CGI Middle East & Africa

Plenary Session

9:30 -


Women at the Forefront of Innovation

While women make up half the total population of the Middle East and African regions, they are less likely than men to enter the labor force. Yet, across the world, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by women have been shown to grow faster and create more jobs on average than those led by men, and increasing female workforce participation enhances innovation and growth. Expanding access to education—particularly to STEM —training, financing, mentorship, and markets, an ecosystem in which women can more easily grow businesses and jobs can be created. This panel will bring together business, government, and civil society leaders to discuss how to:

• Improve access to finance, business training, and global markets to support women entrepreneurs.
• Harness the momentum generated by the spread of mobile and Internet technology throughout the regions to enhance economic opportunities for women.


Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, The Clinton Foundation


Najla Mohammad Al Awar, Secretary General of the United Arab Emirates Cabinet
Othman Benjelloun, Chairman and CEO, BMCE Bank
Zainab Salbi, Founder, Nida'a Productions and Women for Women International
Niralee Shah, Core Child Program Manager, Tomorrow's Youth Organization

Breakout Sessions

11:00 -


CGI Conversation hosted by Zainab Salbi

In this session, Zainab Salbi will host a wide-ranging conversation with some of the most influential entrepreneurs and advocates from the Arab World, inviting them to voice their hopes and visions for the region. The host of a new show with Nida’a Productions, Salbi has spent over 20 years sharing the powerful stories of women around the world. She is also the author of Between Two Worlds and the founder of Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian organization dedicated to serving women survivors of war.


President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States
Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer, twofour54
Hayat Sindi, Founder and CEO, Institute of Imagination and Ingenuity


Harnessing Youth Entrepreneurship for Job Creation

Action Area: Investing in Youth

By 2020, a minimum of 180 million new jobs in the countries of Middle East and Africa will be needed to absorb the currently unemployed and new graduates who will enter the workforce in the next five years. With average youth unemployment rates at 28 percent in the Middle East and 14 percent in Africa, young entrepreneurs can create jobs not only for themselves but for the employees that they hire. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also critical to accelerating job growth, as they currently account for more than 67 percent of overall private sector employment in the Middle East and over 75 percent in Africa. Over 60 percent of SMEs lack access to finance, making it critical to facilitate structural and financial support for these businesses to drive growth and generate jobs. Participants in this session will discuss how to:

• Equip young entrepreneurs with the technical and leadership skills, in addition to networks, to build sustainable businesses and connect them to markets.
• Expand access to finance and capital to support job-creating, youth-led SMEs.
• Use technology to create communities where young entrepreneurs can exchange ideas and connect with mentors and investors.


Muna Abusulayman, Media Personality, Activist and Philanthropist, Middle East Broadcasting Center


Zika Abzuk, General Manager Israel Country Transformation, Cisco
Takunda Chingonzo, Founder and CEO, Neolab Technology
Asma Mansour, President and Co-founder, Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Isaac Shongwe, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Leadership Initiative


Innovations in Water Sustainability

Action Area: The Future of Energy, Food, and Water

By 2050, fresh water availability in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to drop by 50 percent in areas already considered the most arid in the world. Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa faces different water challenges—including the critical need for improved sanitation and hygiene, with 40 percent of the population lacking access to clean water. Throughout the Middle East and African regions, economic growth and rising populations will continue to drive demand for water and the energy needed to procure it, while subsidies often hide the true cost of these scarce resources. With clean water becoming more expensive and difficult to access, actors from all sectors are seeking innovative solutions to manage risks in order to improve water stewardship for the environment and community. Participants in this session will discuss how to:

• Develop sustainable targets for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use to ensure water security for all.
• Adapt existing and new technologies for irrigation, purification, sanitation, distribution, and conservation to increase water access for marginalized communities.
• Educate and train communities on water conservation, sanitation, and more effective irrigation methods.


Cullen Hendrix, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics


Naty Barak, Chief Sustainability Officer, Netafim
Ama Bawuah, Head of Public Affairs and Communications, Equatorial Africa, The Coca-Cola Company
Zineb El Adaoui, Wali of the Region Gharb Chrarda Beni hssn
Grace Obado, Chief Executive Officer , Hidrolution Kenya


Investing in Stronger Health Care Systems

Action Area: Building Infrastructure for All

The current Ebola health crisis in West Africa highlights the importance of investing in primary health care systems throughout Africa and the Middle East to prevent, diagnose, and treat communicable and non-communicable diseases, thereby better addressing future crises. Ensuring access to care for all people will improve health outcomes and employment prospects, as well as promote livelihoods, economic growth, and security. Participants in this session will discuss how to:

• Mobilize the needed financing to strengthen primary health care infrastructure.
• Improve the capacity of systems to train health care workers to handle health crises, and to access and treat marginalized communities.
• Use technology to accelerate delivery of diagnostic and treatment tools.


Summer Nasief 


Majid Kaddoumi, Vice President and Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Medtronic
Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless
Hayat Sindi, Founder and CEO, Institute of Imagination and Ingenuity

Networking Event

12:30 -


Networking Lunch

Closing Plenary Session

14:00 -


The Middle East and Africa: Future Leaders for Opportunity

By 2050, almost a third of the world population will live in the Middle East and Africa. The combined GDP of these regions is expected to continue to grow at more than four percent annually: these are the fastest growing regions in the world. Next generation leaders are needed to leverage the ingenuity of 300 million youth in generating economic growth while addressing existing youth unemployment, and education, food, water, energy and infrastructure challenges. This panel will bring together business, government, and civil society leaders to discuss how to:

• Mobilize innovations and businesses to solve existing challenges.
• Support investments in infrastructure to expand economic growth while connecting people and countries across and between the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.
• Strengthen education and leadership development to ensure the strongest foundation for young people’s futures.


President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States


Amr Al-Dabbagh, Founding Chairman, STARS Foundation
Yasmin Belo-Osagie, Co-founder, She Leads Africa
Noella Coursaris Musunka, Founder and CEO, Malaika
Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless