16th February, 2021
The ABCC held its first members’ networking event of 2021 on Tuesday 16 February.
The networking events provide a platform for ABCC members in a diverse range of sectors to showcase their company’s products and services, to share ideas and to communicate with each other.
Mr Bandar Reda, ABCC Secretary General & CEO, formally opened the session and welcomed the speakers. He urged members to contact the Chamber about how the services can help them and stated that feedback was encouraged.
Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, Deputy CEO & Secretary General, ABCC, delivered a presentation concerning the history and role of the Chamber. He stressed how friendship through trade guided the Chamber’s activities and explained that friendship helped build long-term business partnerships. The chamber did not act alone but was an official body established by the League of Arab States in 1975.
Mr El-Idrissi pointed out that the chamber had a small but effective team of staff, alongside an influential circle of friends on whom it could draw support and strength. These strategic partners, encompassing business and government in the UK and the Arab world, included the Arab ambassadors, union of Arab chambers, UK chambers and the Department for International Trade, as well as the members themselves.
He stated that Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit had posed significant challenges to trade patterns but stressed the growing potential of doing business with the Arab world. In this respect, the Arab Certificate of Origin remained the key document for shipping to the Arab markets and was unaffected by any of the recent changes.
The chamber’s activities and publications aimed to keep members in touch with opportunities in the Arab markets, Mr El-Idrissi stated. Click here to view Mr El-Idrissi presentation
The first speaker was Mr Aly Kuly Khan, Country Director, UK&I, Abacus Cambridge Partners, a technology consultancy with a strong presence in the Middle East.
Mr Khan looked at the digital transformation that was occurring in business which had been accelerated in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and the need to find new ways of doing business.
The company aimed to be a key transformation partner helping clients in their adoption of digitalisation to suit their businesses. Businesses would need to rethink their aims and objectives, work patterns and methods as the economy shifted to a new model of digital technology.
Abacus, a Gold Member of the ABCC, offered a customised service that could assist chief executives in adopting the best tools and technology to give them the edge in their sector. Click here to view Abacus presentation .....
The next speaker, Ms Zoe Buckingham, was a marketing and public relations consultant with over 15 years’ experience working worldwide. The firm, Zoe Buckingham Ltd, of which she was managing director, helped businesses brand recognition, sales, marketing and public relations. Its services were delivered in Arabic and English. The company was involved in organising events and increasingly in digital activities during the pandemic. Click here to view Zoe's presentation...
Ms Ayda Habboush, Partner, Trowers & Hamlims LLP, introduced the international law firm and explained that it had offices around the Middle East, in particular in the Gulf, where it was located in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Trowers was also part of a global network of law firms which gave it a presence in countries where it did not have its own offices by working closely with its legal partners. Trowers specialised in helping clients in the Middle East and in assisting Arab investors in the UK with real estate being one of its main areas of activity. Click here to view Trowers & Hamlins LLP presentation ....
Mr Andrew Elia, Managing Director, Arishi, explained that the company was involved in delivering the next level of technology to international clients and had worked with numerous big brand corporations on high end technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and fintech. Arishi, with offices in the UK and Abu Dhabi, worked with government bodies, banks and large companies to help them along the journey of adapting to new technology. Click here to view Arishi's presentation ....
Mr Nouri Bakkali, Managing Director, Diligencia, said that his company provided services that were aimed at bringing more clarity and transparency to doing business in the Middle East.
Established in 2008 and based in Oxford, Diligencia provided its clients with vital company information on potential partners and customers with the aim of making commercial activities more efficient. Click here to view Diligencia presentation ....
The final speaker to deliver a presentation, Mr Benjamin Llewelyn, Principal, Oxford International Study Centre (OISC), introduced the variety of courses that the college and training centre was able to provide for children and adult learners. Services ranged from customised courses for those who wanted to learn English as a foreign language, to management training and leadership skills. Speakers agreed that the webinar was valuable in enabling members with common interests to communicate and share ideas that would be useful to their businesses. Click here for more details of OISC....
During the discussion and questions that followed the speakers were invited to indicate what prompted them to join the ABCC and what they were able to achieve for their businesses through being a member.
Mr Aly Khan believed that expertise that Abacus offered was extremely relevant to businesses around the Middle East and welcomed the opportunity to participate in the webinar.
Ms Buckingham addressed the issue of key changes in the marketing industry over the past 15 years by stressing that companies now had to be more aware of the rapidly changing technology. The main challenge was to make technology more accessible and human centred, She hoped to be able to cooperate with other ABCC members with projects in future.
Ms Habboush stated that companies needed to be aware of the legal challenges posed by the pandemic and said that while relationship building was vital factor in business success, there remained a need to fully scrutinise the terms of a contract prior to making any agreement. She pointed out that Trowers & Hamlins had been a member of the ABCC for many years and was always ready to support other member companies.
Mr Elia indicated that he had initially heard about the ABCC from the DIT and his local chamber of commerce. In joining the chamber, he hoped that Arishi could help build bridges between companies engaged in Arab-British commercial activities and was keen to work with other members who had similar business interests.
Mr Bakkali was asking about the availability of data on firms in the Arab countries and hoped to see an equivalent of the UK Companies House existing throughout the region and all over Africa.
He said that countries like Morocco and the GCC states already possessed similar bodies and that transparency in doing business was increasing as a priority. It was becoming much easier to obtain accurate data on Arab based companies.
Mr Llewelyn said that OISC did not only offer business and management training but was able to provide courses on far wider topics. It sought to encourage its students to look deeply into the cultural aspects of the UK and saw this as a means of enhancing the learning process.
All participants agreed that the ABCC provided an important platform to enable their companies to reach out to new clients.
The members were thanked by Mr Reda and Mr El-Idrissi for their contributions to what was a very useful discussion. Mr Reda said that the exchange of ideas had been extremely valuable and stressed that points made by the speakers would be followed up by the chamber.Back To 2021 Gallery