Event Details

For three of the past four years, the main business risk facing companies operating in the Middle East has been "cash flow, liquidity and slow payments", according to CEOs.

The EICN's annual Business Outlook Survey is conducted in eight locations around the world and asks business leaders to name their top business risks - the things that keep them awake at night. And nowhere other than the Middle East does slow payments rank even in the top five.

Collections teams are clearly busier and more challenged here than in any other geography. So what is the peculiarly Middle Eastern problem with paying and getting paid?

Is it a cultural phenomenon - an inshallah thing whereby custom and practice tolerates 30-day invoices going unpaid for six months or more?

Is it a legal and regulatory failure, with regional governments themselves not adhering to contractual payment terms and causing knock-on effects and copycat behaviours down the supply chain?

Or are minor disputes being over-used as an excuse to delay payments?

Join us, and a team of banking, finance and legal experts, including Naief Yahia, Partner and Head of Litigation at Al Tamimi & Co to explore this frustrating topic, the causes and effects of slow payments, and potential solutions (or at least mitigations). We will also look more broadly at dispute resolution and the role of arbitration, mediation, and litigation in resolving payment disputes.

12 noon: Arrival, registration, lunch and networking

12.45pm: Roundtable discussion: Slow Payments and Dispute Resolution

2pm: Close and networking

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 Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Naief Yahia (Partner, Head of Litigation at Al Tamimi & Company)

    Naief Yahia

    Partner, Head of Litigation at Al Tamimi & Company

    Naief Yahia joined Al Tamimi & Company in 2009 and has been practising law for over 17 years. He is a Partner and Head of Litigation at Al Tamimi's office. He has experience in various areas of practice, including construction and commercial, banking, property, and corporate-related matters.

    In his role, he has acted for and advised major construction players in the region on highly complex construction disputes before local courts and arbitral tribunals. He has also represented major manufacturers/principals in different industries in commercial agency disputes involving international brands.

    Additionally, Naief leads Al Tamimi's banking litigation practice and regularly advises many local and international banks on all types of banking disputes in the region.

    Naief has been ranked in the Legal 500 as a “Leading Individual” in the Dispute Resolution practice and has also been ranked in Chambers Global in Litigation practice.

    Naief has also been recognised by Asian Legal Business as one of the MENA Super 50 Lawyers for 2021.

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  • Fazeela Gopalani (Head of ACCA Eurasia and Middle East at ACCA Middle East)

    Fazeela Gopalani

    Head of ACCA Eurasia and Middle East at ACCA Middle East

    As Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the Eurasia and Middle East, Fazeela is responsible for leading the operations in 22 countries and representing more than 35,000 students, affiliates, and members across the region, who work in all sectors and all levels of business across the Middle East and Eurasia. She is committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and believes passionately in the benefits that it brings to society and individuals.

    Fazeela is an FCCA member and has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and finance. A resident of the United Arab Emirates for more than 15 years, Gopalani has contributed her expertise to several of the country’s key government agendas in her capacity as a leader, supporting the advancement of accountancy professionals in the region. She is behind several ground-breaking industry initiatives, including Women in Finance, which seeks to empower more women into accountancy at every stage of their career.

    Her recent accolades include being named one of the 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen in 2023 & 2024 by Forbes Middle East, Arabian Business’ 50 Inspiring Women Leaders 2024, Inspirational Woman Leader 2023 Award by Tahawultech.com, Top 35 Women of Influence in the Arab World 2021 by CEO Middle East magazine, and winning Asia One’s Women Empowerment Award 20/21.

    Fazeela holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde. She was previously Head of Education for ACCA in the Middle East and Senior Manager at PwC in Dubai. Prior to moving to the UAE, Fazeela owned and ran an accounting practice in the UK.

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  • Sherif Maher (Partner at Clyde  Co LLP)

    Sherif Maher

    Partner at Clyde Co LLP

    Sherif advises both local and international clients on commercial contentious matters across the MENA region. He leads a team of litigation specialists and operates a heavy weight contentious practice with extensive regional reach.

    Sherif has extensive experience in complex, high value local and international disputes and his practice primarily focuses on resolving Middle East disputes arising out of commercial agreements including debt recovery, real estate, lease, construction, commercial agency, franchising, oil & gas, shareholder, joint venture, hospitality and international trade and commodities disputes.

    He further advises multinational corporations and government-owned entities in international commercial arbitrations under a variety of rules including those of the CRCICA, DIAC and ICC with a focus on arbitrations involving interests in the Middle East. He has a strong expertise on regional laws and procedures.

    Sherif lived in Paris, London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Cairo. He is fluent in English, Arabic and French.

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  • Robert Willock (Global Editorial Director of EICN)

    Robert Willock

    Global Editorial Director of EICN

    Robert is a trusted advisor to C-suite executives of multinational and large regional companies operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond. He helps to inform business leaders’ strategies through political, economic and operational analysis and to connect them with their peers.

    He is also the Global Editorial Director of the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network and leads its teams and programmes in Johannesburg, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, China, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

    Robert is a business commentator, editor and publisher with three decades of experience in Europe and the Middle East covering a wide variety of sectors, including construction, energy, healthcare, hospitality, retail and transport.

    He is an accomplished event chairman, moderator and speaker, and is regularly invited by blue-chip organisations to address senior audiences at large conferences or more intimate roundtables with macroeconomic and geopolitical insights from Economist Intelligence and his regional network.

    Robert completed an MBA at the University of Leicester School of Business in 2012.

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