Oman Business Forum is a community of public and private sector leaders that aims to promote innovative and competitive thinking of the Omani business community through exchanging ideas and experiences and launching of initiatives that will positively impact the Sultanate’s competitiveness and citizens' welfare.
The Oman Business Forum will enhance networking and cooperation among its members from the public and private sectors through the provision of various specialized services that stimulate the Omani business community and provide a platform for knowledge sharing and showcasing national and international best practices. The Forum aims to learn about its members views about various aspects related to business environment and share that knowledge with relevant government agencies to support the work of the Omani government. The Forum will also collaborate with regional and international institutions in order to facilitate opening up new horizons for the business community and provide promising opportunities which the Sultanate can benefit from.
The Forum will capitalize on the momentum generated by the PPP Task Force and the national programmes sponsored by the Diwan of the Royal Court to serve as a dialogue platform through which more cooperation and coordination among the OBF members from the public and the private sector can be achieved. OBF does not take an executive role but rather acts as an ideation forum to support the executive roles of government entities.
The Forum seeks the opportunities of the future and the latest development trends. The Forum’s work will be mainly based on collaboration between the public and private sectors to support the various efforts made to achieve sustainable development in the Sultanate.
OBF will maintain, manage and support a member-driven agenda that is not only in-line with the national agenda but broadens it to ensure it encompasses and benefits from regional and global cutting edge insights at the highest levels. The momentum generated with each successive OBF event that will rely, as a rule, on a whole-of-government approach to tackling challenges in partnership with the private sector, will achieve faster and more sustainable growth across sectors.
A critical element of the Forum’s success are its members who are comprised of:
- Their Excellences the Ministers and members of the PPP Task Force
- Privet sector representatives of the PPP Task Force
- Graduates of the National Leadership Programs (The National CEO Program, The National Leadership and Competitiveness Program and the forthcoming national programs)
- Select fellows to be chosen by the OBF Management Team for their ability to enhance the objectives the OBF.
H.E Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court
H.E. Dr. Ali bin Qassim Jawad
Advisor for Studies and Research at the Diwan of Royal Court
Chairman of Oman Business Forum
Keynote: Thomas Frey
Futurist; Executive Director, DaVinci Institute (USA)
"A look at the most interesting business-focused predictions and insights that will shape the next 50 years"
Keynote: Simon Baptist
Global Chief Economist, The Economist Intelligence Unit (Singapore)
"Setting the Context: Snapshot of Business Today in Oman"
Moderator: Yarub Abdullah AL Yarubi
AL Yarubi Policy Advisor (Oman) "A look at the most interesting business-focused predictions and insights that will shape the next 50 years"
Former Head of the Global Risk Network, World Economic Forum; Managing Partner, Monthly Barometer (Switzerland)
"The Birthplace of 4th Industrial Revolution: Insights and Lessons from the World Economic Forum and Impacts on Business Leaders"
Program Lead (Construction 3D Printing), Centre for Additive Manufacturing (AM.NUS), National
University of Singapore (Singapore)
Managing Director, Petroleum Development Oman (Oman)
Co-Founder, Programme Director, e-Governance Academy (Estonia)
Lee Wei Seng Frankie
Deputy Director, NTUitive Innovation Center (Singapore)
Moderator: Yousuf Ali AL Harthy
CEO, Oman Technology Fund (Oman)
Keynote Alain Bejjani
CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Holding (UAE) "
Majid Al Futtaim: A Longstanding Commitment to Sustainable Growth in Oman"
Founder, Fetchr (UAE)
Khamis Mubarak AL Kiyumi
Chairman, AL Madina RE (Oman)
AbdulMalik Abdulkarim AL Balushi
CEO, Oman Post (Oman)
Senior Fellow, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth (USA)
Moderator: Mohammed Sadek Sulaiman
General Manager of Corporate Planning, Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company, Orpic (Oman)
CEO, Sebacic Oman (Oman)
CEO, Port of Duqm (Oman)
CEO, Oman Wanfang (Oman)
Vice President & Head Business Development, Adani Power Business (India)
Hilal Ali AL Kharusi
Executive Managing Director, Oman Oil Duqm Development Company (Oman)
Moderator: Hanaa Mohammed AL Kharusi
Deputy General Manager, Corporate Banking Division, Ahlibank (Oman)
H.E. Dr. Ali bin Qassim Jawad
Advisor for Studies and Research at the Diwan of Royal Court
Chairman of Oman Business Forum
The world is facing a period of vast, rapid transformation that will deeply affect both society and the economy everywhere, including our region. It will bring big challenges, but also great opportunities. The changes will be so far-reaching and varied that neither the government nor the private sector will be able to master them on its own. This makes it imperative to strengthen the public-private partnership to ensure that all hands are joined and all resources pooled. We need not only to ensure operational excellence, but also to integrate plans and visions to enhance our competitiveness and promote innovation.
