Speakers - ADSFF 2023
H.H. Sheikha Shamma Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
President/CEO of UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA)
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli
Lord Mayor of London's Aldermanic Representative, City of London Corporation
Group Head of the HSBC Centre of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change MENAT, HSBC
Researcher at Harvard University & Former Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley, Harvard University
H.H. Sheikha Shamma Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
President/CEO of UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA)
Business leader, social entrepreneur, and published author, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin
Khalifa Al Nahyan is President and Chief Executive Officer of the UAE Independent Climate
Change Accelerators (UICCA), Founder of the Shamma bint Sultan Sustainability Initiatives
social enterprise, Co-Founder of Aurora50 and Founder of Reset MENA.
Sheikha Shamma holds a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership and a Master of Philosophy in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Cambridge, as well as a degree in Business Administration from Zayed University. She is a well-respected industry expert on sustainability, due to her business and academic endeavours in the field.
In leading the UICCA, Sheikha Shamma is committed to bringing together members of the public and private sector, including academic institutions and non-governmental organisations to drive the nation’s commitment towards net zero by 2050. As such, the UICCA operates as a non-partisan think tank, providing advice and recommendations to stakeholders on positive climate action that facilitate the transition to a green economy.
Sheikha Shamma serves as Chair of Alliances for Global Sustainability, as well as the Advisory Boards of Yale’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Pure Harvest and Bamboo Capital. She is the Honorary President of the Emirates Green Building Council, and a member of the UAE Circular Economy Council. She was awarded Inspirational Woman of the Year by the Arab Women’s Awards UAE in 2020, and the Academy of International Business in the Middle East and North Africa (AIBMENA) Windtower Award in 2021. In 2022, Sheikha Shamma was selected as the first woman from the GCC to participate in the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center’s Women Leaders in Energy and Climate Fellowship.
Widely recognised for her contributions to the sustainability and social responsibility sphere, Sheikha Shamma has been socially conscious from a very young age and has, for many years, taken an active role in community development by launching and engaging in programmes and initiatives that have a positive impact on communities in the UAE, and around the world. Through the Shamma bint Sultan Sustainability Initiatives social enterprise, Sheikha Shamma continues her work in the field of sustainable development. This social enterprise is committed to collaborating with like-minded stakeholders, to further expand community, corporate and governmental efforts to transition the UAE and its surrounding region to a clean energy economy, through impact-driven initiatives, projects and education. One of the main focuses of the social enterprise is on sustainability and natural climate solutions, which encompasses mangroves and other nature-based solutions that make a difference to air quality and the health of the planet. Sheikha Shamma’s business acumen is further demonstrated by her involvement in several other industries, including the prestigious Al Asayl Show Jumping team, and her work as a published children’s author. To date she has written four books. In addition, she is a regular columnist for The National newspaper, and has co-authored two articles published in “Future Governments – Actions and Insights”.
As an active and passionate researcher, Sheikha Shamma has presented academic papers at global conferences in the fields of gender studies, migration studies, sustainable development, knowledge transfer, consumer behaviour, Emiratisation and financial literacy. In 2019, she was invited to speak at the MENA chapter of the World Economic Forum in Jordan where she discussed policy development for sustainability in the Arab World. In November 2018, Sheikha Shamma was one of the judges on the sustainability panel at the Solar Decathlon in Dubai. Recognition for Sheikha Shamma’s valuable work has resulted in her being awarded the position of Research Associate at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Zayed University, and she sits on the Industry and Academic Advisory Board of the Academy of International Business MENA.
Sheikha Shamma cites her great-grandfather, the UAE’s founding father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as a source of inspiration and credits his vision as the reason why she places immense importance on sustainability, philanthropy, and female empowerment. Through her actions, Sheikha Shamma aspires to ensure that Sheikh Zayed’s legacy lives on and that his vision continues to create a positive impact globally.
H.E. Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi
His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi is a seasoned leader with a proven track record in delivering results. He has long standing experience in the finance and investments sector, wherein he has managed and executed multi-billion dollar investment transactions and has led numerous restructurings and turnarounds across a multitude of sectors.
H.E. Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi
CEO, Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA)
Regarded as one of the few multi-faceted professionals of repute from the region, with experience of over 20 years across a broad spectrum of specialized disciplines ranging from AML/CFT compliance, corporate governance, securities regulation including oversight of cash and derivatives markets, listing, trading and operations, insurance markets regulation, credit bureau oversight and Islamic and conventional jurisprudence.
H.E. Salama Al Ameemi
Director General, Ma’an
H.E. Salama Ajlan Alameemi has been an integral founding member of the Department of Community Development (DCD), prior to her appointment as the Director General of Ma’an; the government authority decreed to build the entire ecosystem to enable non-government organizations and social enterprises to participate in the development process, advancing multistakeholder collaborations, social innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit and social cohesion in Abu Dhabi.
An accomplished and pioneering Emirati professional, Alameemi brings a wealth of leadership experience and proficiency in delivering solutions that translate the government’s vision into ground realities with measurable outcomes, and demonstrates multifaceted leadership skills into the projects and responsibilities under her purview. As a purpose-driven leader, Alameemi believes in empowering others, building highly successful teams, being accountable and setting standards of excellence.
