The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), operating under the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has announced the agenda of the 5th edition of the Sharjah FDI Forum, which will take place on November 11-12, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, with 1,500 participants and 54 speakers including senior government officials, top economists, finance and business leaders.
To be held under the theme ‘Future Trends in Foreign Direct Investment’ at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) in Sharjah, the international forum will consist of 12 sessions eight panel discussions and four special sessions, as well as 5 workshops and a special roundtable by the Dubai Financial Market.
Bestselling author and former Chief Business Officer of Google X, Mo Gawdat, is scheduled to make his presence at the 5th edition of the forum, and will be presenting a special signing ceremony for his famous book “Solve for Happy”, which is open to visitors at the (Invest in Sharjah) stand during the first day of the forum.
The 4th industrial revolution and the future of sustainability
The Sharjah FDI Forum will begin with a keynote speech by HE Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, followed by a welcome address by HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq. This will be followed by a keynote speech by Mo Gawdat.
Four panel discussions will be held on the first day of the forum. The first one, ‘Applying Industry 4.0 to FDI for Sustainable Development’, will feature H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Economy; HE Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority; Husain Rajab, Co-Chief Investment Officer, Bahrain Economic Development Board; Anita Yadav, Vice Chairman Of The Board, The Gulf Bond & Sukuk Association, & CEO of Century Financial; and Dr. Henry Loewendahl, Founder and CEO of WAVTEQ, as panellists. Moderated by William Reichert, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, the panel will address Industry 4.0 and circular economy as enabling drivers for FDI and business competitiveness, and how changes in the business process, models and approach to product design can help drive regional competitiveness as well as sustainable development in the digital economy.
The second panel of the day, titled ‘Future of Sustainability (Environmental and Renewable Energy)’, will discuss how changes in the global climate and environmental challenges will impact local and regional economies, and examine emerging and future trends in building a sustainable environment and their impact on current policies and urban planning
The session moderated by Timothée Néron-Bancel, Regional Manager, Middle East & Africa at The Economist, will include panellists: Suzanne Eveleigh, Director – Property Management, Savills; Dr. Muawieh Radaideh, Chief Executive Officer, SEE NEXUS; Zaid Alqufaidi, Managing Director, ENOC Retail; and Mhairi Main Garcia, Partner, Dentons.
The Future of Fintech
The third session on Day One, ‘The Future of Fintech (Banking & Finance) - investing in innovation and sustainability of digitalised currencies and capital allocation’, will examine how fintech and digitalised currencies are disrupting capital allocation to deliver economic growth and increase efficiency and maximise profits, and the role of digitalised currencies in shaping global capital allocation, payments and investments.
Speakers will include Daniel Lam, Regional Director of Middle East and Africa, Hong Kong Trade Development Council; Evans Munyuki, Chief Digital Officer at Emirates NBD; Alaeddin Elmajed, Payment Services Director & Fintech Leader at Hyper Pay; Padmini Gupta, Fintech CEO and Co-founder, Rise; and Mohamed Roushdy, CIO, Fintech and Digital Transformation Advisor & Head of Technology at Dubai Asset Management. The session will be moderated by Ali Bachrouch, Partner, Head of Corporate Structuring – Northern Emirates at Al Tamimi & Company.
The fourth and final panel discussion during Day One of the forum is titled ‘The Future of High-Quality Infrastructure Development’, by the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority. Speakers include: Masahiro Narikiyo, CEO & COO, Sumitomo Corporation Middle East Group; Susan Flanagan, President & CEO, GE Energy Financial Services; Bulent Mehmetli, Product Line Director, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems; and Mika Uchino, Director of Division 3, New Energy and Power Finance Department II, Infrastructure and Environment Finance Group, Japan Bank For International Cooperation.
Three special sessions are scheduled for day one of the forum, which include: “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” presented by Azeem Azhar, Leading Authority On AI & All Things Technology; “Innovation in Future Technologies” by Alaa El Shimy, Managing Director & Vice President, Enterprise Business, Huawei Technologies; "Setting the Cinema Landscape for Investors" by HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Media City (Shams).