To make the best of the new opportunities and build on the achievements made, we cannot stress enough the importance of the public and the private sectors joining forces. The Sultanate has already made great strides in its march towards development, and the Oman Business Forum aims for an even brighter future. It will leave no stone unturned to benefit from global developments, best practices and success stories, and will promote constructive dialogue between public and private sector representatives to support Oman’s development efforts.
We will work at Oman Business Forum to provide a successful model of public-private partnership that translates the royal vision of His Majesty into reality and realises the aspirations of both sectors.
Keynote, Introductory Panel
The framework for the discussion was set by futurist and founder of the DaVinci Institute, Thomas Frey, who laid out business-focused predictions and insights regarding the technologies and trends that will shape the next 50 years .
“People tend to think that the present creates the future”, said Thomas Frey in his opening remarks. “Actually it is the other way round: Our notion of the future determines our actions today. If we change people’s visions of the future, we change the way they make decisions today.” So, instead of allowing the fear of the uncertain drive our decisions, we should base them on a clear understanding of future trends.
Mr Frey gave an overview how the upcoming trends and technologies will affect existing industries and help to create new ones.
The disruptive power of the 4IR has been so far most evident on the industry level. But it is the impact on the labour market that will cause the most disruption: 47 % of today’s jobs will disappear by 2030 due to automation and artificial intelligence (AI). But, according to Mr Frey, the 4IR is not automating jobs out of existence, only tasks. Robots will not ‘take over’ the world, but help to increase efficiency across the board by complementing humans. We ourselves will determine the nature of the interaction between humans and machines.
But that still leaves the question of where future jobs will come from. According to Mr Frey, eight disruptive technologies will create the jobs of tomorrow. The Trillion Sensor Movement, for instance, will need sensor installers, sensor data marketplaces, sensor design studios and specialised repair shops. The Internet of Things ( IoT) will require smart building installers, smart clothing developers, wearable health monitors and proximity alert systems. Cryptocurrencies, and their underlying technology blockchain, will call for specialists to devise applications which, eventually, as IMF chief Christine Lagarde puts it, “could displace central banks, conventional banking, and challenge the monopoly of national monies.” Flying Drones, in turn, will require pilots and academies to train them, while driverless technologies will call for new kinds of insurance— and lots of lawyers. 3D printing will need designers and clever computing. Mixed reality (virtual and augmented reality) will employ content creators and experience architects. And, finally, artificial intelligence will change everything and will demand a wide range of specialists.
Keynote, Introductory Panel
The technological outlook depicted by Thomas Frey was followed by a snapshot of the national, regional and global macroeconomic context, presented by Simon Baptist, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Chief Economist.
The global economy starts 2018 in a sweet spot: global economic growth is expected to stay at 3% for 2018, with all the big economies–Europe, Japan, China and the US–in good shape and much dynamism in many emerging markets, in particular India, Iran and Africa. Oman, in Mr Baptist’s view, is well positioned to benefit from this momentum.
A 3.2 billion people market sits at Oman’s doorstep, and its prospects are highly promising. China, for example, has expanded its outward foreign direct investment (FDI) aggressively in the past few years, growing at 50- 60% annually within the last 3 years under its “Go Global” initiative. Oman’s strategic location places squarely on one of the key nodes of China’s Belt and Road initiative, a topic examined in depth by the Forum’s third panel. India, in turn, has already overtaken China in terms of economic growth, clocking 7.6% in 2017 and slated to continue at this pace for the next 20-30 years as it brings large segments of its huge population out of poverty. India is on track to become the third-largest economy globally by 2030, after USA and China. Given the geographic proximity, the huge market and the historically close ties between Oman and India, there is an tremendous potential in deepening Omani-Indian trade and investment.
Oman’s own economic outlook has also improved, with growth for 2018 now expected to hit 2.5%, from 2.1% the year before. Oman remains a low-risk destination for FDI, thanks to its remarkable stability and improvements in the hydrocarbons sector. The challenge is now to remain focused on the economic diversification drive, in order to provide a more sustainable foundation for the Omani economy.
According to Mr Baptist, the three most critical ingredients for future economic growth in Oman are openness, infrastructure and skills development. Openness–to new ideas, people, capital, trade, and opportunities–is crucial for a small economy. Infrastructure goes beyond physical infrastructure such as telecommunications, roads, ports, electrical grid and health and educational institutions; it also includes the regulatory infrastructure, a key element to ensure an optimal business environment. But the most important factor is skills and education. Developing the right skills takes on particular relevance in light of the labour market disruptions that the 4IR is expected to bring about and the demographic dynamics in Oman.
The first panel delved into the 4th Industrial Revolution and the opportunities and challenges it will bring about to both Oman’s government and its private sector.
The World Economic Forum describes the 4th Industrial Revolution “… a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.”
The 4th Industrial Revolution will disrupt every single industry, but the impact will be particularly strong on supply chains and consumer engagement. As keynote speaker Thierry Malleret pointed out, reskilling and lifelong learning will be key, since automation and artificial intelligence will eliminate more jobs far more quickly than most people realize: it is estimated that over 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030.
Not only industries will face disruption but also governments, who will play a pivotal role in the forthcoming transition. Governments need to design and implement a suitable framework to welcome change and allow business and society to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution and profit from it. That includes regulation, education and research, social policy, and redefining the relationship with the private sector, to name but a few aspects. Estonia and Singapore are two positive examples of states that have very successfully mastered the challenges of 4th Industrial Revolution.
The times when what you learned at university would see you through all the way to retirement are over. The pace of technological innovation that is the hallmark of the 4th Industrial Revolution is so fast that now the main skill required to cope with the times is agility. Agility is not only required of the workforce, but of governments as well, in what is being called “agile governance.” In fact, governments may be better served by stepping aside and adopting what could be labelled “enhanced best practices” instead of strict regulatory frameworks, which are slower to enact and prove more cumbersome to innovation. Regulators have in their hands, more than ever, the power to either try to keep the new technologies at bay and thus stifle innovation, or embrace the change and foster it.
The national, regional and global macroeconomic setting is currently favourable for business. Oman, as an emerging, resource-rich economy with an enviable geopolitical standing, political stability, and excellent infrastructure, offers plenty of business opportunities for Omani companies and for foreign investors alike in tourism, fisheries, infrastructure and energy, to name but a few areas. How should Oman position itself in order to profit from the positive macroeconomic climate?
To make the most out of the opportunities, as the panellists pointed out, Oman can do more to improve its ease of doing business. Currently ranked 71st out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report, Oman, while steadily getting better, still has room for improvement. A change in mindset is needed to achieve more trust and more direct communication between the public and the private sectors, and to foster a mutually beneficial relationship to boost diversification and economic growth. This is, in fact, what the Oman Business Forum is all about.
The economic diversification plan that Sultanate is pursuing is a key element for achieving sustainable economic growth. What is missing, however, is one single entity overseeing, and accountable for, each individual value chain, an institution all the relevant stakeholders cooperate with and report to. To deliver on the diversification goals, thinking and implementation can no longer be confined to silos, but must be practiced instead in terms of value chains.
The role of the government and of the private sector took centre stage in the panel discussion. Both the challenges and the opportunities brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution cannot be tackled by the either the government or the private sector on its own. This makes it key for them to join forces in a wide-ranging partnership, be it in infrastructure, health, education, security and most other activities, in order to better manage the changes and reap the benefits of the ongoing technological revolution.
But having said that, the classic economic notion remains valid, namely that the public sector should only engage in activities that the private sector is not capable of performing, leaving all the rest to the private initiative. This is a far more efficient way for dealing with the market and for spurring innovation.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and Public Private Collaborations (PPC) are no longer just an option, but a necessity given the magnitude and complexity of the tasks at hand. PPP and PPC projects play a significant role in the Omani national development plan, since around 80% of projects in the current plan are supposed to involve this kind of projects. But, as Yasar Jarrar rightly pointed out, the nature of PPP projects itself is changing as the 4IR takes hold: private companies are accumulating so much data and analytics capabilities that they are becoming interesting cooperation partners for governments, far beyond that of providers of capital or traditional services. These new models call for preparation, anticipation and new thinking by both governments and private entities. A new world of possibilities is opening up.
The third panel looked at the potential impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) beyond its geographic routes, and on scouting out comparative advantages and undetected opportunities for Omani businesses and ways to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to Oman. A particular focus was laid on the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
In 2013 China’s president, Xi Jinping, proposed establishing a modern equivalent of the ancient Silk Road, creating a network of railways, roads, pipelines and utility grids that would link China, Central Asia, West Asia, and parts of South Asia with Western Europe. The BRI is the most significant infrastructure initiative worldwide in the post-war period. It is set to invest USD 5 trillion in infrastructure projects along the planned land and maritime routes. Funds have been set up to finance these huge investments: In 2014, China established the USD40-billion Silk Road Fund and set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2016, a multilateral institution headquartered in Beijing. The AIIB has now 84 members from around the world, including Oman, which joined in June 2017.
The Duqm SEZ’s geographical location on the Arabian Gulf, free of the constraints imposed by the Strait of Hormuz, holds great potential within the BRI context, given its strategic location between its overland and maritime segments. With an area three times larger than Singapore and 70 km of coastline, Duqm is the largest economic zone in the region and offers foreign investors an ideal gateway to it. The panel members highlighted, as the main factors for coming to Duqm, Oman’s political and economic stability, natural resources, and excellent infrastructure, as well as cultural factors such as openness and tolerance, constructive international relationships and a suitable business environment.
As a relatively new project, Duqm SEZ is in the enviable position of having no legacy and thus being able to invent itself from scratch, adopting the right technological and regulatory approaches instead of having to retrofit legacy systems, thanks to having its own authority to pass regulations faster and more flexibly. According to Duqm Port’s CEO, Reggy Vermeulen, Duqm can and should become a testing field for new technologies, approaches and regulations, that can be later applied nationwide.
To chart a course towards the future, you must ask yourselves “What is unique to Oman? What can you do here that you can do nowhere else?” In any case, many of the things you come up with will take the form of public-private partnerships.
The coming world will be one dominated by freelancers, and yet no one is focusing on teaching freelancers: teaching the business of “you”. This is what Frey calls the “gig economy”, one characterised by temporary or incidental employment, similar to the way a film is made: actors, producers, directors, caterers and many more come together, and once the film is done, they move elsewhere.
Thus, while we are headed towards a world where more jobs will be available than people to perform them, such jobs will not be full-time: they will be temporary, contract work.
This makes collaborative workspaces and maker spaces essential. The former provide freelancers with a flexible, informal advisory network that gives honest feedback and helps to make tough decisions not in isolation. The latter makes the tools of production available to everybody, so that everybody becomes a producer.
It is no longer possible to anticipate the needs of business five years in advance: we don’t know what the problems will be. People entering the labour market will need to reboot their careers eight to ten times throughout their working life. Teacherless, AI-driven education will play such a key role in this constant rebooting that, Frey predicts, by 2030 the biggest company in the Internet—bigger than Google, bigger than Apple—will be an education-based company that does not yet exist.
We are entering a period of unprecedented opportunity, one that will bring more change in the next twenty years, and more risk, than in the entire human history. Our children’s children, who haven’t been born yet, are counting on us making the right decisions today. This is one of those moments when you are effectively influencing the future.
It is incumbent on us, the architects of the development we want to see for Oman and in the interests of the generations to come, to embrace change and exhibit the agility required by both the private and government sectors to respond to the demands of the future and work together to create an environment conducive to overcoming together any challenges that arise.
OBF is uniquely positioned to be a home-grown vehicle that facilitates economic growth and delivers a level of national prosperity that can only be achieved by a whole-of- government partnership, collaborating closely and frequently with the private sector through an OBF-driven process that enjoys the blessings and support of His Majesty.
We are encouraged and inspired by the passion and dedication of the OBF community, and look forward to delivering opportunities through targeted partnerships with regional and international forums. The community is poised to create a new cooperation framework where innovation thrives. The future is bright with OBF leading the way.
OBF Management Team
Over the past decade, Thomas Frey, Executive Director of DaVinci Institute in Westminster, CO, has built an enormous following based on his ability to develop accurate visions of the future and describe the opportunities ahead. Having started seventeen businesses himself and assisting on the development of hundreds more, the understanding he brings to his audiences serves as a rare blend of reality-based thinking coupled with a clear-headed visualization of the world ahead. Predicting the future has little value without understanding the driving forces behind the trends, subtle nuances that can be leveraged, and implications for both the people directly affected in the industry as well as others farther down the technological food chain. Before launching DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer. He is also a past member of the Triple Nine Society.
