Risk Management receives increased focus in the UAE

MENA Strategies contributes to enhancing risk management practices in the UAE and the region

In collaboration with MENA Strategies, a risk management consulting firm based in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, the RIMS Risk Forum Middle East, held on December 7 & 8 at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai, drew government officials, prominent risk managers from the MENA region and international corporations, such as Associated Insurance Consultants, Control Risks, Du, Emirates Insurance Association, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Emirates Transport, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, MENA Strategies, Middle East Insurance Review, Nesma & Partners, New Dawn Risk Group, New York University, and Zain Group.
Supported by the Ministry of Tourism and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, the Risk Forum’s program began with a keynote address by Major Mohamed Al Marri, Director General of the GDRFA in Dubai, highlighting that “risk avoidance is not an option, managing risk is”. Adding to this notion, Melissa Aoun, Managing Director at MENA Strategies stated that “In Arabic, the word Risk literally translates to Danger (خطر) and through our involvement in various trainings and educational events in the MENA region, we are working on making sure that it is not understood as such. This can be achieved by understanding and controlling potential risks facing an organization and integrating them into its corporate strategy.”
The forum continued with interactive panel discussions, all chaired by Melissa Aoun, starting with an update on the MENA insurance market and the increasingly important role of risk management in the insurance industry. A panel discussion on Energy risk followed, during which Abdulla Al Khatib, Finance Controller at ENOC, identified political instability, cyber risk, as well as health and safety as the top risks facing oil companies. “Oil and Gas companies need to integrate Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs to better manage risks”, adds Bader Al Shumaimri,Manager of Risk Management at Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. 
On the second day of the forum, the discussions tackled connecting risk to corporate strategy, showing the value of the transition to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and turning cyber risk vulnerabilities into opportunities. Samer Omar, Director of Security Risk Management Operations at du, highlighted that the 2015 average per capita cost per data breach in the UAE and KSA is around $122, with an average number of breached records per incident of 29,199, thus accumulating to an estimated $3.8 Million total cost (indirect and direct) of data breach in the UAE and KSA.
“The UAE is ahead of other countries in the GCC area in terms of risk management understanding, and after getting encouraging feedback from attendees and speakers, MENA Strategies will continue to cooperate with key regional and international corporations in order to initiate further events that focus on risk management” commented Melissa Aoun.
About MENA Strategies
MENA Strategies® is a risk management and strategic consultancy firm based in Lebanon with operations in the Middle East and North Africa region. The firm focuses on aligning corporate strategy with risk management practices; compliance and corporate governance; crisis communication, as well as setting up an enterprise risk management program for clients in various industries. MENA Strategies recently launched the Entrepreneurship Outreach program, to promote the integration of risk-based decision-making and opportunity-driven corporate strategy in startups and family businesses. For more information on MENA Strategies, visit www.MENAstrategies.com