Event Details

We will present the Economist Intelligence Unit's global and regional outlook – including our latest political and economic highlights – and gather a panel of Middle East business leaders to debate their interpretations of the data, and explore the opportunities and risks they suggest.

We will also share the results of the ECN's exclusive Middle East Business Outlook Survey, which will take the pulse of regional business leaders and assess their interpretations of the opportunities and risks they perceive.

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.


  • 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.

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  • Simon Baptist (Global Chief Economist & Editorial Director of The Economist Intelligence Unit)

    Simon Baptist

    Global Chief Economist & Editorial Director of The Economist Intelligence Unit

    Simon Baptist is Editorial Director and Chief Economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit. Prior to his current role, he has held a number of other senior management and editorial positions in the business, including Managing Director for Asia, Regional Director of our Asia editorial team, Director of Global Forecasting, and Consulting Director in both Europe and Asia

    Simon’s focus is on the global economy, national and international political developments, and public policy. He engages with business, government and international organisations, helping them to understand the operational and strategic implications of the EIU’s forecasts.

    He has a doctorate in economics from and was a lecturer at Oxford University, along with degrees in economics and science from the University of Tasmania. His academic research investigated technology and the determinants of productivity in manufacturing firms.

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  • Patrick Chalhoub (CEO of Chalhoub Group)

    Patrick Chalhoub

    CEO of Chalhoub Group

    Patrick began his career in 1979 when he decided to become involved in the realisation of his father’s vision to build a bridge between the East and West and be the ambassador of luxury lifestyle in the region.
    In 1990, he created a regional distribution platform in the Jebel Ali Free zone with Fendi, L’Oréal, Dior Parfums and Puig. As the director of Christofle and of Bernardaud, Patrick Chalhoub was involved in the strategic planning for the restructuring and redeployment of these brands. From 2000 he developed the retail network of the Group from a few stores to over 600 stores with a workforce which increased from a few hundreds to over 12,000 in the region and with local implementation in 14 countries.
    For nearly 30 years, Patrick has been fully involved in the strategic development of the business to guarantee its long-term success. As such, he continues to expand the Group’s distribution, retail business, marketing and communication activities and is also eager to strengthen the Group’s support services in terms of offer and skills and is very engaged in the Group’s digital transformation.
    He has been instrumental in guiding the development of a sustainability strategy for the Group, with a focus on Education, Environmental and Humanitarian sustainability.
    Patrick recently established the local chapter of Endeavor, helping start-ups to scale-up. He is also regularly consulted by local Governments on economic development, governance and social responsibilities.

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  • Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla (Professor of Political Science at UAE University)

    Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla

    Professor of Political Science at UAE University

    Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a UAE national, is a professor of Political Science at Emirates University. He is the chairman of the cultural committee at the Dubai Cultural and Scientific Association and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Population Growth.

    He was a member of the Dubai Cultural Council, the General Coordinator of the Gulf Development Forum, director of the research center at Al Khaleej newspaper, editor of the Gulf Strategic Report, editor of the Journal of Social Affairs and the lead author of the Arab Knowledge Report 2008.

    He holds PhD in Political science from Georgetown University and MA from American University in Washington D.C. He was a Fulbright Scholar and a visiting professor at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

    Professor Abdulla is a frequent commentator in the media on current Arab and Gulf affairs. His research interests include issues of political changes in the Gulf and the Arab World, Gulf Security, contemporary issues of Arab Gulf States and international relations. Professor Abdulla is the author of several books including, Narrative of Politics and the Gulf Regional System 2006. He has published more than 40 articles, including "Sociopolitical Issues of the Arab Gulf Moment" published by the London School of Economics.

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  • Helmut von Struve (CEO of Siemens Middle East)

    Helmut von Struve

    CEO of Siemens Middle East

    Helmut von Struve has been the CEO of Siemens in the Middle East and the UAE since May 2020, after spending almost 20 years with the company in leadership roles in Germany, the UAE, Libya and Pakistan. As an engineer and business executive, he is focused on melding technologies – such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, additive manufacturing, 5G and automation – into cohesive solutions for the infrastructure and manufacturing industries that will help improve our lives and protect our planet. Von Struve has a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany.

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  • Khalid Sharaf (Director – Expo Business Programme of Expo 2020)

    Khalid Sharaf

    Director – Expo Business Programme of Expo 2020

    Since joining the global mega project in September 2014 where he assumed multiple roles, Khalid Sharaf is
    currently Director of the Expo 2020 Dubai Business Programme. Khalid is responsible for leading &
    developing business programmes and platforms which also support participating countries at Expo 2020
    Dubai in their business plans; this includes but not limited to a Business Matchmaking service, sector
    specific forums, and facilitating partnerships. Khalid is also responsible for B2B outreach to communicate
    the business value proposition of Expo 2020 Dubai to the global business community.

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