

The story of “Roll’em” is from one perspective — Omar’s. “When I’m talking about someone’s journey, how is there a journey without love? It’s a universal human trait. I felt that this was necessary to show,” Al-Qurashi said.

He previously played the father in the short film “Zaina’s Cake,” directed by Nada Al-Mojadidi.

Zaina, played by Sarah Taibah, is a young college graduate in Jeddah struggling to start a baking business without her father’s consent. She meets Ma’an, the delivery boy who helps her, and over time she realizes that her new life could force her to choose between her father and a young man.

“Zaina comes from a very strict lower-middle-class Saudi family,” Taibah said. “Her father is very strict and doesn’t want her to work in a mixed-gender environment. She falls in love with the delivery boy, and then her father finds out. It had a happy ending; he lets her pursue what she wants in the end. It was such a simple love story.”

“It was refreshing for most people because we’re not used to seeing ourselves in these love stories,” Al-Mojadidi explained. “We’re used to seeing them in Western films. It’s refreshing because everyone goes through their own story but you don’t get to share that story as our culture doesn’t really embrace it — it’s the same issue we have in our society, not just our cinema. It was refreshing to see people accept it. It’s such a typical Saudi story.”

“Roll’em” has a different type of love story that’s more modern and relevant nowadays — “a genuine love is seen in the film, guys and girls being friends — no one (in the audience) was attacking the idea,” Taibah said. “It’s a combination that everything is changing and that the love is very relatable and genuine. It’s not crossing the uncomfortable Saudi line.”

Taibah said Saudi audiences wanted to see such stories, as films offer a more genuine sense of emotion that many relate to on a deeper level. “People are hungry just to relate,” she said.

“As an artist, not only as a writer and actress, performer or illustrator, I always look for love, heartbreak and intimacy as themes for my work, so I make sure that comes across,” she added.

Taibah described the relationship between her character Lina in “Roll’em” and Khaled Yeslam’s character Omar as one that the audience could relate to.

“It is an open ending, we don’t know if they are still together or not. All we know is that she’s always going to be there for him. Even when the characters are going through difficult times and are kind of broken up, she shows up and helps him to make the screening of his film he’s been working on. It’s a relationship we know; we’ve either lived it or we know someone who did.”

“It’s that type of relationship that’s so doomed but always going because of the familiarization, companionship and acceptance than that flame in the beginning of a relationship,” she said. “You can sense the emotions of my characters; you see how these two were so in love, with glimpses of the good moments they had, but overall she’s exhausted, she feels like she’s becoming his mother not his lover.”

The role of cinema and any art is to touch on human nature, Al-Mojadidi said. “That’s the job of this art form. This is why it exists, it’s like a mirror that shows you everything. A mirror doesn’t show you just how good you look, it shows you how you look.”

“Zaina’s Cake,” by Nada Al-Mujadidi

This article was first published in Arab News

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Why that can of energy drink has doubled in price

Time: 11 February, 2020

Along with the other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia is gradually implementing the taxation of goods deemed to have negative effects on public health and the environment.
For example, tobacco products, electronic vaping equipment and liquids, and energy drinks attract tax at a rate of 100 percent — doubling the price to the consumer. Tax on soft drinks and sweetened drinks is payable at a rate of 50 percent.
The tax is payable by importers or producers, based on the retail value of the goods, excluding Value Added Tax. Producers are required to submit a tax declaration every two months, six times in each fiscal year, and pay the estimated tax due within 15 days of submitting the declaration. Importers pay the tax for each customs declaration at the Customs Authority. At the end of each two-month period the General Authority of Zakat and Tax reviews the figures, and calculates the difference, if any, between the estimates and the reality.
If taxable goods are illegally imported or exported, or in the event of their illegal production, transfer, storage or possession, an offender may be fined up to three times the value of the tax due. Fines also apply to providing false documents and papers related to taxable goods, or conducting any related activities without a license. The fines apply in the event of any attempt to commit such an offense, even if it fails.
Anyone obstructing or preventing General Authority of Zakat and Tax staff from doing their job, or failing toinform the authority of any relevant changes, may be fined up to SR50,000 ($13,331).
Tax declarations must also be submitted on time, and failure to do so attracts a fine of 5 percent of the value of the taxable goods for a delay of up to 30 days; 10 percent for between 30 and 60 days; 15 percent for 60-90 days; 20 percent for 90-120 days; and 25 percent for more than 120 days.
There is also a fine of SR50,000 or the value of the tax due, whichever is higher, if the taxpayer fails to adhere to the criteria for maintaining the safety of taxable goods, or fails to keep proper books and records.
If any of these offenses are repeated within three years, the original fine may be doubled or the operator’s license may be suspended for up to six months.
No one likes paying tax, and no consumer likes to see the price of their purchases doubled — but taxes such as these serve a purpose in deterring unhealthy activity, and in defraying some of the expense incurred by society in treating illnesses that may be caused by the unregulated use of these goods.

Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal counsel and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif

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Saudi Arabia on a fast track to gender equality, study suggests


  • A World Bank report places Kingdom first in gender equality in GCC bloc and second in the Arab region
  • The WBL report measures gender inequality in the law and identifies barriers to women’s economic participation

DUBAI: Rapid reform in Saudi Arabia is opening the door for female “role models and leaders of the future” — and the Kingdom’s women are seizing the opportunity, according to major employers.

Saudi women are bringing “passion, energy and enthusiasm” to the workplace in greater numbers than ever, Danielle Atkins, chief marketing and communications officer at Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) in Riyadh, told Arab News.

Atkins said that she has seen a sharp rise in the number of women working in the Kingdom.

“I look for passion, an entrepreneurial spirit and commitment —  and all of this I see from the Saudi women in my team,” she said.

“This is an incredible time for Saudi women.”



Jump in Saudi Arabia’s score in World Bank’s ‘Women, Business and the Law’ report.

Atkins’ comments follow a World Bank report that highlighted Saudi Arabia’s rapid progress towards gender quality since 2017 by ranking it the top reformer and the top improver among 190 countries.

The bank’s “Women, Business and the Law” (WBL) 2020 report gave the Kingdom an overall score of 70.6 out of 100 — a 38.8 jump since its last ranking  — placing it first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world.

WBL measures gender inequality in the law, identifies barriers to women’s economic participation and encourages reform of discriminatory laws.

The report highlights improvements in Saudi Arabia’s score in six of the eight indicators, notably in women’s mobility, following the removal of restrictions on obtaining a passport and traveling abroad.

Besides mobility (100), the most improvements were recorded in the workplace (100), marriage (60), parenthood (40), entrepreneurship (100) and pension (100).

New legal amendments also equalized women’s right to choose where to live and to leave the marital home, the report says.

Atkins told Arab News that the “remarkable change” in opportunities for women  can be attributed to the implementation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s blueprint for transformation — the Saudi 2030 Vision

“Today, women are being appointed to senior governmental roles and are leading in fields such as science and medicine, which were traditionally male oriented,” she said.

“They will become role models for the future.”

Reforms including the right to drive offer Saudi women a stake in the Kingdom’s economic future, according to a World Bank report. (AFP)

With regard to the workplace, Saudi Arabia has enacted legislation and criminal penalties for sexual harassment and prohibited gender discrimination.

In the area of marriage, the Kingdom has begun allowing women to be head of the household and removed the legal obligation to obey their husbands. With regards to parenthood, Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, prohibited the dismissal of pregnant workers.

“One of the goals of Vision 2030 is to increase the proportion of women in employment from the current level of 22 percent to 30 percent,” Atkins said.

“The DGDA team is comprised of 83 percent Saudis, of which 34 percent are women. The marketing team has an even higher percentage with 57 percent of women.

“My first three new hires are all Saudi women, and my impression as someone who is new to the Kingdom is that this change is being led by the government and individual CEOs. It would be great to see this cascade into all industries within Saudi Arabia,” she said.

In a boost for entrepreneurship, the Kingdom has made access to credit easier for women by prohibiting gender-based discrimination in financial services, a legal provision that has been proven to increase women’s access to finance and is still not in place in 115 economies.

