UAE, Dubai 2015 | ECONOMY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, CEO of Hawkamah, on corporate governance.

Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din

How would you describe the history of Hawkamah and what milestones it has achieved since its inception in Dubai?

Hawkamah was established in 2007 as the center for corporate governance for the UAE, and eventually for the MENA Region. The key concept behind Hawkamah was to bridge the gap between countries in this region, and advanced or developed countries, in terms of corporate governance, transparency, and disclosure. Therefore, it was really a policy initiative that we should have this sort of institute to improve corporate governance practices. Over the past few years, Hawkamah has trained over 2,000 people in this part of the world.

How do you see Hawkamah playing a role in the reformation or advisory of family-owned companies in the GCC?

This part of the world is unique in terms of ownership structures of companies. Here families own the majority of companies, and the government owns the majority of the remainder. Hence, you really see a structure where there is a concentration of ownership, whether within families, or by families and the government. What we have been telling people for the past few years is simply that corporate governance is not only about large companies, it is not about listed companies and banks, it is about how to make sure that your business is sustainable in the long run. When we operate in different countries in the region, we find that many problems exist in family-owned companies.