Equipped with diverse industry understanding, as well as significant strategic and operational experience in various high-profile government transformation projects within the health, education and social sector, Alameemi brings insights on various subjects including corporate governance, strategy formulation, public policy and management. The depth of knowledge and experience positions Alameemi to effectively engage the community into a paradigm shift.
In her dual role as Executive Director of Strategic Affairs with DCD, Alameemi drives the strategy approach and provides advice and operational support for policy planning and implementation of the development agenda, as well as spearheads and co-leads several strategic initiatives.
Furthermore, Alameemi has completed a postgraduate degree in Business Administration from Zayed University and was awarded the HRH Sheikh Rashid Award for Academic Excellence. She was also nominated and selected for the Leadership Program at London Government College, Member of the Social Sector Committee and Member on the Board of Trustees of the National Fund for Social Responsibility, in addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees of Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, and a member of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club Board of Directors.
Chief Finance Officer & Chief Operations Officer, Green Climate Fund
Hong Paterson is the Green Climate Fund’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Before joining GCF, she was responsible for leading RBC’s Investor & Treasury Services (RBC I&TS) business in Singapore, as their Managing Director and Country Head. Her role at RBC included providing strategic oversight to RBC I&TS activities and contributing to the Asia Pacific strategy. She was also the Southeast Asia Coverage Executive responsible for the overall business development strategy and client engagement. Hong joined RBC with nearly twenty years’ experience at J.P.Morgan where she worked in several sectors including Commercial Banking, Investor Services, and Asset Management based in New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, and Singapore. Hong currently sits on the University of Virginia’s McIntire Global Advisory Board. Originally from Virginia, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi is the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, a global cleanenergy powerhouseactive in over 40 countries.
Under his leadership, Masdar has developed intoone of thefastest-growing renewable energy companies in the world, with a combined global project portfolioof over 20GWof clean energy capacity.
Mr. Al Ramahi joined Masdar in 2008 and has heldsenior leadership positions in the companyfornearly a decade and a half, serving as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officerprior to his appointment as CEOin 2016.
In addition to his role as CEO, Mr. Al Ramahi holds a number of prominentboard positions. He isVice-Chair of the Global Council on Sustainable Development Goals, and serves on the Board of Directors for, Mubadala Health, Emirates Waste to Energy Company, and Shuaa Energy 2 PSC, the company developing phase 3 of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
A natural collaborator, Mr. Al Ramahi is also an active member ofseveral groups dedicated to facilitating strong international cooperation in the fields of business and sustainability. These include the French Business Group, Australian Business Group, the US-UAE Business Council, and the Sustainable Markets Initiative Taskforcefor Energy Transition.
Mr. Al Ramahi holds a Bachelor of Sciencein Business Administration (Finance) from the University of Evansvillein the United States.
CEO, MENA & International Markets, HSBC
Rola Abu Manneh
CEO, UAE, Standard Chartered
VP MENA, World Bank
CEO, Good Steward Partners
Mr. Mizuno is a Japanese financial executive, serving as the Special Envoy of U.N. Secretary General on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments since January 2021. He previously served as Executive Management Director and CIO of GPIF (Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan with AUM $1.5 trillion).
Prior to joining GPIF, Mr. Mizuno was a partner at Coller Capital, a London-based private equity firm (January 2003 - January 2015). He formerly worked for Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. Ltd. in Japan, Silicon Valley and New York (April 1988 – January 2003).
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli
Lord Mayor of London's Aldermanic Representative, City of London Corporation
Michael is a qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist, and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin. He was Sheriff of the City of London 2019 – 21 and as Senior Alderman Below The Chair is likely to be, subject to election, Lord Mayor of the City of London for November 2023 to November 2024.
He founded Z/Yen in 1994, the City of London’s leading think-tank, promoting societal advance through better finance and technology, renowned for its Global Financial, Green Finance, and Smart Centres indices. Michael’s career summary is a decade of technology research, a decade in finance, then over two decades at Z/Yen combining research and finance for social purposes.
Head of ESG, Climate Fund Managers
Claire Cummins is Head of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) at Climate Fund Managers (CFM), a Dutch registered alternative investment fund manager focused on delivering blended finance solutions to tackle climate change in emerging markets. As an impact investor, ESG is core to the investment mandate and the mission and vision of the company and Claire leads the business in delivering sustainable and impactful performance across the portfolio. Before joining CFM, Claire spent 14 years working as a sustainability consultant, building considerable experience in developing IFC and Equator Bank-compliant solutions to support sustainable financing of major capital projects. She started her career at Marsh Ltd., a global risk management and insurance company where she trained as an EHS risk advisor. Currently based in the Netherlands, Claire has worked in over 40 countries across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. She holds degrees in geographical sciences and water resources management, a postgraduate diploma in rural development, and professional diplomas in risk management and occupational health and safety.
VP, Project Advisory and Structured Finance, SBI Capital Markets
Partner and Co-Head of Investor Relations and Fundraising, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
CEO, Armenian National Interests Fund
David Papazian is the CEO of The Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF). He has over 12 years of international experience in corporate transactions, investing in both publicly traded & private equity companies as well as in advising on strategic exits, before he led the Armenian National Interests Fund in 2019. ANIF, Armenia’s sovereign fund is Masdar’s partner in Armenia’s first industrial scale solar project of 200 MW “Ayg-1”.