Simon Baptist is the Global Chief Economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit and is currently based in Singapore. Simon’s focus is on global economy, national and international political developments, and public policy. He engages with business, government and international organisations, helping them to understand the operational and strategic implications of the EIU’s forecasts. Simon is also the Managing director for the EIU in Asia, with oversight for the EIU’s research, consultancy and C-suite advisory services in the region. He has a doctorate in economics from and was a lecturer at Oxford University, along with degrees in economics and science from the University of Tansmania. His academic research investigated technology and the determinants of productivity in manufacturing firms.
Yarub Abdullah Al Yarubi
Yarub is currently a Policy Advisor working with The Diwan of Royal Court and he has been in this position since October of 2017. Prior to that Yarub worked extensively in the energy sector; he worked for Schlumberger, Oman Oil Company, Takamul Investment Company and GlassPoint Solar. His work was predominantly in Business and Project Development. In the summer of 2015, he worked for Bain & Co (specialized in management consulting) as a Summer Associate. During his career Yarub developed numerous petrochemical and energy related projects, he also served on the board of directors of several companies, besides serving as a member of the investment committee that managed the endowment fund of Sultan Qaboos University. Yarub holds a Bachelor and Master in Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, a Master in Finance from Boston College and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University.
Thierry is the managing partner of the Monthly Barometer, a succinct predictive analysis provided to private investors, global CEOs and some of today's most influential opinion and decisionmakers. He and his partners also invest in adjacent businesses. He was until 2011 a senior partner at Informed Judgement Partners, an investment boutique for ultra-high-net-worth individuals based in Geneva, and prior to that managing partner at Rainbow Insight, an advisory boutique which he founded, providing tailor-made intelligence to investors. Previously, Thierry founded and headed the Global Risk Network at the WEF, a network that brings together top opinion and policymakers, CEOs and academics to look at how global issues will affect business and society in the short and long term. For a number of years in succession, Thierry conceived and put in place the programme for Davos and spoke at global, industry and regional events. His other professional experience includes: investment banking (as a Chief Economist and Strategist of a major Russian investment bank and as an Economist at the EBRD in London), think tanks and academia (both in New York and Oxford) and government (with a three-year spell in the Prime Minister's office in Paris). He has written several business and academic books, and has published four novels (two of which under a penname). In addition, he is a public speaker with some of the world’s leading agencies. He also sits on several advisory boards. He was educated at the Sorbonne and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and at St. Antony's College, Oxford. He holds two MAs (in Economics and History) and a PhD in Economics. With his English wife Thierry has four daughters.
Dr. Chung is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Building at the National University of Singapore (NUS), SINGAPORE. With a background of construction economics and management, Dr. CHUNG has the expertise in Construction 3D Printing (C3DP). In 2017, Dr. CHUNG formed a cross-faculty C3DP Programme Unit at NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing (AM.NUS), aiming at promoting C3DP development in Asia. In collaboration with the Singapore National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), this Programme Unit has organised a series of international C3DP events, which are all well received by the professionals and experts in the field. In recognition of his contribution and expertise in 3D Printing, Dr. Chung has been appointed as a member of Technical Committee of the China National Innovation Institute of Additive Manufacturing (NIIAM). He is the first appointed committee member from the construction sector. Dr. Chung is also an experienced researcher in the areas of Construction Industrialization, Collaborative Teamwork, Construction Briefing, Stakeholder Engagement, Public-private Partnership (PPP), and Value Management (VM). Up to 2017, he has been presented 10 research and teaching awards including CIB Guyla Sebestyén Award by the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) in Netherlands, and the Tony Toy Memorial Award by the Hong Kong Institute of Value Management in Hong Kong; and has produced more than 82 research publications in leading academic journals and international conferences. He has been appointed as the Associate Editor of Built Environment Project and Asset Management published by Emerald, the Associate Editor of Frontiers in Built Environment (Construction Management), and the Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Sustainable Real Estate and Construction Economics. In addition to research, Dr. Chung is also actively engaged in professional practice and has conducted 22 professionally facilitated VM and partnering workshops for various client organisations in Hong Kong since 1999. He was a founding member of buildingSMART Hong Kong as well as a council member of the Hong Kong Institute of Project Management and Hong Kong Institute of Value Management.
