ISLAMIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE: Islamic Chamber Co-Organizes the First Arab Corporate Citizenship Forum Abu Dhabi

Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture issued the following announcement on Feb. 10.

As part of its programmes and activities to promote economic development among the Private Sector of the Member States, the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (ICCIA) also cooperates with other likeminded institutions, addressing common issues for the overall benefit of the Members of the Islamic Chamber.

In this context, the ICCIA co-organized the “1st Arab Corporate Citizenship Forum” under the title "Towards Sustainable Growth", in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. on 23rd January 2019 in collaboration with the CSR Arabic, Emirates Businesswomen Council and the Economic Businesswomen Council, Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNIDO Network of Investment and Technology Promotion Offices (ITPO), Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship and Investment. A large number of businessmen, NGOs and

government representatives attended the said Forum.

The Forum was graced by H.E. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs in the UAE, Ambassador Nabila Makram, Immigration Minister and Egyptians Abroad Affairs. Eng. Khalid Abbas,

Deputy Minister of Housing for National Projects, Ambassador Sherif Al-Badawi, Ambassador of Egypt in the UAE, and Mr. Mohsen Adel, Chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt. In addition, a number of entities and international and Arab organizations and public figures, Arab businessmen and representatives of governments and experts, were also present on the occasion، The ICCIA was represented by Mrs. Attiya Nawazish Ali, Assistant Secretary General.

She made two presentations at this important Forum on “Enhancing the Role of Women in Commercial Activities and their role in Achieving Sustainable Development”, and “Role of Entrepreneurship and Arab Woman & Youth Empowerment in Achieving Sustainable Business Models”. During the panel discussion, she said the Forum is a dynamic platform that brings together people with diverse experiences, gives them an opportunity to discuss different areas of cooperation and build effective partnerships.

She said that Gender equality remains to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time, and policies and discussions about how to empower women, to strengthen their commercial activities, constitute an indispensable aspect of sustainable development.

In fact, empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps at work are not only part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but that of the OIC Plan of Action as well.

CSR Arabia is a company established with the aim of spreading awareness among companies and state institutions on the importance of fulfilling their social

responsibilities toward the community. Organizing this event, was an important step by CSR Arabia in creating a state of integration between all community work stakeholders.

She highlighted the importance of dealing with gender gaps, as it is important to not

only empower women, but to engage them as well and how they can transform not only

their own lives, but that of other women, families, communities and children. Such an

approach will allow us to move beyond the typical image of women as the

‘beneficiaries’ of social and economic development. In fact, in the last few decades or


so, women have become ‘benefactors’ of sustainable development by taking up on increasingly significant and public roles in business leadership, social entrepreneurship and the third sector (NGOs, Nonprofit organization or PPP). There is a strong alignment between corporate citizenship, which is the focus of this Forum and social enterprise, as both concepts deal with the benefits of inclusiveness.

She also shared ICCIA’s achievement of establishing the Family Bank in Sudan, with a capital of US$35 Million, which provides micro-credit finance on easy terms and focuses on a more holistic approach by giving loans to those projects which can have an inclusive effect on the family and thereafter the society and the country. ICCIA is interested in replicating this concept in other Member States as well. This project had been presented to the 7th Ministerial Conference on the Role of Women in the Development in the OIC Member States, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in November 2018, which called upon the relevant stakeholders in the Member Countries to adopt this initiative as one of the best practices for engaging youth and women to

replicate in other OIC Member States.

She underlined the need for policy-makers to frame policies which take into consideration the target group. One of the major problems faced being today is unemployment, specially the graduates. The civil society maybe involved to create a kind of program for these graduates and to pay them, so that the community enterprise sector can grow.

The Forum discussed the mechanisms of corporate citizenship, and how to turn companies to be responsible towards its communities and shareholders as well. The Forum also focused on the role of women entrepreneurs in changing the culture of their

countries and empowering women and youth in achieving sustainable growth. The Forum also addressed the green economy and its impact on sustainable development, as well as discussing the impact of using new and renewable energies such as wind and solar energy in different industries in order to achieve sustainable development.

In his message, H.E. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of

Economy and Foreign Trade Affairs of the UAE stressed the UAE's keenness to

promote and spread the concept of social responsibility, research and innovation

strategies, as well as taking deliberate steps to develop an integrated system and create

effective partnerships to achieve this goal.

Mr. Hassan Mustafa, Chief Executive Officer of CSR Arabia said that we are keen to

spread the culture of corporate citizenship and transform it from mere entities

responsible to its shareholders to responsible companies towards their communities. He

further explained that CSR Arabia adopts the 17th objective of Sustainable Development

Goal, which calls for strengthening effective partnerships between entities and

institutions in different Arab countries.

On this occasion, Mr. Fareed Al Awadhi, President of the Emirates Businesswomen

Council said the forum is an embodiment of cooperation between the Emirates

Businesswomen Council, the Egyptian Businesswomen Council and the Federation of

Islamic Chambers of Commerce. It also recommended the establishment of a fund for community responsibility in the Arab countries, serve the national development plans in the Arab countries. He explained that the cooperation of all parties and institutions in organizing the event reflects the level of abuse of all parties with the concept of social

responsibility and the quest to promote and spread its culture across borders.

Dr. Hashem Hussein, Head of the Investment and Technology Promotion Bureau of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in the Kingdom of Bahrain, stressed the need to increase the participation of women in the industrial sector because the economic empowerment of women starts from here.

In his speech, Dr. Hazem Fahmy, Director of CARE International, Egypt said that we must seek sustainability in building effective partnerships and therefore we must link the objectives of cooperation with the objective of private sector entities.

Similarly, Ms. Amal Mabdi, Head of Resource Development, Egypt Khair Foundation,

said that we need more sincere partnerships at the Arab and regional levels to bring

about real development that touches many poor people.

Dr. Nevin Abdul Khaleq, Deputy Managing Director of Human Resources and Corporate Development at Consulting Engineers Group, delivered speech and said the Development initiatives that serve the objectives and needs of the private sector are the most attractive to the shareholders and the most secure for their sustainability.

In order to shed light on the most important investment opportunities in the Egyptian arket, Eng. Khaled Abbas, Deputy Minister of Housing for National Projects reviewed the most important achievements and construction projects that have been completed recently. Similarly, Mr. Mohsen Adel, Chairman of GAFI, Investment opportunities in Egypt said the rise of Egypt's share in foreign direct investment is 37% in the current


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Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture

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