Supported by



Thursday 5th March - 9am - 1.30pm

Location: Arab British Chamber of Commerce 43 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1K 2NJ

The Arab British Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Embassy of The Sultanate of Oman is hosting this unique event to explore the potential for increasing the levels of trade and investment between the two countries.

Ties between the UK and Oman are historic, enduring and valued by both sides. Their friendship has continued unbroken since a formal agreement was reached in 1800 and its 220th anniversary will be marked in 2020.

Bilateral trade between Oman and the UK is on the increase, soaring 90% to around $3.713 billion (RO1.4 billion) in 2018, compared to 2016, according to official figures; an increase that highlights the strength of relations between the two countries.

Opportunities in Oman takes place as the sultanate steps up its diversification drive which is creating new opportunities across key sectors such as education, tourism, healthcare, metals & minerals, fisheries, logistics, food and water.

As 2020 sees the 220th anniversary of the formal agreement between Oman and the UK which has led to more than two centuries of unbroken friendship and cooperation, the event will be attended by Omani businesses among a delegation headed by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Ithraa, the sultanate’s inward investment and export development agency.

Opportunities in Oman will bring together a panel of experts to offer insights into these issues and will seek to identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration with Oman.



H.E Mr Qais Mohammed Al Yousef, Chairman, Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI)

Qais Mohammed Al Yousef – the current elected Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI), since February 2018.  Earlier he was an elected Board Member of the OCCI from 2014 to 2018 and Chairman of its Economic Affairs Committee and Audit Committee. Qais is the Chief Executive Officer of the Al Yousef Group (AYG), a diversified investment holding company, established in 1977 in Oman.  AYG has investments in Logistics, Financial Services, Oil & Gas Services, Electronics, and Industrial Investments. He is a board member in a number of public companies in Oman, namely: Chairman of Voltamp Energy SAOG – transformers and switchgear manufacturing company; Chairman of Nomination, Remuneration & Executive Committee and Board Member of Al Anwar Holdings SAOG – an investment holding Company; and Chairman of Oman Chromite SAOG. 

Qais is a Board Member of The Research Council, The Public Authority for SME Development (Riyada) and the  the Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development (Ithraa). Qais holds a Masters’ in Business Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (USA) and a Bachelors in Economics from Williams College (USA).  He has also attended the Senior Executives Program at Harvard Business School and various executive and leadership programs at the London Business School. Qais is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.


Lord Astor of Hever, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Oman

Lord (John Jacob "Johnny") Astor, 3rd Baron Astor of Hever, PC DL is an English businessman and politician. He is a Conservative elected hereditary peer in the House of Lords. Astor was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence and the Lords spokesman on Defence from May 2010 - May 2015. His policy interests include Agriculture, animals, food and rural affairs, Defence, International Affairs. In 1994, Lord Astor was a British Parliamentary Observer in Johannesburg during the South African General Election. He was a member of the Executive, Association of Conservative Peers from 1996–1998. In 1999 he was elected to continue as a member of the House of Lords. From 1998–2001, he served as an Opposition Spokesman on Social Security and Health from 1998–2003. From 2001, he has been an Opposition Spokesman for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, and International Development, from 2003 to 2010, Opposition Spokesman for Defence, and from 2010 to 2011 a Lord in Waiting. Lord Astor was appointed by the Prime Minister to be the UK Trade Envoy to Oman in February 2016.


Mr Azzan bin Qassim Al Busaidi, CEO, ITHRAA - The Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development

Azzan bin Qassim Al Busaidi, worked as an economist at several departments relevant to research, investments, and marketing in Oman. He is the CEO of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development (Ithraa). He holds a degree in Economics from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He was seconded to the Implementation Support and Follow-up unit in The Diwan of Royal Court. Azzan participated in many regional and international events either to promote Investments to Oman or in the field of Economic Policy.


Mr Gareth Stevens, Director Trade and Investment, Department for International Trade - British Embassy Muscat

Gareth Stevens has been the International Trade Director in British Embassy Muscat since June 2017. He leads a high-performing team focussed on helping and supporting UK companies to win export contracts, and more generally to be successful operating in Oman; Gareth is personally responsible for leading DIT’s Defence & Security campaign in-country. Prior to his secondment to DIT, he was Private Secretary to the UK Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for two years. In this role, Gareth ran the Private Office and directly supported and advised the CSA on effective delivery of the Department’s science and technology programme (annual spend of ~£400m) to address both the current and future needs of the Armed Forces.

Previously (2013 – 2015), Gareth ran the team responsible for developing the UK’s bilateral defence relationship with Germany – a role which involved championing, coordinating and supporting a high tempo of Ministerial engagement, including leading on the Defence Secretary’s participation in two consecutive Munich Security Conferences. Since joining the Ministry of Defence in 2008, Gareth has enjoyed a varied career with a strong cross-Government focus. Other postings have included time as a Middle-East focussed Defence exports adviser; a stint working with industry and regulatory bodies to develop the technical evidence base to support MOD releasing military radio spectrum to the commercial market; and a short tour in the Defence Section of British Embassy Washington. Gareth holds a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, is married to Emilie; and enjoys all sport, walking his dog, and travelling.


Mr Jonathan Dowell, Export Finance Manager, UK Export Finance

Jonathan has been with UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency since 2014. Currently Jonathan works as an Export Finance Manager acting as a local point of contact for Exporters and businesses with export potential wanting to find out more information about how UKEF can help.

Prior to this role, Jonathan was a Senior Underwriter within UKEF supporting UK Exporters in the civil, infrastructure and energy sectors. Over the course of his career, Jonathan has specialised in customer relationship roles, providing guidance and services to corporate and professional clients. He brings to the role considerable knowledge of the finance available to help companies export and relationship management experience.


9:30 - 10:00am

Registration, Coffee & Networking 

10:00 - 10:05am

Opening Remarks: Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, Deputy CEO & Secretary General, ABCC

10:05 - 10:10am

Welcoming Remarks: Mr Bandar Reda, CEO and Secretary General, ABCC

10:10 - 10:15am

10:15 -10:30am

ABES2020 Introduction: Ms Rita Massoud, Senior Manager, ABCC

H.E Mr Qais Mohammed Al Yousef, Chairman, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry

10:30 - 10:45am

Lord Astor of Hever, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Oman

10:45 - 11:00am

Mr Azzan bin Qassim Al Busaidi, CEO, ITHRAA - The Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development

11:00 - 11:15am

Mr Gareth Stevens, Director Trade and Investment, Department for International Trade - British Embassy Muscat

11:15 - 11:30am

11:30 - 12:00pm

Mr Jonathan Dowell, Export Finance Manager, UK Export Finance

Q&A Session

12:00 - Onwards

Lunch Networking Reception

Ticket Prices

Non Members : £25 (+VAT)

ABCC Members : £10 (+VAT)

If you a member and wish to register please contact our membership officer,  Dr Lamya Al-Imara (+44 207 659 4865 /

Sponsorship Opportunities

Get more information on the benefits of partnering with the ABCC. Download a copy of the brochure 

Download The Sponsorship Brochure 

For more details please contact:

Mr Rachid Kadouri T:+44(0) 207 659 4889 / E: