Event Details

Economist Corporate Network MENA Annual Conference will be taking place on the morning of Sunday, 17th October at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sponsored by the University of Manchester Middle East Centre, the ECN Annual Conference will be a 100% in person event, and every attendee will receive a day-pass ticket to Expo 2020 Dubai.

The keynote presentation will be delivered by a director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, and will explore our global and regional forecasts for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. Other speakers and panelists will be confirmed in due course.

ECN members are invited to save the date and pre-register ASAP for this special event, which - because of capacity restrictions - will be limited to two attendees per organisation.

All attendees either have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and can present a vaccination certificate on entry to the event, or will present a negative COVID-19 test obtained not more than 72 hours prior to the event. *

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Arrive, breakfast and networking
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Welcome, introduction and Regional Strategic Forecast
10:15 AM - 11 AM
Panel discussion on business innovation
11 AM - 11:30 AM
Coffee break and networking
11:30 AM - 12 PM
Keynote interview and Q&A
12 PM - 12:45 PM
Panel discussion on competitiveness
12:45 PM - 1 PM
Close, lunch and networking


  • Robert Willock (Director, MENA of The Economist Corporate Network)

    Robert Willock

    Director, MENA of The Economist Corporate Network

    Robert is the Director of the Economist Corporate Network based in Dubai and covering the MENA region. Robert works closely with network members to help inform their business strategies through political, economic and operational insight and to connect them with their senior leadership peers.
    Robert is a business journalist, editor and publisher with nearly 25 years of experience covering a wide variety of sectors, including hospitality, retail, construction, energy and transport, and a particular interest in human capital management.
    He is an accomplished event chairman, moderator and speaker.
    Robert completed an MBA at the University of Leicester School of Business in 2012 and holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Nottingham.

    view more
  • HE Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri (Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy at Government of the UAE)

    HE Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri

    Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy at Government of the UAE

    HE Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri was appointed Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the new government structure approved in July 2020. Prior to his appointment, H.E. Al Marri held important positions in the government as a senior, top-ranking official. He was the Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet since 2017, during which he was instrumental in strengthening the interdependence between the federal and local governments. In this role, he also spearheaded many initiatives to get the pulse of the people and know their sentiments, as well as build the UAE’s long-lasting relations with international organizations such as the World Economic Forum. H.E. is also the former Director General of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was part of the high-profile team that was behind the launch of ‘Area 2071,’ the nucleus of the future envisioned in the UAE Centennial Plan 2071. Furthermore, the UAE Minister of Economy, in his previous post, took part in the unveiling of the Hatta Economic Zone development project and the relaunching of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development. In addition, he was the CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, enabling him to play a vital role in the successful launch of Dubai 10X and other initiatives of national importance. The Dubai 10X initiative, in particular, aims to strengthen the emirate’s bid to become the city of the future. H.E. Al Marri is a member of the Boards of Directors of different federal entities. His memberships allow him to actively support the development of priority sectors in the country such as the Golden Visa initiative, which seeks to attract talented individuals from across the world.
    The UAE Minister of Economy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Sheffield in the UK. Also, he is a graduate of the UAE Government Leaders Program and Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development.

    view more
  • HE Omar Sultan Al Olama (Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications at Government of the United Arab Emirates)

    HE Omar Sultan Al Olama

    Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications at Government of the United Arab Emirates

    His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama has been appointed as Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in October 2017, and then was appointed as Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications in July 2020. His responsibilities include enhancing the government performance levels by investing in the latest technologies and tools of artificial intelligence and applying them in various sectors. His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama is Spearheading UAE efforts to be positioned as a global leader in Digital economy, With the focus to enhance UAEs digital economy contribution to the GDP. His Excellency is also focused on strengthening the UAE’s position as a global reference in remote work applications. His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama is currently the Managing Director of the World Government Summit. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation and Deputy Managing Director of the Foundation. He is also Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital economy. In November 2017, the UAE government announced selecting HE. Omar Al Olama as a member of the Future of Digital Economy and Society Council at the World Economic Forum. During his work in the Future Department at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, His Excellency participated in developing the UAE Centennial 2071 strategy that aims to position the UAE as the best country in the world. He also participated in developing the UAE 4th Industrial Revolution Strategy that aims to promote the UAE’s status as a global hub for the 4th Industrial Revolution and develop a national economy based on knowledge, innovation and future technologies. Prior to his appointment, His Excellency worked on developing the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy, making it the first such strategy of its kind globally. His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama worked in several sectors including the banking sector, telecommunications, private enterprises and government. H.E. also worked on developing and executing strategies, risk analysis, change management and scenario planning.

    view more
  • HE Hanan Mansour Ahli (Acting Director of Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre)

    HE Hanan Mansour Ahli

    Acting Director of Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre

    Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre Hanan Ahli is currently the Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), a government entity affiliated with the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Centre works on developing and enhancing the UAE’s performance in the sectors of global competitiveness, statistics and data through coordination with partners to implement initiatives and define policies of importance to vital sectors across the UAE. The Centre is considered as one of the most important government sources for national data, and for monitoring the competitive performance of the UAE in global reports, and hold the responsibility for the SDGs in the UAE. In her capacity as the Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, Hanan looks after a range of policies outlined in the UAE’s National Agenda, with a particular focus on supporting gender balance, promoting favorable business regulations, and strengthening the performance on UAE’s public sector. Prior to this designation, Hanan held the position of the Executive Director of the Competitiveness Sector at the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) (name amended to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre in 2020), a UAE federal entity created by a Presidential decree in 2015. During her tenure as Executive Director, Hanan focused on supporting the competitiveness of the United Arab Emirates, by enhancing the performance of major economic, commercial and social sectors in the country, through launching initiatives and strategies that aimed at improving the performance of country’s institutions in global competitiveness indexes and reports. Hanan Ahli has extensive experience in business administration, policy-making and financing programs. Prior to joining the government sector, Hanan worked for Mawarid Finance, PJSC, and leading finance operations with the focus on Islamic finance. Hanan holds an MBA from the American University of Sharjah (UAE) and a Bachelor degree in Business Sciences from Zayed University (UAE). She is a graduate of the UAE Government Leadership Program, in the Future Leadership category and Policies Diploma, and has credentials from the London Business School, Institute of Management Development (IMD), and Harvard Kennedy School.

