|CEO of ENSHAA speaks about renewable energy and social responsibility at Credit Suisse conference|
Raza Jafar, CEO of ENSHAA, spoke at a specially convened meeting of Credit Suisse's 'Member's Exchange' - a forum for high net worth investors to hear from experts from different sectors and regions, and leverage this expertise in their own ventures.
The meeting was entitled "The Gulf Region: Perspectives beyond Natural Resources", and reflected attendees' interests in how the financial crisis has affected investor behaviour, business opportunities in the GCC and Mena region, and a broader vision for the future.
This future, Mr. Jafar claimed, is unfolding before our eyes. "There was a time when humanity was totally dependent, and then everyone suddenly wanted to be self-sufficient - at all levels, from women to households to banks or nation states. But then we realised the importance of outsourcing," he said, asking, "Why shouldn't China make our clothing? Why try to irrigate for agriculture in Saudi when you can import fresh food from the Sudan?" Mr. Jafar was firm, "It is about acceptance of our interdependence, an acceptance which is at the core of the growth of global trade."
Mr. Jafar was invited because of his unique portfolio of experience and responsibility. His past experience includes private sector business in the UAE and Pakistan and he has also been involved with the UAE Government as an Investment Development Advisor in Sharjah. He is currently Managing Director of EIG, an investment company based in the United Arab Emirates with interests in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions in financial services, real estate, trading, industry and aviation.
Mr. Jafar is also Pakistan's Honorary Investment Counsellor in the United Arab Emirates, promoting and advising on bilateral business opportunities between the two countries.
Mr. Jafar, who was joined by former British Prime Minister John Major and Nouriel Roubini of the Stern school at NYU, emphasised that we've moved into a new era; of openness, shared responsibility and mutual dependence.
The discussion ranged broadly, from trade generally to the importance of logistics in trade and how increasingly well-prepared the Gulf/Mena region is to be a hub for tourism, air travel and education. But perhaps the most memorable moment came in discussion of social responsibility - one of Mr. Jafar's strongest passions through his membership of the Global Philanthropic Circle and support of the Arab World Social Innovators Program.
"What we can see with every passing day is a move to innovation, to transparency and social responsibility through movements like the UN's 'Pearl Initiative' and 'Masdar' in Abu Dhabi," he said, referencing a company which is advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy solutions and clean technologies.
"Through initiatives like these, we can advance a 'triple bottom line' focus - financial, social, and environmental. This is the way we're moving, and where the opportunities are," he added.
Mr. Jafar's unique perspective was enthusiastically received by Monday's Members' Exchange attendees, who expressed a strong desire to have a real business leader share his perspective on doing business in a defined environment and industry, explain the mentalities of the regional business culture and the perceived opportunities and threats ahead.