AmCham MENA Council

Day 2: Speaker Biographies:

Session IV: Towards an Interconnected Region: Transportation and Logistics Solutions

Ms. Abir Leheta, Co-Chair, AmCham Transport and Logistics Committee; and Chairman and CEO, Egyptian Transport & Commercial Services Co., SAE (Egytrans)

Mr. Mamoun Toukan, Co-Founder, Arqflow, Inc. Jordan

Mamoun is head of Business Development at Arab Transit, a Shipping and Logistics company based in Jordan. He is a co-founder and the CEO of Arqflow, a cloud platform founded by MIT alums, that helps businesses streamline supply chain workflows while collaborating with their network partners. Mamoun has over 10 years of theoretical expertise and direct experience in Shipping and Logistics and has been involved in projects focusing on digitization and integrating processes. He holds a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management from MIT and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Toronto. 

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO – Logistics, Dubai South

Mohsen Ahmad oversees Dubai South’s entire Logistics District as its chief executive officer. Having set up its free zone and established the Dubai Logistics Corridor, which connects Jebel Ali Port with Al Maktoum International Airport via a single, custom-bonded zone, Mohsen leads the overall execution of the district’s operations, manages its financial planning, and is responsible for setting the district’s strategic directions and goals. He was also instrumental in laying the groundwork for future developments to ensure the district’s sustainable growth.

Anticipating the rapid growth of e-commerce and witnessing the growing number of international and regional movers in Dubai, Mohsen championed the development of EZDubai, a purpose built e-commerce hub that supports the growth of the sector through state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure within the Logistics District. Additionally, as an industry veteran, he played an instrumental role in developing Dubai’s overall e-commerce strategy to consolidate the emirate’s position as a hub for global e-commerce.

Mohsen joined Dubai South in 2008 following more than twelve years’ experience in the supply chains and logistics sector, having held management posts at Al Futtaim Logistics and tenure as head of inbound logistics at Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL).

He had set his sights early on a career in supply chain and logistics, with a bachelor’s degree in logistics and transportation from the University of Tennessee, USA and a Master of Science in logistics and supply chain management from Cranfield University School of Management, United Kingdom.

Session Chair: Ms. Noura Mehyar, Nafeth Logistics, Jordan (confirmed)

Session V: Preserving the Environment: Climate Change, Water Management and Clean Energy Solutions

 Ms. Sarah El Battouty, AmCham Egypt Member of the Board; and Chairman and Principal Architect, ECOnsult

Sarah El Battouty is the Chairman and founder of Egypt’s award-winning environmental architectural consultancy ECOnsult, which was selected as a Global Impact company by the UN in 2018 because of its commitment to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals. At ECOnsult, El Battouty’s vision is to create environmental portfolios for companies and raise sustainability awareness in businesses in Egypt and beyond.

El Battouty is an advisor to the Egyptian Presidency on development since 2014 with successes in ratifying global agreements such as Egypt’s signing of the Paris Agreement and input in the UN Population Fund’s Cairo Declaration on Population & Development. Her expertise is in rural development and project management with a focus on climate change and equity. She represents Egypt on several international panels and has contributed to editorials on policy in The Guardian and Independent newspapers.
Currently she is co-chairing AmCham Egypt’s Corporate Impact & Sustainability Committee, and is a co-founder of the Egypt’s Green Building Council.

In 2017 she joined the Advisory Board of the American University of Cairo’s School of Sciences and Engineering – Department of Architecture. She is also a Board Member of the Egyptian Stock Exchange’s Sustainability Committee.
El Battouty earned her bachelor’s degree and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, UK. Following her studies in Environmental Economics, she was awarded an MSc in Sustainable Development Policy from SOAS and is now a fellow member at the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy, UK.

Dr. Dureid Mahasneh, Chairman, EDAMA, Jordan

Mr. Khaled Hashem, President, North Africa, Honeywell

Ms. Rina Latash, Admiral Energy MEA (Dubai)

 Session Chair: Mr. Samer Judeh, Chairman, Jordan Wind Project Company (JWPC)

Co-founder and Chairman of the Jordan Wind Project Company PSC. Mr. Judeh has been instrumental in the development, construction, operation and management of the 117-mega-watt Tafila Wind Farm, the first and largest privately sponsored utility scale wind farm in the region. He was also the founder and Chairman of Shamsuna Power Company, which developed, constructed and is currently operating the first utility scale solar project to connect to the Jordanian national grid. Mr. Judeh has been an active member of the renewable energy sector since 2007, and has been a key player in the negotiation of contracts and the implementation of laws and regulations for the industry. A Jordanian businessman, Mr. Judeh has over 30 years of experience in managing a wide range of initiatives in the fields of renewable energy, information technology, security and infrastructure. His extensive international business experience affords him key insight into the development and management of large-scale projects as well as the establishment and deployment of innovative enterprises. He is also a Board member and Vice Chair of EDAMA, Board Member and Board Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan. Samer was also a Board Member of the School of Medicine at Jordan University prior to becoming a Board member of the Jordan University Hospital. He is also a Member of the Board of Advisors at the Centre for Contemporary Arab studies, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University and a member of the energy Committee of the National Economic Workshop.