CEO & Chairman, OTSIT Group
George Attewell is the CEO and Chairman of OTSIT GROUP, a renewable, sustainable smart community specialist, within the Middle East and South East Asia regions.
His focus is to make impact within Climate change by reducing carbon through building large sustainable communities with leading edge technologies to create a ninety eight percent circular economy with no waste to land fill solutions.
As part of the sustainable communities, George Attewell is setting up a smart green impact financial services solutions within the ADGM, to create financial products that will help grow and develop the future of global changes required to invest in renewable sustainable projects within the Middle East and South East Asia.
CEO, Avance Labs
Wa’el Almazeedi is the Chief Executive Officer of Avance Labs. He acquired his energy and project financing experience working in the oil, gas, and electricity industries, multilateral development, private equity, and technology commercialization while stationed in (in alphabetic order): Boston, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuwait, London, Yokohama, and Washington, D.C.
He is a recipient of the 2006 EY Entrepreneur of the YearTM Award in the Energy Category for the New England Region of the USA and currently serves on several national and bilateral hydrogen and energy transition committees in the MENA region.
Avance Labs is spearheading the development of a universal energy attribute tracking scheme for hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), enabled by data science and the Internet of things (IoT).
Founder & CEO, Zero Carbon
Martin Reynolds is the CEO of Zero Carbon. A long-time champion of zero- emissions technologies, Martin set up the company following his tenure as one of the founding employees and board member of battery manufacturing scale- up business, Britishvolt.
Based in the UAE since 2015, Martin has also been a senior advisor to the Abu Dhabi royal family and worked in other high profile strategic financial and risk assessment roles. Martin is a UK national and began his career at Kent Police, firstly as a community officer and latterly as a senior detective in fraud and financial crime investigations.
Co-founder & CMO, Green Future Project
Zain Tarawneh is the co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Green Future Project. Having lived in Canada, UK, Italy, and now in Abu Dhabi- her experience has been impact space, focusing on the unique intersection of sustainability, technology, and communication, Zain is now leading Green Future Projects growth in MENA, with a mission to help pioneer sustainability and climate action in the region.
Co-founder, Producers Market
Producers Trust Founder & CEO: Keith has worked in the supply side of the agricultural industry for 15+ years and is recognized as a leading innovator in sustainability. Keith’s passion for supporting farmers and producers in emerging markets was the initial inspiration behind the Producers Trust platform and its work to achieve greater data validation and transparency to the source of supply chains. Prior to Producers Trust, Keith was the founder of the commercial urban agriculture firm, Sky Vegetables, which pioneered the integration of greenhouse hydroponic agriculture in urban environments. After being acquired of its majority ownership, Keith consulted in the founding and development of leading organic agriculture company in Latin America, Simply Natural. Keith's on the ground networks blossomed in his role as a procurement specialist for leading distributors; UNFI, Global Organics, and VegFresh. Producers Trust works with 1300+ producer groups across 100+ countries and has formed 20+ government, nonprofit and association partnerships to reach over 2.5m farmers globally
As CEO of CreDA (Credit Data Alliance) the world’s first decentralized credit rating service, Fakhul leads the firm’s executive team and global expansion. Fakhul has been in the investment banking industry at Morgan Stanley for over 15 years, most recently serving as Morgan Stanley’s Head of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Cleared Derivatives Client Service Group. Prior to this, he was the Global Head of Institutional Margin Financing, Margin Technology Development and Risk Control.
Born and raised in East London, Fakhul has been an active advocate for financial access and inclusion, which is what drew him to DeFi and ultimately CreDA, as the implementation of credit scoring has the potential to impact billions of the worlds underbanked.
Co-Founder, Carbonless Asia
Tony Á. Verb is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author, based in Singapore.
He is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Carbonless Asia, an investment and advisory platform launched to channel capital into scalable technologies that contribute to and benefit from the low carbon industrial development process. As the result of a year-long research project with more than a dozen collaborators, he has just published a book about the decarbonization of Asia.
Tony is also co-founder of GreaterBay Ventures and partner of Nest.vc with activities in venture capital, investment banking, accelerator programmes and ecosystem development. He has worked with regional and global industry leaders, such as Microsoft, Siemens, Allianz, HSBC, DBS, TCL and Nissan.
He is an IWC Pioneer and a proud alumni member of the WEF Global Shapers community.
ADSFF EMCEE, Amplify Project
Sarah is a dynamic communicator with over 25 years’ experience in finance, media, corporate communications and academia. Her international experience sees her working globally as a consultant and coach for cabinet ministers, CEOs, Chairpersons and senior VPs, to define and achieve their strategic communication objectives. Sarah regularly hosts in-person and virtual events and moderates at international conferences on diverse topics from smart data to sustainability. Sarah graduated from CASS business school, UCL with a BSc Hons in Economics. She started her career as an equity analyst at BNP Paribas, then led the London Latin American equity sales desk, placing high profile IPOs to European funds. This led her to financial journalism, where she globally anchored the CNBC breakfast show Squawk Box for many years and worked for CBC and BSKYB. Before moving to Dubai over twelve years ago, she worked at IMD business school in Switzerland, coaching and developing communication workshops for the Masters programme. Since living in Dubai, she co-hosted the Business Breakfast show on Dubai Eye Radio.