In the pension section, the Kingdom equalized the age (60) at which men and women can retire with full pension benefits. It also mandated a retirement age of 60 for both women and men.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the changes underway in the Kingdom is the trend for women to study what have traditionally been regarded as exclusively male domains: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM disciplines.

For instance, of the 5,200 who graduated from the Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) in Riyadh last year, 1,400 came from STEM faculties.

“I predict a huge contribution from women in that sector in the near future,” Einas Al-Eisa, rector of the PNU, told Arab News at the recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“One good story that comes from Saudi Arabia is the increased number of women engaging in the technology sectors, for example, versus the drop we see worldwide. Elsewhere women are moving away from these fields, whereas in the Kingdom, the number is going up constantly.”

Cyril Widdershoven, director of VEROCY, a Dutch consultancy advising on investments, energy and infrastructure in the region, said improvements in the position of women in Saudi Arabia are visible in offices, workplaces and on the streets.

“The role of women in the Saudi economy is clear. It is an available workforce that should be accessed,” he said.

“At the same time, diversity in the workforce is increasing overall productivity, profitability and sustainability.

“What needs to be done is to educate and strategize sectors for women.”

Women university students in the Kingdom are entering traditional male domains such as science, engineering and mathematics in growing numbers. (AFP)

According to the World Bank report, economies in the Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa make up nine of the top 10 reforming economies.

Some of the Kingdom’s groundbreaking reforms include criminalizing sexual harassment in public and private sector employment in 2018, as well as allowing women greater economic opportunity last year.

Legal amendments now protect women from discrimination in employment, including job advertisements and hiring, and prohibit employers from dismissing a woman during her pregnancy and maternity leave.

“These reforms build on other historic changes in Saudi Arabia, which in 2015 for the first time allowed women to vote and run as candidates in municipal elections and, in 2017, gave women the right to drive,” the report said. “The reforms are spurred by an understanding that women play an important role in moving Saudi Arabia closer to its Vision 2030.

“This ambitious plan to modernize the Saudi Arabian economy by diversifying it beyond oil and gas, promoting private sector growth, and supporting entrepreneurship also includes the goal of increasing women’s labor force participation.”

The report mentioned  remaining legal constraints on women’s participation in the economy, which, if addressed, could increase their economic contribution.

As for what young Saudi women will do after graduation, the Vision 2030 strategy envisages a big increase in the female workforce, rising to as much as 30 percent over the next decade.

Recent statistics show that the Kingdom is well on the way to reaching that target, with 23.5 percent of the private sector workforce being female.

“Just as it should be everywhere else in the world, it is the competency of the graduates that dictates where they go,” Al-Eisa said.

For Saudi Arabia to diversify and advance, Widdershoven said, the Kingdom’s women need to be financially independent, but also able to fill in gaps in the workforce.

“From health care to finance, energy, agriculture and industry, the strength of these mainly young women is remarkable,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairperson of the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange (Tadawul)


Sarah Al-Suhaimi

The Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange (Tadawul) recently reappointed Sarah Al-Suhaimi as chairwoman for the board of directors for a new three-year term.

Al-Suhaimi has been at the head of Tadawul, the largest stock market in the Middle East, since February 2017 and is the first Saudi woman to hold the position.

She has also been the chief executive officer and a board director of the National Commercial Bank (NCB Capital), also known as Al-Ahli Bank, since March 2014.

She attained her bachelor’s degree in accounting from King Saud University in Riyadh with highest honors, and completed the general management program at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, US in 2015.

Prior to her current position, Al-Suhaimi served as the vice chairperson of the advisory committee to the board of the Capital Market Authority between 2013 and 2015.

Al-Suhaimi worked as the chief investment officer at Jadwa Investment, where she led the asset management and wealth management business lines and was also a member of its management committee between 2007 and 2011.

Al-Suhaimi was named one of “50 people to watch” by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2017. It wrote: “The first woman to chair Saudi Arabia’s stock market, she will preside over the exchange with what’s likely to be the world’s most valuable business once Saudi Arabian Oil, the state-run oil company, completes its initial public offering (slated for 2018).”

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