Samer is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington DC, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (MSB’86) and a Master’s degree in Arab Studies (International Affairs and Government) (MAAS’88).

Session VI: The New Workplace and Closing the Gender Gap

Ms. Kholoud Saqqaf, CEO, Social Security Investment Fund

Ms. Saqqaf holds a Master's degree in Economics and has more than 25 years’ experience of banking, finance and financial regulation. Currently, she serves as Chief Executive Officer/ Vice Chairman of the Board of Social Security Investment Fund (SSIF).

Ms. Saqqaf began her career at the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company’s Research & Development Department for four years. She then moved to the Central Bank of Jordan where she held several positions during the periods 1993 – 2004, 2006 -2012 including Executive Manager of the Banking Supervision Department and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan; thus, being the first Arab Woman to occupy such a regulatory position. Ms. Saqqaf has a strong background in Corporate Governance, Internal Control and Islamic Banking, she prepared Corporate Governance guidelines, including preparation of Banks’ Directors’ Handbook of Corporate Governance / 2004, as well as establishing Internal Control regulations addressed to banks operating in Jordan.

In addition to the above, Ms. Saqqaf gained quite good experience in the insurance industry as she served as the Director of the Research Department at the Insurance Commission of Jordan during the period 2004-2006. Ms. Saqqaf joined Arab Bank in 2012 as Executive Vice President, Country Manager of Jordan& Palestine then she was appointed as Executive Vice President, Group Risk Management in Nov. 2013 until October 2018 when she joined SSIF.

Ms. Saqqaf served in different capacities on the Boards of the Central Bank of Jordan (Vice Chairperson), Jordan Mortgage Refinance Company (Chairperson), Social Security Corporation, Insurance Commission, Arab National Leasing Company and on the National Committee for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing. Moreover, she served as Vice Chairman on the board of the first Jordanian Credit Bureau Company CRIF- Jordan, Ethmar Islamic Microfinance Company, Business Development Centre. She also served as the President of the Board of the International Women's Forum – Jordan Chapter (2018-2021).  

Amongst her current Board memberships are SSIF Investment Board (Vice Chairperson), the Social Security Corporation, Royal Jordanian Airlines Company and the Center for Strategic Studies.

Mr. Rasem Kamal, Managing Partner, Kamal & Associates, Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Rasem Kamal is the managing partner of Kamal & Associates - Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law (Kamal & Associates). Since he founded the law office in 2007, Mr. Kamal has been the leading attorney at Kamal & Associates, and has been providing legal services to dozens of Palestinian and international clients coming from government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, donor-funded projects, as well as private individuals.

Mr. Kamal has also co-authored and participated in the drafting (as well as advocacy) efforts of numerous other laws and by-laws in Palestine, including, among others, Palestinian Telecom Regulatory Commission Law (2009), Competition Draft Law (2009), Companies Law Draft Amendment (2008), Microfinance Companies Licensing Draft Regulations (2008), Consumer Protection Draft By-laws (2009), Commercial Agents Law Amendment (2009).

Before starting his own law office, Mr. Kamal worked for the Palestine Investment Fund as a Program Manager (2006-2007). Between 2003-2006, Mr. Kamal worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Bank and Gaza Mission, during which he managed and led USAID’s rule of law portfolio in the West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Kamal was the lead specialist within USAID on U.S. Government assistance to the Palestinian judiciary, public prosecution, Ministry of Justice, as well as the informal justice sector.

Mr. Kamal is a holder of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Northwestern University in Chicago and the Tel Aviv University (2016), a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the University of San Francisco in California, U.S. (where he was enrolled in his graduate studies as a Fulbright Scholar) (2000), as well as a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the University of Jordan in Amman (1998). He also taught law at Birzeit University School of Law between (2007) and (2009). Mr. Kamal is also an accredited legal translator by the Ministry of Justice.

Dr. Eymen Errais, AmCham Tunis Member of the Board; and CEO and Co- founder of Mena Capital Partners (MCP)

Ms. Jenny Atout Ahlzen, Managing Partner, Amam Ventures, Jordan.

Jenny is a Co-Founder and Partner at Amam Ventures, a gender lens impact fund in the Middle East. She has deep experience in investment management and, she has been featured among the top women in VC in MENA. Jenny is passionate about supporting tech-enabled companies committed to equal opportunities and empowering more women towards the front as business owners, managers, and employees.