Luca Raffaele Poletti
Co-founder, Seven Trees Holding
As Founder and Managing Partner, Luca Raffaele Poletti brought forward the innovative Financial Engineering behind the proposed Hybrid Bioenergy Solution. Prior to creating Seven Trees Holding, Mr. Poletti was Project Manager at Dune West Construction in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Poletti holds a Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Master’s Degree with distinction from Trinity College of Dublin for which he was nominated for the Institution of Structural Engineers Republic of Ireland Branch Prize. Furthermore, he completed his Masters in Finance at Trinity College of Dublin with Distinction.
President, Underwater Gardens International
Marc is the Executive President and Founder of Underwater Gardens International, a company formed by a multidisciplinary network of professionals and experts with wide international recognition that integrates a scientific and business perspective. UGI makes Ocean regeneration, adaptation, and mitigation to Climate Change financially viable while promoting local socioeconomic growth. This initiative has received the UN Ocean Decade Endorsement, as well as the financial support of Private Investors, ENISA (Spanish Government) and the Horizon Europe program (European Commission).
Saeed Al Qubaisi
Founder and Chairman, Seven Trees Holding
Saeed Al Qubaisi is Founder and Chairman of Seven Trees Holding, where we aim to reduce, avoid, and recycle Carbon Emissions and support the UAE to lead as a Green Country.
Along with the blessings and continuous support of the UAE’s visionary Leadership and Government, we seek to align and contribute towards the UAE’s 2050 net-zero emission goal.
Mr. Al Qubaisi holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Business Strategy from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Over the last decade, Mr. Al Qubaisi set foot into numerous UAE initiatives and sectors such as Etihad rail, a 1 200 km network that aims to connect the UAE’s Seven Emirates. Mr. Al Qubaisi is also an Executive Director at MQ Holding which operates in Manpower, Oil and Gas, and Agriculture amongst other sectors.
Director of Innovation, Abu Dhabi University
CEO & Co-Founder, AirCarbon Exchange
Thomas McMahon is the CEO and Co-Founder of AirCarbon Exchange (ACX), a frictionless carbon exchange offering the lowest fees in the industry, and an architecture which will allow the carbon market to expand efficiently and fulfil its true potential in helping the world meet Net-Zero.
Mr McMahon is an exchange architect with over 30 years’ experience building commodities exchanges under US and Asian Exchange and Regulatory frameworks, with a focus on the development of Exchange-traded Cleared Futures and OTC products. His experience includes building and running NYMEX Asia, the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, DME and SMX/ ICE Singapore.
Chief Sustainability Officer, BNP Paribas
Constance Chalchat is the Head of CIB Company Engagement, Global Markets Chief Sustainability Officer and is a member of the CIB Executive Committee. Constance is responsible for Company Engagement, Sustainable Finance, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Strategic Marketing & Communication within CIB. As environmental and societal issues are at the core of BNP Paribas’s strategy, CIB Company Engagement’s mission is to work closely with all of CIB business lines and functions in order to accelerate its sustainable finance activities, as well as partnering with Human Resources to promote diversity and inclusion, drivers of engagement within the company.
Since joining BNP Paribas in 2001, Constance has held various management positions in Transformation, People Development, Marketing & Communication. Constance holds an MBA in Finance from HEC Paris business school and recently completed Positive Impact business certified training at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
She is the author of “Technology, threat or lever of change?” published in l’Annale des Mines in 2018.
Head of Environmental Products, EMEA, Morgan Stanley
Iain joined Morgan Stanley in 2022 to head up the EMEA environmental markets team. Before this he was head of global carbon offset’s at Cargill, based in Geneva.
Prior to starting a career in the carbon markets, Iain represented Great Britain at hockey in the London Olympics. He has a degree in Finance from Loughborough University and is a qualified chartered accountant.
Senior Brokerage - Tradition Financial Services
Francois has worked in commodity markets since 2010. From trading at ArcelorMittal via global strategy at Schneider Electric, Francois has worked within the environmental and energy markets with a specific focus on international renewables markets. Joining Tradition in 2015 to provide physical commodities origination, he started developing derivatives market for biomass, grains which naturally lead to the development of the voluntary carbon desk on both OTC spot markets and nascent futures markets.
Ben Worley is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Carbon, a US-based startup focused on democratizing the benefits of the carbon market for all stakeholders. The company utilizes advanced data collection, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to reduce the barriers to participation in carbon offset creation by smallholder farmers across Southeast Asia, India and Africa.
Ben began his career in the US defense sector becoming one of the nation’s foremost experts in the deployment of tactical unmanned aircraft for data collection. After years spent managing the operations, logistics and maintenance of various unmanned systems programs, in 2013 he was brought on as the Chief Operating Officer of VSG-Unmanned, an Atlanta-based aerial imaging and data solutions provider. VSG's target market was agriculture and it was through this exposure that Ben saw the true potential impact that data, used intelligently, could make in the Ag industry. In 2015, Ben left VSG and co-founded Agrisource Data to better serve the needs of the global Ag market by leveraging multisource data to provide hyperlocal insights into the food supply chain. After growing the company to operations in 12 countries across more than 1 million hectares of cropland, in 2022 Ben exited to launch Spiro Carbon and focus on helping drive positive climate action through sustainable agriculture.