Raoul Restucci was appointed MD of PDO in October 2010. Prior to this, Raoul was Executive VP Upstream for Shell in the Middle East & North Africa and was a member of Shell’s Upstream Leadership Team. Between 2001-2005 Raoul was EVP for North & South America and President & CEO Shell E&P USA. In 1998 he was appointed as Regional Business Director for Shell in South East Asia, including China and Australasia. Raoul joined Shell International in 1980, following his graduation from Nottingham University with a degree in mining engineering. Early assignments included well-site and production engineering in Brunei Shell, economics and production engineering in QGPC - Qatar, E&P Liaison for South American Operations, Petroleum Engineering Manager for AFPC - Syria and GM Shell International Trading in London. Raoul is married and has three children.
Linnar is one of the founders of Estonian e-Governance Academy and Programme Director. He has been advising Estonian and many other governments on ICT and innovation policy since 1995 and is recognised as IT visionary. He has been instrumental in the rapid development of Estonian computer and network infrastructure, as well as the Estonian internet voting and electronic signature projects. Linnar lectures innovation management at Tartu University and has been Erasmus Mundus visiting professor in various European Universities since 2003. He’s a former executive at several mobile communications, broadband and software companies like Skype and Fortumo, advisor at the Nordic Investment Bank, and Board Member of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology. He is currently also Member of the Supervisory Board of EIT Digital and Stockholm Environment Institute. Linnar is co-founder and member of the board of mobile services and software development company Mobi Solutions and start-up Pocopay.
Lee Wei Seng Frankie
Frankie Lee started his career as a Foreign Service Officer upon graduation in 1994. In 1999, he joined a local ICT Cybersecurity startup; and together with the founders, raised more than USD14 million from both the local and international VCs. Since then, he has assisted many startups in fundraising, product and business development, management buyout, M&A, IP management and regional business expansions. He also co-founded startups in ICT, healthcare and medtech. His last venture in biotech startup was acquired by a company listed in the US NYSE. In NTUitive - the University’s innovation and enterprise company that supports NTU’s mission to develop an innovative ecosystem to encourage innovation, foster entrepreneurship and facilitate the commercialisation of research - he works closely with a team of managers and mentors that oversees the incubation and startup formation with a portfolio of more than 200 startups. In this role, he also works closely with startup founders, industry collaborators, government agencies and NTU Professors / researchers in startup creations. The industry that he covers include info-comm technology, medtech / biotech, new materials, engineering and cleantech. He also facilitates many startups to expand their markets in the region and Asia-Pacific. Frankie Lee is a Certified Accountant in Singapore and Associate Member of the Australia CPA. He graduated from both National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.
Yousuf Ali Al Harthy
Mr. Yousuf Al Harthy is the CEO of Oman Technology Fund. Yousuf has been a technologist and an entrepreneur for over 20 years. During this time he founded a number startups after working for organizations and institutions in both the public and private sectors. He is well known and recognized as an expert in the field of information technology for the many roles he has played in developing and shaping the ICT industry in Oman. Yousuf Al- Harthy holds a Master Degree in Information Technology form RMIT University in Australia and a double degrees in IT and Business from the US.
Alain Bejjani joined Majid Al Futtaim in 2006 and in his decade at the organization he held a number of critical roles. His career in the Group culminated with his appointment to the CEO position in February 2015. He has been instrumental in driving a significant transformation of the organizational archetype and operating model of the Group and in setting a common business vision and sense of purpose. He was also the main ‘architect’ behind Majid Al Futtaim’s corporate rebranding.Mr. Bejjani serves on the Board of Directors for several of Majid Al Futtaim’s joint ventures.Before joining Majid Al Futtaim, Mr. Bejjani was Executive Vice-Chairman of the Investment and Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) and a founding partner of legal advisory firm, Bejjani – Melkane – Rached in Lebanon. Mr. Bejjani holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Law and a Master’s Degree in Civil and Corporate Law from Paris- Est Créteil.
Joy Ajlouny is an e-commerce industry professional whose influence in business and entrepreneurship has spanned the globe. Joy is the co-founder of Fetchr, a Silicon-Valley backed Technology Company based in Dubai aimed at solving the "noaddress" problem hindering growth in emerging markets. Fetchr uses patented technology allowing people to use their mobile phone's GPS location as their address. Fetchr is the first start-up in the Middle East to be funded by a top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Joy, on behalf of Fetchr, was on the cover of Forbes Magazine in the Middle East, which named Fetchr #1 startup in the region. The company has raised $52 million in investment, including a $41 million series B round in May 2017. Prior to Fetchr, Joy founded Bonfaire, an e-commerce discovery platform for luxury footwear and accessories. Bonfaire was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce giant Moda Operandi, owned by LVMH and Condé Nast. While only 2.7% of venture capital funding has been raised by women, Joy has successfully raised funds for two startups from the most prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firms. This puts her in the top 1% of female entrepreneurs. Joy is passionate about using technology to solve persistent issues in emerging markets, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs to break out of traditional roles, especially in the Middle East.