Prior to co-founding Amam, Jenny worked as an Investment Principal at Silicon Badia, a VC fund investing in tech-enabled ventures and also worked closely with BeyondCapital, a Jordanian ecosystem enabler.

Prior to VC, Jenny was the Head of Asset Management at Awraq Investments. Jenny is a Chartered Financial Analyst, serves at the CFA Society Jordan Board, and an independent board member at the microfinance institution Vitas Jordan. 

H.E. Nesreen Barakat, Founder and Managing director, To-Excel Consulting, Former Minister of Social Development, Minister of Public Sector Development and General Director of the National Aid Fund

Former Minister, Nesreen Barakat, received a BSc. in Computer Science and Information Technology from the University of Jordan (UJ) in 1990, and an MBA from the Business School at Durham University in the UK in 1995. In 2014, Mrs. Barakat was listed as one of the Forbes 200 most powerful Arab women.

Mrs. Barakat has more than 25 years' experience of working with the government, international organizations, civil society and the private sector in areas of economic and social development.

In 2005, Mrs. Barakat founded 'To-Excel Consulting', an innovative boutique company that specializes in providing evidence-based services in the fields of monitoring and evaluation, qualitative and quantitative research, situation analyses, capacity building, strategic planning and socio-economic development and recovery.

She served as the Managing Director of the National Aid Fund, before which she was appointed Minister of Public Sector Development (2010-2011), and then held the portfolio of Minister of Social Development (2011- 2012).

Beyond her day-to-day work as CEO of To-Excel, Mrs. Barakat utilizes her skills and experiences to contribute to a number of organisations and important causes across Jordan. She is a member of the National Center for Human Rights Board of Trustees and a board member of the Central Bank of Jordan. Prior to that, she was a Member of the Greater Amman Municipality City Council, Economic Advisor to the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and member of the UNWOMEN NGO Advisory Group in Jordan, the Business and Professional Women Association (BPWA), fellowship member of Vital Voices and founding member of different Associations.

Session VII: Financing Regional Growth

Mr. Andy Abell, Regional Lead for the Middle East and North Africa; and Manager, Joint Investment for Peace Initiative, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Mr. Abdullah Jefri, Country Manager, Levant Region, IFC

Heike Harmgart, Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Heike Harmgart is the Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Based in Cairo, Dr Harmgart is responsible for the formulation and delivery of EBRD’s strategy and business plan for the SEMED region currently including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and West Bank and Gaza. She manages a team of 150 staff with an annual business volume of over €2 billion.

A German national, Dr Harmgart joined the EBRD in 2006 as an economist. In 2013 she became EBRD’s first Head of Office in Jordan, based in Amman. She was appointed Director for the Eastern Mediterranean after EBRD expanded under her local leadership into Lebanon and West Bank and Gaza in 2017.

Dr. Harmgart serves as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Agenda for Fragility and Resilience.

She has been selected by Forbes Middle East in 2020 and 2021 as one of the 10 most powerful women in business in the Middle East.
Prior to joining EBRD she worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She holds a PhD in economics from University College London.

Mr. Rafik Mzah, AmCham Tunis Member of the Board; and Chief Legal Officer, AfricInvest

Rafik Mzah is Chief Legal Officer at AfricInvest, and a Member of the Board of AmCham Tunis. AfricInvest is the first private equity fund management company in the Maghreb and one of the leading players in Sub-Saharan Africa with over US$750mn of assets under management, sponsored by prestigious DFIs, private and institutional investors and operating out of 6 main offices: Tunis, Abidjan, Algiers, Casablanca, Lagos, and Nairobi.

Before joining AfricInvest, Mr. Mzah was an Associate Lawyer at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Paris, where his practice focused on corporate and financial matters, particularly mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions.

Mr. Mzah graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC) Business School in Paris. He received a Masters in Business Law and a Masters in Financial, Banking and Capital Markets Law from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. Mr. Mzah is a member of the Paris Bar.

Mr. Ayman Soliman, Chief Executive Officer, The Sovereign Fund of Egypt

Mr. Ayman Mohamed Soliman is the Chief Executive Officer, The Sovereign Fund of Egypt and brings 22 years of experience managing a group of 200+ companies, spanning a diverse set of industries, with a global investment and transaction record of accomplishment, and a long-standing track record in managing complex assets and running mega transactions. Over the past 17 years, Mr. Soliman served as a board member of a wide range of companies with various capacities with Orascom Investment Holding, Beltone Financial, La Mancha Holding (Gold mining), Euronews plc, RiverBank (SME Banks in Europe), Auerbach Grayson (USA), Texegy (Oil & Gas USA), Ora Developers BV (Real estate), Nile Sugar Co (Egypt), Ezdehar Fund to name a few.

Mr. Omar Elwir

Session Chair: Mr. Vasken Ajamian, Chief Banking Officer, The Housing Bank for Trade & Trading, Jordan