DIFC Summit Focuses on Challenges and Opportunities for Family Businesses as They Emerge from the Current Market Turmoil

DIFC Week will host tomorrow its first Arab families’ Summit, jointly organised by DIFC and Tharawat  Family Business Forum.  The DIFC Summit will be dedicated to debating the specific issues and opportunities for the wealth and businesses owned by leading Arab families. The Summit will be attended by 75  family members and their representatives, and will discuss key issues faced by the families including the impact of the current financial turmoil, how to emerge from it and capitalise on the potential of the region. More than 80 percent of all businesses in the Middle East are family-run or family-owned and around US$1 trillion in family-owned assets is expected to be handed down to the next generation within the next 5-10 years.

H.E. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC said: “Family businesses play a highly significant role in the regional economy and that is why we are holding this Summit to address the specific challenges and opportunities which they face at this time. DIFC will provide regional family businesses the chance to work together to build alliances that would create unlimited opportunities in the face of the current crisis.”

Dr. Hischam El Agamy, Executive Director, Tharawat Family Business Forum, the joint organiser of the Summit commented: “The current situation requires Arab families to develop new ways of conducting business.  Family businesses can adapt well due to their strength in the region and their values.  By bringing together influential leaders of Arab families and their businesses to share their perspectives and experience, we will together produce new opportunities for regional alliances that will lead to significant future business and investment opportunities, particularly as we emerge from the financial crisis.”

Other themes for discussion tomorrow at the DIFC Summit will be the global and regional economic outlook and how the financial crisis will impact family businesses, mastering growth in the current business climate and guiding family businesses through the global downturn.  There will also be a session dedicated to developing potential scenarios for the future and new ways of doing business including cross-border acquisitions and alliances.

In the GCC, family businesses – where family members influence the direction of the organization through the exercise of ownership rights or management roles - account for over 90 percent of all commercial activities. In the Middle East, it is estimated that over 80 percent of all businesses are family-run or family-owned. Dubai alone is a hub for more than 30,000 family businesses.


Amongst the VIPs that attend tomorrow’s event will be;

  • His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman
  • His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Al Faisal
  • His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
  • Mr. Essa Al Ghurair
  • Mr. Khalid Kanoo
  • Mr. Khalid Al Zamil
  • Mr. Salah Al Wazzan
  • Mr. Hussein Jawad
  • Mr. Essa Al Serkal

The DIFC Summit, sponsored by Deutsche Bank and Abraaj Capital, provided a platform for the mutual exchange of knowledge and insights on management, growth, continuity, strategy and other business-related topics.

DIFC week is proud to be sponsored by Deutsche Bank, Abraaj Capital, Goldman Sachs and Itau Securities.  In addition, the DIFC Week Conference is sponsored by Alvarez & Marsal, Conyers, Dill & Pearman, Emirates NBD, Grant Thornton, HAYS, ICT, Kershaw Leonard, Latham Watkins, M Communications and Norton Rose. DIFC Week family summit is run in association with Tharawat Family Business Forum.  

DIFC Week is also grateful for the active support and involvement of it’s media partners which are; AME Info, Arabian Business, CNBC, Dow Jones, Dubai Eye, Financial News, The Times, The Wall Street Journal and Zawya. 

To find out more information about the Summit, Forum and Conference taking place at DIFC week visit www.difcweek.ae

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