Group Climate Director, Tikehau Capital
Pierre Abadie is Group Climate Director at Tikehau Capital. He has over 21 years of experience in the energy transition sector. He is an early decarbonation and climate investor who has been actively investing in renewable assets and decarbonisation companies for more than a decade.
Pierre previously worked at TotalEnergies for 16 years, most notably in the Gas and Renewables division, before joining Tikehau Capital in 2018 to launch the Private Equity Climate Practice. Pierre currently co-heads Tikehau Capital’s flagship private equity decarbonisation fund (T2 Energy Transition) which was launched in 2018 in partnership with TotalEnergies.
In his capacity as Group Climate Director, Pierre spearheads Tikehau Capital’s impact investment platform that is constituted by more than 30 investments professionals in 7 countries and close to €3 billion of Asset Under Management. The Group’s impact platform focuses on climate and biodiversity-dedicated strategies that address the climate emergency and spans across all Tikehau Capital’s asset classes within private and public markets.
Managing Director, Head of Sustainability, Gulf Capital
Miray Zaki is a Managing Director at Gulf Capital where she is both the Head of Africa and the Head of Sustainability. Over the last few years, she co-ran a food security and sustainability focused fund, Planthesis, in the US and Europe.
Miray is the first ever female Chief Investment officer of a leading endowment in the Middle East, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable & Humanitarian Foundation, a position she held before co-founding Planthesis and following a decade as a senior investment professional with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
Miray Zaki managed investments totaling over $18 billion over the last 15 years. She is a twice-nominated Top 100 Most Influential Women in Finance by Dow Jones Financial News for both 2015 and 2016, and an award-winning Fulbright Scholar.
She has an MBA in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from the American University in Cairo, and she obtained her CFA Charter in 2010.
CEO, London Institute of Banking & Finance
Alex Fraser joined The London Institute of Banking & Finance (formerly ifs University College) as Chief Executive in March 2015 from Cass Business School, City University London, where he was Chief Operating Officer for six years.
His career has encompassed management roles in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He spent ten years working for a number of investment banks in a variety of operational roles; his last such post was as Head of Operations at Schroders in the late 1990s. Alex was appointed Logistics Director at HM Customs and Excise in 2000 and subsequently worked for a number of organisations in the not-for-profit sector prior to joining Cass in 2009.
VP MENA, World Bank
Ferid Belhaj took up the position of World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa on July 1, 2018. Prior to this, Mr. Belhaj served 15 months as the Chief of Staff of the President of the World Bank Group.
From 2012 to 2017, Mr. Belhaj was World Bank Director for the Middle East, in charge of World Bank work programs in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Iran, based in Beirut, Lebanon. In this capacity, he led the Bank engagement on the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the region, including the creation of new financing instruments to help countries hosting forcibly displaced people; the ramping up of the Bank drive towards the reconstruction and recovery of Iraq during and after the ISIS invasion and the scaling up of the Bank's commitments to Lebanon and Jordan.
Before taking up his Mashreq assignment, Mr. Belhaj served as World Bank Director for the Pacific Department (2009-2012), where he developed a regional strategy that scaled up Bank engagement in small and fragile states, and tripled lending operations of the International Development Agency, one of the five institutions under the umbrella of the World Bank Group that provides interest-free loans and grants for Low-Income Countries.
From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Belhaj was the World Bank’s Special Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he engaged with various UN agencies on a range of programs, mainly climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, fragile and postconflict states and the global financial and food crises. Ferid Belhaj served as World Bank Country Manager for Morocco (2002-2007), where he developed a new and multifaceted dialogue with one of the best performing MiddleIncome countries.
A Tunisian national, Mr. Belhaj joined the Bank in 1996 as Senior Counsel in the Legal Department, managing a number of legal and judicial reform projects. He also served as Bank Counsel for countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Algeria and Thailand
DORJEE SUN is a social and technology entrepreneur and investor. As CEO of Bioeconomy he works closely with Governments to value nature based carbon and biodiversity assets and with experience in distributed blockchain solutions in trade and financial instruments, he has worked to tokenise carbon assets. As a Co-founder of Perl.eco, Dorjee has led several ICOs, IEOs and is a Special Advisor to the ICC Secretary General. He is also an investor in 30+ startups and was advisor to Ren Project, Quadrant, PowerLedger, ThorChain and many others.
As a founder of Carbon Conservation, Dorjee secured carbon finance of $400M+ with project partners and clients such as Rio Tinto, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Olam and Twitter. One such project in Aceh, Indonesia, won the Carbon Finance Deal of the Year award and was also the subject of an award winning documentary, “The Burning Season”, narrated by Hugh Jackman and nominated for an Emmy Award. TIME Magazine named him a “Hero of the Environment” and the African Rainforest Conservancy honoured Dorjee with an Earth Day Award and by naming a newly discovered blue spotted species of chameleon from the Tanzania rainforest – the “Kinyongia dorjeesuni”.