Khamis Mubarak Al Kiyumi
Eng. Khamis Al Kiyumi is the Chairman of Al Madina RE, Tilal Development, Shaden Development, Gulf Mushroom, Al Mutawer Hotels & Resorts and the vice Chairman of Al Madina Investment as well as the director of many other thriving business establishments. With a great passion toward the development and prosperity of the sultanate of Oman Khamis started his career with the ministry of Commerce and Industry more particularly with the industry sector. During his 12 year of service he oversaw the rise of the public Authority for industrial Estates and the Rusail Industrial Authority. Khamis Al Kiyumi is enthusiastic about rising alongside the new blood, and in order to achieve teamwork and much delegation and development must be followed. Empowerment of the team is essential to take hold on new business opportunities. As well as giving back to the country by providing the best of shopping malls, hotels and entertainment to the society. A strong believer in the hidden treasures that Oman holds and the many opportunities that can be explored and transformed
Abdulmalik Abdulkarim Al Balushi
As the CEO of Oman post AbdulMalik Al Balushi is leading a strong organisation of 500 employees and 83 branches nationally; his renown leadership has demonstrated strong communication skills, effective stakeholders’ management, resourcefulness and high performance, to name a few. Mr. Al Balushi has continually lead high performing teams with a vast background in human resources management; leading in key strategic sectors such as Logistics (transportation), Telecommunication, Municipality, Energy & Utilities. His career trajectory expands over 15 years; of which 8 have included managing multiple functions and sectors in the Sultanates public and private sector. He continues to give back as a visiting faculty member of 'The school of Management' at Sultan Qaboos University.
Senior strategy advisor focused on Emerging Markets with experience in Public Sector Modernization, Technology for Development, and Education. Yasar is the co-founder of the Arabic portal for the Future of Government (www.01government.com), and a co-founding Partner 3 emerging markets professional service firms: Exantium (www.exantium.com), IAG (www.iag.com) and THC (www.thc.xyz) Former Partner at Bain & Company (www.bain.com) (head of Public Sector practice) and prior to that Partner at PwC (www.pwc.com) and led the Middle East Strategy Group, Global Education Group, and established the ME Public Sector Institute. Before PwC, Yasar served as the founding Executive Dean of the Dubai School of Government and as a Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He also served as the Strategy Director at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that, Yasar worked in the UK as a Research Fellow in Cranfield School of Management and Bradford School of Management. Yasar published extensively in various academic and professional journals, and his insights have been quoted in global and regional media.
Mohammed Sadek Sulaiman
Mohammed Sadek Sulaiman is currently General Manager, Corporate Planning, at Orpic (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company SAOC), which is one of Oman’s largest companies and one of the most rapidly growing businesses in the Middle East oil industry. Orpic’s Refineries in Sohar and Muscat, as well as the Aromatics and Polypropylene Plants in Sohar, provide fuel, chemicals, plastics, and other petroleum products, to Oman and to the world. He is a career investment professional who has worked both in the Sultanate of Oman and worldwide. His work has given him the opportunity to participate in the development of some groundbreaking initiatives. In Oman, while with Oman National Investment Development Company (TANMIA), he was involved in establishing ASAAS, Takaful Oman and other major Omani companies. In his career at UAE, he participated in the financing of the first major non-recourse real estate development, and also worked on the first UAE mutual fund. Mohammed has long been active in his community. He has been a member of the Economic Committee of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as a member of the Investment Committee of the Sultan Qaboos University Endowment Fund. He was also previously Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Business at the American University in Dubai.
