SHARJAH SUCCESS STORY
TBY talks to Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises & President of Crescent Petroleum, on the evolution of the Emirate's economy, expansion plans, and maintaining strong corporate governance.
BIOGRAPHYBadr Jafar is the Managing Director of Crescent Group, which has been operating from the UAE as a family business group for 44 years. The group today comprises of two main companies: Crescent Petroleum, the first independent and privately owned petroleum company in the Middle East, and Crescent Enterprises, the group’s conglomerate, which operates across six core sectors. Jafar is active in a variety of other industries including ports and logistics, serving as Chair of the Executive Board of Gulftainer (the world’s largest private container port operator), and private equity, serving as a member of the boards of The Abraaj Group (UAE) and GrowthGate Capital (Bahrain).
Which of the sectors that Crescent Enterprise is involved in show good potential?
Crescent Enterprises has seen significant growth across many of our core businesses. Gulftainer, our Sharjah-headquartered ports and logistics subsidiary, is a good example of this, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 18% from 2012 to 2015, compared to the global throughput growth level of 3% during the same period. As the only Middle Eastern port operator with a strategic presence in the Americas, Gulftainer is set to expand into new markets with plans to triple its volume over the next 10 years across five continents.
How do you see Crescent Enterprises and its subsidiary companies adapting to the evolution of the region's less oil-dependent future?
Our focus on long-term, strategic development and value creation, aligned with an entrepreneurial spirit, enables us to stay ahead of the curve and retain our competitive edge. Diversification, which is now more than ever a priority for the region, is in fact at the core of what we do at Crescent Enterprises. We already have interests in a diverse range of sectors, from ports and logistics to private equity investments, as well as business aviation, power, engineering, and healthcare. As the region's economies diversify even further, we see more opportunities in the trade, power, healthcare, and general infrastructure sectors that will enable us to broaden our activities and continue to grow sustainable, scalable, and profitable businesses across a range of synergistic sectors.
Where will the conglomerate expand next?
We see many opportunities for value creation, not only in our core business sectors, but also in industries that are well positioned for disruptive growth, such as FMCG, F&B, renewables, and technology. We are also bullish about markets in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and have already made a strategic investment to enter Africa's burgeoning e-commerce market. In addition, we are building new businesses through CE-Ventures, our business incubation division.
Crescent Enterprises champions the need for strong corporate governance in the region. What are your highlights in this regard?
We champion an inclusive mindset where businesses can “do well by doing good" and we have taken a leadership role to address, not only the critical challenges our communities face, but also in support of broader sustainable development. To maximize our impact we have formed strategic partnerships with organizations that share our values and principles. An example of this is working with the Pearl Initiative, established in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact, which promotes a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness across the GCC. In addition, we have partnered with many global institutions as part of our efforts to bring about effective change in the way we do business in across the Middle East. These include the World Economic Forum's 'Partnering Against Corruption' Initiative, the UN Global Compact, Ashoka, and the UN's Women Empowerment Initiative.
How would you assess doing business in the region and what are your expectations for Sharjah's economic growth over the next few years?
The UAE tops the MENA region in the World Bank's ranking of ease of doing business. Its diversified economy, openness to private sector engagement and collaboration, enabling infrastructure, and strong regulatory environment are reasons for its success as a business destination. In common with the other Emirates, Sharjah has benefited from the UAE leadership's focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and good governance as key drivers of economic growth. Specific initiatives led by the Sharjah Investment Authority (Shurooq), and the new entrepreneurship center at the American University of Sharjah (Sheraa), complement the efforts of the private sector to raise Sharjah's standing as a business hub. What is also highly commendable is Sharjah's commitment to supporting local culture, talent, and the environment. Crescent Enterprises is proud to be part of the Sharjah success story, and I am confident the Emirate's economy will continue to develop strongly in the coming years.
SHARJAH SUCCESS STORY
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been an inspiring leader of the Emirate since 1972, carefully watching over its development into the cultural capital of the Islamic world.read article
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article