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Friday, November 27, 2020

Effective corporate governance is key to enhancing an environment of trust, transparency and accountability in businesses throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Much progress has been made over the past few years to align corporate governance policies with international standards to attract long-term investment.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates unveiled new corporate governance guidelines for companies regulated by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), which addresses sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and board evaluation, as well as calling for gender diversity on boards. The new guidelines build on, rather than completely overhaul, corporate governance rules published in 2016. Companies in the UAE have been given until the end of 2020 to implement the new regulations.

Meanwhile, reform in Saudi Arabia is opening the door for female role models and leaders of the future. Earlier this year, a World Bank report highlighted Saudi Arabia’s rapid progress towards gender equality since 2017 by ranking it the top reformer and the top improver among 190 countries. The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), a financial wing of the Saudi Arabian government, has also announced it has made achieving gender parity and the promotion of women to senior positions a top priority. In less than three years, SIDF has increased the percentage of its female employees from zero to 15 percent of the total workforce; now employing 159 female employees, who hold positions ranging from junior officers to top management and across all departments.

In Nigeria, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) used a stakeholders interactive forum in October to outline its commitment to ‘being the conscience of regulatory assurance in financial reporting and corporate governance’. The FRC called for improved adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and National Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG 2018), which were issued in 2019, for financial institutions in the country.

Kenya has also bolstered its corporate governance efforts in 2020, following guidance from the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority that allowed listed firms to purchase their own shares. These share buybacks, which can help encourage stock market activity, boosted the country’s score in the latest Absa Africa Financial Markets Index. The October Absa index, which creates a means for cross-country comparisons, saw Kenya climb two places after scoring better in corporate governance structure.

Ethical Boardroom is proud to announce the winners of “Best Corporate Governance” in their respective industry sectors across the Middle East for 2020. The awards recognise the outstanding leadership from boards who have raised the bar to ensure that strong corporate governance plays an essential part in protecting and enhancing long-term value for all stakeholders. Our awards program is a vital part of our continuing mission to elevate corporate governance standards globally.

For those companies and individuals who have made it to the top of the mountain for 2020, we salute you for leading the way

MIDDLE EAST COMPANY AWARD WINNERS

Best Corporate Governance Financial Services Arab Bank Plc
Best Corporate Governance Telecoms Zain Group
Best Corporate Governance Industrial Services Aluminium Bahrain (Alba)
Best Corporate Governance Food & Beverage Agthia Group
Best Corporate Governance Transport & Logistics Aramex
Best Corporate Governance Mining Saudi Arabian Mining Co (MA’ADEN)
Best Corporate Governance Construction Arabtec Holdings

 

AFRICA COMPANY AWARD WINNERS

Best Corporate Governance Telecoms Safaricom Plc
Best Corporate Governance Construction Materials Lafarge Africa Plc
Best Corporate Governance Financial Services Zenith Bank Plc
Best Corporate Governance Insurance Sanlam
Best Corporate Governance Oil & Gas Seplat Petroleum Development
Best Corporate Governance Construction Orascom Construction