Dorjee has been named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, CPA Top 20 Business Leaders, one of Esquire Magazine’s 5 Gentlemen of Philanthropy, he has won the Asialink Leaders Program Alumni Award, was named an Asia Society 21 Fellow, a World Cities Summit Future Leader, is on the board of Al Gore's Australian charity "Climate Reality" and his work has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, TIME, Esquire, ABC, PBS, BBC, Discovery, CNBC, Sydney Morning Herald, NASDAQ and other media outlets.
GCC Director, World Bank
Issam Abousleiman is the World Bank Regional Director for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries based in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He oversees the Bank’s portfolio of Reimbursable Advisory Services for the GCC through which the World Bank engages in strategic policy dialogue and provides technical assistance and capacity development sharing its global knowledge and experience.
Mr. Abousleiman has more than 25 years of experience with the World Bank in the strategic areas of country management, corporate finance, and international capital markets. He has held key, principal roles, including as the World Bank Country Manager for Colombia, the Head of Financial Advisory and Banking at the World Bank Treasury, and the Principal Investment Officer in the Banking & Debt Management Department. His regional expertise includes Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East regions.
Mr. Abousleiman is a graduate of the Harvard University Executive Management program and holds an MBA in finance and investment from George Washington University in Washington, DC, as well as an MBA in management from the American University of Beirut. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
CIO & Investment Committee Member, Vortex Energy
Bakr joined EFG Hermes in 2010, to lead the infrastructure and energy practice within MENA and Europe. Bakr co-lead the establishment of the Vortex Energy which grew to have AuMs of EUR 1.6bn and to be one of EMEA’s most prominent energy transition investment managers.
In 2021, Bakr has co-lead the establishment of Vortex Energy IV L.P., an energy transition fund based in ADGM (UAE), with a target size of USD 750m, where it achieved first close on USD 200m commitments from sovereigns, financial institutions and family offices, among others. In 2022, Vortex Energy IV and co-investors completed a EUR 300m investment in Ignis Energia, a leading European energy transition IPP with a pipeline capacity of 17GW.
From 2014 to 2020, Bakr was responsible for various entry and exit transactions, amounting to EUR 1.3bn and 822MW of wind and solar capacity in Europe and the UK.
Bakr holds an MBA from Imperial College Business School London, MSc. in Environmental Engineering and Project Management and MEng. in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds. Bakr also holds an International Baccalaureate.
Founder, SWD Futures
Fatimah Bello is the Founder and Managing Partner at SWD Futures (SWD), a carbon advisory and impact investment firm in Houston (US). At SWD, she is focused on supporting global energy transition ventures and adjacent enablers; she actively collaborates with impact-oriented organizations on strategic decarbonization pathways tailored to sustainable finance structures. Fatimah serves on multiple non-profit and for-profit boards and partners with mission-aligned organizations; partners include 8090 Industries (Operating Partner), Portfolia’s Green & Sustainability Fund (Investment Partner), Climate Impact Capital (Venture Partner), and Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator (Executive-in-Residence). Before SWD, Fatimah spent over 20 years in corporate intrapreneurship, corporate and business development, product management, and operations leadership roles at Heliogen, SABIC (Aramco), and Dow Chemical Company. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Rice University, a Master’s in Engineering Management from The University of Alberta, and a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from City College of New York.
CEO, Etihad Credit Insurance
Massimo Falcioni is the Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Credit Insurance, the national export credit agency of the UAE, mandated to reinforce the country’s economic diversification programs as well as to support its export and international trade and investment activities.
A seasoned and dynamic leader in the financial industry with over 30 years of solid business experience spent in the private and public sectors and led efforts focused on job creation, trade, economic development, multinationals and government companies’ growth. He has constantly produced sustained revenues and EBITA growth in both mature economies (Europe) and fast growing markets (Middle East & Africa), through a deep understanding of economic cycles and import / export trade flows.
He has held various CEO and directorial positions for multinational companies including Exxon-Mobil, Philip Morris International, Volkswagen Financial Services, Euler Hermes (Allianz) and Coface. A full mark graduated in Business and Managerial Economics from Sapienza University of Rome, Massimo is an international lecturer and expert in cross-cultural work settings, strategizing for various economies and organizational changes. His enthusiasm in these fields has earned him distinctions from various awardgiving bodies.
A champion of entrepreneurship and excellence, Massimo is a pioneer and an active member of some of the world's most prestigious business organizations. He is High Commissioner at WBAF (B20 Affiliate World Business Angel Forum); elected Vice President and Secretary General of the Italian Business Council for Dubai and Northern Emirates; Member of Aspen Institute as Italian Talents Abroad, founding member of the French Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates Healthcare Committee; member of the Board of Advisors - International Engagement at Diplomat; Board Member at CEO Clubs UAE; Advisory Board Member and Fellow at Al Khalifa Business School and member of Rotary Jumeirah Club.
Founder & CVO, FortyGuard
Jay is on a mission to cool cities. He holds a master’s degree in International Business from the University of Wollongong. He was ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as the Youngest Executive Director in the Middle East, in 2015.