Three workshops are scheduled to take place on the side lines of Day One of the forum, with the first titled ‘Investing in Sharjah real estate projects’ organised by Sharjah Real Estate Department and presented by Obaid Abdelrahman Al Madhlom Al Suwaidi, Director Of Real Estate Entrepreneurship, Abdalla Ibrahim Al Zarouni, Director of Real Estate Transactions Management; a special ‘Youth Circle’ as part of a 'Shurooq Youth Council' initiative held in cooperation with Sharjah Youth Council and titled ‘The Future of Youth in the Era of Digital Enterprise’; and ‘The Role of Government in Supporting Entrepreneurs’, a special workshop by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Foundation ‘Ruwad’.
Accelerating sustainable growth
The second day of the forum will begin with a panel discussion titled ‘Sharjah Government – Investing in Sharjah’, which will highlight new opportunities and potentials in the emirate and share updates on new investment direction and strategy to improve ease of doing business in Sharjah.
Speakers at the session include Sheikha Hind bint Majid AI Qassimi, Chairperson, Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), H.E. Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park; Mohammed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO, Sharjah FDI Office; Salim Omar Salim, Director of Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) Free Zone; Abdulaziz Mohammed Shattaf, Assistant Director General for Membership Services Sector, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Shihab Ahmed Al Hammadi, Authority Director, Sharjah Media City (Shams).
The second panel discussion of the day will be organised by Dubai Financial Market, under the title ‘Raising Funds to Accelerate Corporate Sustainable Growth’, with panellists discussing various capital-raising options.
Speakers will include Amit Jain, Group CEO of Emaar Properties PJSC; Fahima Abdul Razzaq Al Bastaki, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development at Dubai Financial Market; Saeed Mansoor Al Awar, Co-head in the Middle East, Rothschild & Co.; and Asar Mashkoor, Managing Director Investment Banking at Emirates NBD Capital, who will offer their perspectives on what appeals to an investor or large-scale investment fund when seeking to invest in a well-established or growing company. They will offer practical tips on what companies can do to increase their investment appeal. The session will be moderated by Andrew Tarbuck, Partner and Head of Capital Markets, Al Tamimi & Company.
Titled ‘The Future of Technology (Digital Revolution, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drones, Latest Innovations)’, the third panel discussion will seek answers to questions on the future of digital technologies and their impact on global and regional economy; how emerging technologies and latest innovation will be the gamechanger in determining who wins or loses in the new global digital order; how technology disruptions can boost Sharjah and UAE’s FDI and competitiveness; and how new technologies, solutions and inventions will open new opportunities for investors in the digital economy.
Moderated by Billy FitzHerbert, Middle East Regional Editor, Oxford Business Group, the session will host speakers, Mohamed Abdel Razek, Regional CIO of Standard Chartered Bank Africa and Middle East; Osama Al-Zoubi, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Cisco Middle East; Ghada Abdelkader, VP, CE-Invests, Crescent Petroleum; Amer Mdanat, Huawei Global Director, Smart Cities and Sibu Siddique, Vice President - Customer Success for MEA & Turkey, GE Digital.
‘The Future of Education (Re-skilling Perspective for Digital Growth)’ is the title of the fourth discussion panel on the final day. Speakers at the session will include Hind Ali Al Mualla, Board Member & Chief of Creativity, Happiness & Innovation at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority; Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education; Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO of Alef Education; Prof. Martin Spraggon, Associate Dean, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government; and Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr, Principal & Founder, Botho Emerging Markets Group.
The session topics include developing the workforce for the digital future, how to develop forward-looking strategies and plans to ensure an emergence of capacity building and skill development for the new digital future. The session will be moderated by Billy FitzHerbert, Middle East Regional Editor, Oxford Business Group.
Dr. Louis Klein, Dean, European School of Governance, is also scheduled to present his special session during day two of the forum titled “Future and Foresight Presentation: How to Approach the Future – Scenarios for Business and Society”.
On the sidelines of the final day of the forum, a roundtable held by Dubai Financial Market will focus on IPOs and opportunities in capital markets will see the participation of Saeed Mansoor Al Awar, Co-head in the Middle East, Rothschild & Co.; Mohamed Ebeid, Co-chief Executive of investment banking at EFG Hermes; Ahmed Ibrahim, Partner at Matouk Bassiouny & Ibrahim Law Firm. The second day will also feature two workshops which are: ‘The Future of FDI’ organised by WAVTEQ and presented by Dr. Henry Loewendahl, Founder and CEO of WAVTEQ; and a special interactive workshop on ‘Women in Business’.