Investor/ CEO of Sebacic Oman SAOC - 62.07 Million USD investment High Specialty Nylons Manufacturer from Castor Oil. First Industry of Duqm. Investor / Managing Director of Little India LLC - 748 Million USD investment Integrated Tourism Complex in Duqm His ability to understand the dynamics of the Global market and an ever expanding appetite for growth enabled him to further his manufacturing footprint outside of the Indian subcontinent. With a careful study of the logistics and regional stability he found his Home in Oman, a promising country that matched his growth vision. His mission matched the vision and synergy of Sheikh Hilal Bin Khalid Al Maawali which gave birth to world’s largest Bio Refinery Sebacic Oman SAOC. One of the largest project in Duqm enabling to acquire a 400000 sq mts land where Sebacic and Bio-Nylons will be manufactured from Castor Oil. The premier raw material is castor plant a native growth to Oman which shall be grown on a large scale turning Oman Green. With unhinging support from our chairman Sheikh Hilal Bin Khalid Al Maawali SAOC has already identified markets and growth plan for the coming 10 years. Next step was taken to foray into Master Development of an Integrated tourism Complex in Duqm. 600,000 sq mtrs of Beach front property shall be developed which shall include Hotels, Residences, commercial complex, Marina and waterfront Villas. This is fully owned by Pradeepkumar Nair.
Mr. Reggy Vermeulen has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Port Duqm as of February 2015. Prior to his current position he was the PDC’s Commercial Director for three years. Before joining Port of Duqm in 2012. Mr. Vermeulen was the CEO of the Port and Industrial Zone of Haiphong in Vietnam. This location under his leadership has attracted over 1.5 billion dollars of investment and has been elected amongst the top 5 companies in Vietnam. Mr. Vermeulen was also positioned in Nigeria for launching the port and industrial zone of “OK Free trade zone” next to Lagos. He started his career as a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting with a specialization in Supply chain optimization and companies restructuring.
Mr. Shah has been continuously working overseas for 2 decades, expert in the Middle East market. Previously he was acting as general manager of ZTE Egypt branch, general manager of Beijing Peng Da line Trade Co., Ltd. Educational background: Graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University majored in Arabic language.
Vipul Shah is Vice President and Head Business Development of the of the Power Business branch of Adani Ports & SEZ Limited. Prior to that position Vipul Shah was responsible for sales and marketing for the dry cargo business for Adani's west coast ports. Before joining Adani Vipul Shah was Associate Vice President at PMC Projects India Pvt Ltd. He holds a Bachelor degree in Engineering (BEng) from Bhavnagar University and a diploma a in Treasury Management, Forexd Management, Risk Management from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI).
Hilal Ali Al Kharusi
Mr. Hilal Al Kharusi is the Acting Executive Managing Director for Oman Oil Duqm Development Company – a subsidiary of Oman Oil Company (OOC) with focus on the development of the Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Complex. Since joining OOC in 2005, he served in various executive positions with last position as Executive Vice President for Emerging Businesses with responsibility of managing a diverse portfolio covering Energy Infrastructure, Shipping, Trading, Power, Mining and Metals. His responsibilities extend in managing the development of large scale domestic energy projects. His career spans over 25 years in the energy business started in Petroleum Development Oman in 1990 and in 2001 joined Shell International in the Netherlands as a senior professional in the Business Development Group, working on several projects in the Middle East, Russia, CIS and Africa. Mr. Al Kharusi served as Board Chairman of several energy related companies and currently serves as Vice Chairman in the Duqm Refining & Petrochemical Industries, Board Member in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, Chairman of Oman Sustainable Water Services and he is a member of OOC Executive team. Mr. Al Kharusi graduated with a Bachelor degree in Geosciences/ Economic Geography in 1990 and later obtained an MBA from the UK's Henley Management College in 2007.
Hanaa Mohammed Al KharusiDeputy General Manager Corporate Banking Division, Ahlibank (Oman) Moderator
Hanaa Mohammed Al Kharusi
A seasoned Corporate Banker, Hanaa has more than 17 years of work experience in relationship management and leading high performance business teams. She is currently responsible for the large corporates portfolio of over US$2.5 Billion at Ahlibank and is actively involved in project finance, syndications as well as bilateral deals in the strategic industries of the country including Oil & Gas, Utilities, Telecom, Tourism, Logistics, Manufacturing and others. As a member of the Ahlibank executive management team, she plays a role in strategic planning, change management and digitization of corporate services. She also holds the position of chairperson of the MT committee, which oversees a program launched in 2014 by the bank to recruit high potential Omani university graduate to create the future leaders of Ahlibank. Before joining Ahlibank, Hanaa spent 13 years of her career in one of the largest local banks which she joined as a management trainee herself. Hanaa is graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the recipient of Bizpro Young Achievers award of the year of 2010. She has attended executive leadership courses at London Business School and is a graduate of The National CEO Program Cohort 2.