    view more
  • Mishal Kanoo (Chairman, UAE and Oman at The Kanoo Group)

    Mishal Kanoo

    Chairman, UAE and Oman at The Kanoo Group

    Mr. Mishal Kanoo is one of the most iconic business figures in the Middle East and has a reputation as a futurist and strategist with a strong track record in forecasting economic developments in the region. Mr. Kanoo currently serves as the Chairman of The Kanoo Group, one of the largest, longest running and independent family-owned groups of companies in the Gulf region. Furthermore, he is a professional and motivational speaker, writes articles for local and regional media, is published in business journals on a regular basis, and holds chief positions as Chairman/Director of various reputable companies, including AXA Insurance Gulf, Gulf Capital, KHK & Partners Limited, Dalma Capital, Johnson Arabia LLC and KAAF Investments. Mishal Kanoo tries to help people reach their professional dreams. The excitement of helping others achieve their goals, both big or small, is what drives him. Playing a role in bettering people's lives is a great instigator for doing what he does. Kanoo has been investing on a personal and company level since 1991.

    view more
  • Arif Amiri (Chief Executive Officer at DIFC)

    Arif Amiri

    Chief Executive Officer at DIFC

    In his capacity as Chief Executive Officer, Arif Amiri oversees the strategic and operational functions of the Centre. Under his leadership, DIFC has grown substantially and set out an ambitious 2024 Strategy, which will see it further enhance its position as the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Mr. Amiri’s vision for DIFC reflects the UAE’s commitment to innovation and economic diversification. As part of this vision, DIFC is further developing its FinTech proposition and leading a number of initiatives to move the innovation agenda towards a broader conversation about the future of finance. Before joining DIFC Authority, Mr. Amiri held a number of positions at Emaar Properties PJSC, one of the UAE’s most respected companies. As Chief Commercial Officer, he drove the all-round commercial operations of the company and grew their portfolio significantly throughout his tenure. Previously, Mr. Amiri was Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Retail, where he provided strategic and tactical leadership for the retail and entertainment operations of Emaar across Dubai and other key emerging markets. Mr. Amiri’s career began with an eight-year term at HSBC Bank Middle East, where he was responsible for the implementation of a number of corporate and institutional banking initiatives. During this time, he established an in-depth understanding of the financial services sector, which continues to serve as a solid foundation for his role today. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Amiri was the Chairman of the Middle East Investor Relations Society. Underlining his significant contribution to the region’s retail sector, Mr. Amiri received the Honorary Award at the Retail City Awards in 2011, and the Retail Leadership Award at the 2012 Asian Leadership awards. Mr. Amiri holds a Post-Graduate Executive Diploma in Organisation Behaviour and Marketing Strategy from the University of Cambridge, Dubai, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Business Administration from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

    view more
  • Abdulla Almoayed (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tarabut Gateway)

    Abdulla Almoayed

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tarabut Gateway

    Abdulla Almoayed is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Tarabut Gateway (TG) – the first and largest Open Banking platform in MENA. He is passionate about creating game-changing digital infrastructures that drive forward the data-driven economy. His vision is to create a collaborative environment for innovation that empowers a new generation and provides financial inclusion for the millions of unbanked, underbanked and underserved populations of MENA.
    Abdulla is a frequent investor in the region, providing financial support and mentorship for a range of cross-sector businesses in industries as diverse as healthcare, education, logistics, cybersecurity and FinTech. By founding Tarabut Gateway and through his commitment to development of collaborative digital technologies via angel investment, Abdulla aims to transform the financial services sector in the region.
    He holds an MBA from the London Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with Honours from the University of Westminster, London.

    view more
  • Feras Jalbout (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Baraka)

    Feras Jalbout

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Baraka

    Feras Jalbout is an investor turned entrepreneur. Most recently, Feras served in a dual capacity as an Investor at Wamda Capital – an early-stage venture fund focused on deploying capital into high growth companies across MENA and Managing Director of Aurora Partners, a single-family office based in Dubai with an unconstrained global investment mandate. His work included developing and executing global investment theses in areas of mega growth across public and private markets. In July 2020, he set out to build baraka - a commission-free investment platform for the Middle East. Since then, he has brought together, and now leads, a dynamic team geared towards growing baraka’s vibrant and transparent open investing platform that educates, enables and empowers individuals to take control of their investments. Before embarking on his latest venture, Feras executed and structured hundreds of public and private investments across a 15-year career in investment management. He has experience setting up tailored asset allocation models, multi-generational holding structures and executing investments across a wide range of asset classes including public markets, venture capital, real estate and private equity. Feras is a seasoned board member and active angel investor who has deployed his own capital in dozens of startups to date. His previous employers include Barclays & Standard Chartered where he worked in a Private Banking capacity advising ultra-high net-worth clients on investments. He is a graduate of Carleton University in Canada with certificates from Carnegie Mellon in Corporate Innovation, Singularity University in Exponential Thinking and the Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment in Securities and Derivatives.

    view more


EXPO 2020 - South 1A Hall

Expo Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

If you have any questions please contact ECN MENA

Contact Organizer

Show on map