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Over recent months, Abu Dhabi's resiliency has been tested vigourously, with the dual shock of a global health emergency and a low oil price environment the ultimate acid test for years of diversification efforts.
And Abu Dhabi found itself well prepared for both, with an ever-diversifying local economy and robust soverign wealth program allowing it to effectively soften the blow of local and global lockdown measures and low oil prices.
The strength of the local private sector, also, allowed companies to adapt quickly to remote working requirements. And now, as the world begins to inch out of lockdown and into a new normal, it will take renewed collaboration between the public and private spheres if the Emirate is to architect an even stronger future.
This digital roundtable will gather top-level representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss the local investment environment post COVID-19, as well as the strategies required to foster a truly diversified, shock-resistant economy going forward.
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A prominent economics thought leader and accomplished chief executive, Rashid Abdul Karim Al Balooshi is the Acting Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). In this capacity he oversees the top-level development and implementation of leading initiatives at the department, with the ultimate goal of elevating the global competitiveness of Abu Dhabi's business ecosystem. Harnessing his strong track record of management at the highest level in finance and economics, he is guided by his two decades of experience at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), where he was entrusted with a multitude of roles on his journey to becoming the CEO. Al Balooshi also currently serves as the vice chairman of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and is a board member of ADX and the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority. He holds a master's in business administration from UAE University, and attained a bachelor's in computer science and information systems from Benedict College in the US.
Nader Haffar has been the Chairman & CEO of KPMG in the Lower Gulf (UAE and Oman) since 2018. Prior to taking up this role, he served as head of the firm's management consultancy practice and oversaw considerable growth in that part of the business. He has a long and distinguished career with KPMG and has considerable knowledge of the Middle East markets, having also worked with the firm in Saudi Arabia. In 2019, he was recognized by Forbes Middle East as one of the Top 50 Expat CEOs in the UAE. He holds a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and a master of science in engineering management from Columbia University in New York. He also completed executive management programs from Colombia University and Harvard Business School.
Alexis Lecanuet is the Regional Managing Director for Accenture in the Middle East. Previously, he led and grew the company's products portfolio in the Middle East and Turkey region and was focused on onboarding and retaining the largest names in the retail business. Over his 22-year career with Accenture, he has commanded large, complex transformation projects across Europe, MENA, and Turkey. Lecanuet holds an MBA from ESCP Europe Business School and a degree in business finance from SKEMA Business School.
Neslihan Aydagul is the Managing Director for The Business Year in the UAE. Ms. Aydagul's experience in the research field pans to the early 2000s where she lead research projects in Qatar and Bahrain as well as opening her employer's offices in South East Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. After successful launches, she switched her focus to the GCC, and has been based in the Gulf for the past 10 years, Saudi Arabia and the UAE particularly Abu Dhabi, during which time directed the production of 12 annual investment manuals and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Gulf.