Jay also co-founded Emirates Diyar in Digital Media and he was the General Direct of Total Support Holding. Born and raised in the UAE, Jay has more than 16 years of experience and he worked closely with government officials, international leaders, and royal family members in mega projects and investment portfolios.
President, Aspiration Group
Vinoda Basnayake is President of the MENA headquarters and Senior Advisor on Global Partnerships of Aspiration, a multi-billion dollar leading financial and sustainability services Public Benefit Corporation, which enables individuals, corporations, and governments around the world to reduce their carbon footprints through its global reforestation program and portfolio of high-quality, nature based carbon credits. Aspiration has been named one of the “World’s 50 Most innovative Companies” and “100 Most Brilliant Companies.” Prior to joining Aspiration, Basnayake was a partner at the international law firm Nelson Mullins LLP where he was the Chairman of the Sovereign Practice and the DC Government Relations Practice. Basnayake advised foreign governments on U.S. policy and on how best to enhance their relationships with the U.S. government and advocate their policy objectives.
Elias El Mrabet
Elias El Mrabet is the Co-founder and MENA Senior Advisor of Greenomy, a Brussels-based RegTech that provides sustainability reporting software and codifies green finance taxonomies being adopted worldwide. Elias graduated in Political Sciences & International Relations from the University of Brussels, Manchester University, and Sciences Po Bordeaux. As Project Manager, he previously worked at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan), and within the International Business Development department of EEM-World in Paris, Hong Kong, and New York. Elias is the Managing Partner of Elite Group, a Belgian based company that develops unique event concepts in the UAE and KSA. He is General Partner of Amal Ventures, a venture capital fund supporting Greentech innovations, and a board member of Duhami Company, a family-owned, joint-stock Saudi Arabian company, and market leader in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure.
Executive Director - Global Sustainability Office, Morgan Stanley
Mikael is Head of EMEA Sustainable Solutions at Morgan Stanley, where he collaborates with the Firm’s Institutional Securities and Investment Management businesses to scale sustainable finance across the region. During his time at the Firm, he has led the EMEA ESG Regulatory Programme, overseeing the implementation of multiple ESG product, disclosure and risk management requirements, and orchestrated the development of Morgan Stanley International’s sustainability strategy. He is a Member of Morgan Stanley’s EMEA ESG Committee and its Diversity Action Council.
Mikael started his career as an economist at HM Treasury before taking up a diplomatic posting at the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. On return to the Treasury in 2009, he led post-crisis reforms on bank recovery and resolution, before being appointed Deputy Director for financial sanctions, anti- money laundering and counter-terrorist financing and Head of the UK Delegation to the Financial Action Task Force. In 2013, Mikael joined the Financial Conduct Authority where he was responsible for leading a major programme of conduct and governance reforms in banking, including the Senior Managers Regime. Mikael left the FCA in 2015 to help establish the Banking Standards Board where he was Executive Director and member of the Board. At the BSB, Mikael conducted annual independent assessments of the major UK banks, working with boards and executive teams to identify where culture change was most needed, and partnered with firms, leading academics, and expert organisations to design and roll out interventions.
Alongside his work at Morgan Stanley, Mikael is a Trustee of the Finance Innovation Lab and a Fellow at the Forward Institute. He has been an Advisor to the City of London Corporation's Social Mobility Taskforce and an Honorary Lecturer at Queen Mary University London. He has an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and is studying for a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Ethics at the University of Leeds.
Researcher at Harvard University & Former Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley, Harvard University
Partner and COO, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
Stig Pastwa, Partner & COO, based in Copenhagen, is responsible for Strategy, Legal, Compliance, ESG, People, Public Affairs, Communication and chair of CI Service Company. Mr. Pastwa has extensive experience within management, leadership, growth, M&A and working in regulated entities under the FSA. Prior to joining CIP, Mr. Pastwa was CFO of TDC A/S, which is the leading Telco, Cable and Entertainment business in Denmark. Previously Mr. Pastwa was CFO of RSA Insurance Nordic, CFO and Interim CEO of DSB, CCO at Saxo Bank A/S, COO at ISS A/S and held various management roles for A.P. Møller-Maersk A/S. Mr. Pastwa holds a Graduate Diploma in Finance and Accounting from Copenhagen Business School and a PED from IMD.
Head of Sustainable Finance, West, Standard Chartered
Lina is the Regional Head of Sustainable Finance, West at Standard Chartered Bank, which encompasses the regions of MENA, Africa, Europe and the Americas. She has over 15 years of banking experience in Corporate Finance primarily and in investment banking, delivering innovative deal origination and execution across various industries and regions. Lina has also developed a number of strong banking relationships with sovereign wealth funds and other financial sponsors in MENA, and advises clients on sustainable finance solutions and transition opportunities. She is also a board member of the MENA Clean Energy Business Council (“CEBC”). Lina holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the American University of Sharjah, and an MBA with distinction from London Business School.
Group Head of the HSBC Centre of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change MENAT, HSBC
Zoë Knight is an expert and authority in the ESG field, having served stakeholders across capital markets for 25 years. Identifying that climate change would be a game changer, in 2007 she set up a socially responsible investment research team at Merrill Lynch.
