Forbes has revealed the region’s most powerful female executives.
The total net worth of the 50 richest Arab businesswomen – working in sectors including banking, investments and industry – has reached the record-breaking sum of nearly $500 million.
Forbes Middle East yesterday unveiled for the first time a list of the ‘Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen in Listed Companies’ and ‘The Top 50 Richest Arab Businesswomen in Listed Companies’ – with figures revealing those on the latter are worth an $498.2 million.
UAE females in the richest 50 accounted for $117.6 million of that sum – the highest of any Arab nation – with Maryam Khalfan Al Naeemi, who owns 22 per cent of the Commercial Bank International, worth $69.1 million, taking second spot in the individual stakes.
“We are witnessing a time when women are solidifying their positions themselves substantially and becoming more successful with record-breaking momentum,” said
Forbes Middle East’s editor-in-chief, Khuloud Al Omian.
Having worked in the UAE since 2008, Brit wealth manager Caroline Dredge, from finance firm Globaleye in Abu Dhabi, described the $498.2 million figure as “astounding”.
“It’s numbers most women can’t even think of,” she said. “I’m always surprised when you go into big companies and see the amount of women in big positions in the Arab world – I think there are even more women than (companies in) the West.
“Women seem to move into senior positions more quickly here – and that defeats the supposed stereotype that ‘you’re not allowed to’, that women ‘don’t do those kinds of things’.”
Taking top spot as the ‘most powerful Arab businesswoman’ was Kuwait’s Shaikha Al Bahar, CEO of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, whose bank has flourished under her leadership – amassing $1 billion in profits and $2.3 billion in revenues. Meanwhile, in terms of industry, banking took top sector spot in the top 100 Arab powerful women list – with some 29 females working in that sector.
Fatima Al Jaber, board member of Al Khazna Insurance and a major influence in the Al Jaber conglomerate, was the highest ranked UAE national in the most powerful list – coming in fifth.
The richest Arab woman according to Forbes was Sheikha Amna bint Mohammed Al Thani, who owns 10 per cent – $86.9 million – of the Mannai Corporation in Qatar.