In 2010, Zoë joined the Global Research business of HSBC to provide institutional investors with climate change analysis and recommendations. Since then she has produced insights on low-carbon opportunities in bond and equity markets, long-term carbon and water risks and managing financial stability in relation to climate change. Her Keeping it Coolseries of briefings on climate policy, economics and investment ideas achieved a number one analyst ranking for climate change research by institutional investors in industry awards from 2014to 2017.
In 2018, Zoë set up the Centre of Sustainable Finance at HSBC to provide climate insight across the group. The Centre provides thought leadership about transforming the real economy and strengthening the financial system response to climate change. Centre achievements include collaborating with 45 academic and industry partners across 15 countries to produce over 150 pieces of work.
Prior to HSBC, Zoë worked in both a major European and US investment bank. An economist by academic background, she brings her unique knowledge to bear across a range of organisations, including the UK All Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, UK Finance, the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. In addition, she is a regular contributor to the academic agenda, and is a contributing author to ‘Investment opportunities for a low-carbon world’, 2009. Currently, she is a Commissioner on the Energy Transition Commission, sits on the Advisory Board of the UKCentre for Greening Finance and Investment and the WEF Global Future Council on Net Zero Transition.
In 2020, she was recognised as one of 275 Global female energy influencers by the Women’s Energy Council. In 2021 she featured in ‘The Female Lead’, a book of 67 women changing the world today and in 2022 she was included in the Financial News inaugural list of the fifty most influential people in Sustainable Finance.
Akhil has more than 25 years of industry experience working in different sectors such as Telecommunication, IT, Security, Electric Vehicle and Retail.
After co-founding different startups in sustainability sector, he is currently working to promote sustainable and safe mobility in the cities of future. After travelling to almost all the continents of the world and being a father of two teenagers, Akhil can forsee the future of micro-mobility in smart cities and with our platform we want to make the future of micro mobility not only sustainable but fun and safe for future generations.
CEO, FSRA, ADGM
Emmanuel Givanakis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), where he oversees the financial services regulatory framework that governs the activities of ADGM and its registered entities.
Emmanuel joined ADGM in October 2014 as the Head of Policy & Legal, overseeing the establishment of ADGM’s legislative framework, which was a pivotal step in the creation of ADGM as an international financial center. In addition to his remit, Emmanuel manages the enforcement function of the FSRA.
Under his direction, the Policy & Legal team has won several awards at the prestigious annual In-House Community Counsels of the Year Awards in 2019 and 2020 consecutively. These awards include the In-House Community Legal Team of the Year 2020 on Financial Services”, Middle East In-House Legal Team of the year 2019”, “In-House Community Legal Team of the Year 2019 on Banking”, and “In-House Community Legal Team of the Year 2019 and 2020 on Innovation”.
His financial services regulatory expertise and management experience span over 20 years. Prior to joining ADGM, Emmanuel held a number of senior legal roles and leadership and management positions in both Australia and the UAE, including senior positions at the Dubai Financial Services Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
His extensive knowledge and skills include legal, policy, regulatory risk and compliance (prudential and conduct of business) as well as corporate governance, which place him in a strong position to ensure the timely identification of risks and their mitigation. Emmanuel’s interest and expertise in financial services, in particular asset management covers licencing, supervisory and enforcement of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Private Equity Funds, Venture Capital and Hedge Funds.
Emmanuel holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology, as well as holding qualifications in Islamic Finance and a Graduate Diploma in Company Secretarial Practice (Governance Institute of Australia).
He has been practicing law for over 26 years after being admitted to the Bar in Australia in 1994 (Queensland New South Wales and the High Court of Australia).In 2003, in recognition of his work at the Australian Investments Commission he was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal (National Australia Day Council Achievement Award).
Radio Presenter, Dubai Eye
Richard is one of Dubai’s most experienced business journalists. Born and raised in the UK, he moved to Dubai in 1998, covering the region for some of the world’s leading media outlets including the Financial Times, The Economist and Reuters. As a broadcaster, Richard was launch presenter of Dubai Eye’s award-winning Business Breakfast show back in 2006. He moved to London as anchor presenter with Bloomberg Radio before returning to Dubai Eye. Richard earned the nickname “The Three Degrees” for his qualifications in economics, history and mass communication. He lives in Dubai with his wife, two sons and two pugs. When not on air, he enjoys taking part in marathons and triathlons.
Senior Executive Officer, Masdar Green REIT
Anthony has over fifteen years' experience within the institutional real estate market. He was appointed Senior Executive Officer of Masdar Capital Management in 2020, the Fund Manager for Masdar Green REIT. He also holds the title of Head of Real Estate at Emirates NBD Asset Management since 2018 having previously been Fund Manager, Real Estate at Emirates NBD Asset Management since 2012. He has had a key part in building ENBD REIT's institutional portfolio and its subsequent listing on the Nasdaq Dubai in March 2017.
Prior to Emirates NBD Asset Management, Anthony was an Asset Manager at Public Investment Corporation (South Africa) managers to Africa's largest government pension fund, and prior to that a Professional Valuer at Old Mutual Properties (South Africa). He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS), a registered valuer and holds Bachelor of Science Honours in Property Studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa