Financial News (FN), a London-based financial newspaper, selected six Egyptians among its list of the 50 Most influential Women in Middle East Finance.
The six women include Yasmin Al Gharbawie, General Counsel at Qalaa Holdings; Soha Ali, Executive Director and Senior Country Officer Egypt and North Africa at JPMorgan Chase; Noha El Ghazaly, Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking at Pharos Holding for Financial Investments; Maha Heba EnayetAlla, head of Strategy, Development, and Governance Sector at Banque Misr; Mervat Zohdy Soltan, Chair and chief executive at Export Development Bank of Egypt; and Mona Zulficar, a founding partner and chair of the Executive Committee of Zulficar & Partners.
Daily News Egypt sheds the light on the careers of those successful ladies.
Yasmin Al Gharbawie
She was ranked 11th among the most 50 influential women in the finance sector, according to FN. Lawyer Al Gharbawie first worked at Shalakany Law Office for 10 years, where she was mentored by veteran lawyer Mona Zulficar.
Then, she joined Microsoft. In 2015, she joined Qalaa Holdings, one of the leading investment companies in Africa and the Middle East, whose assets were valued at EGP 88bn in September 2018. Gharbawie is currently part of the management committee of Qalaa and leads her team to support investment deals, offshore operations, and regulatory matters.
She is heavily involved in Qalaa’s investment in one of Africa’s biggest financial deals, the Egyptian Refining Company, to create a $4bn oil processing plant.
Ranking 21st, Ali stewarded JPMorgan’s business in some of the world’s toughest and most volatile markets, and more than doubled revenues across its Egypt and North Africa operations in the past three years.
Conditions have improved in Egypt, where she has ensured JPMorgan is well-positioned to benefit from the country’s new-found confidence in international capital markets–the United States bank acted as lead bookrunner on Egypt’s $4bn sovereign bond in February this year.
Previously, running cash management in the region for Deutsche Bank, followed by a stint as head of treasury services for North Africa at BNY Mellon in Cairo, Ali joined JPMorgan in 2010, when the Arab Spring was just around the corner.
She has since grown overall bank-wide revenues from the region more than five times, with transaction banking as a particular strength. The Cairo-based native Arabic speaker, who is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, manages key financial, government, and corporate relationships at JPMorgan. She was recently appointed to the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and co-chairs its banking and finance committee.
Noha El Ghazaly
El Ghazaly was ranked 27th among the 50 list, and she is the only woman to run a top-five investment bank in Egypt. El Ghazaly joined Pharos in May 2018, tasked with rebuilding the unit following the pound floatation in 2016.
Therefore, she implemented a new strategy to focus on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital market transactions. In 2018, she closed the $29m acquisition by Mondi, a UK-listed packaging company, of the Cairo-based National Company for Paper Products and Import & Export. She continues to build the business by hiring fresh talent. El Ghazaly previously spent a decade at HC Securities & Investment, an Egyptian investment bank, where she cut her teeth working on M&A deals, advising on transactions, including BNP Paribas’ sale of its Egypt business to Emirates NBD.
EnayetAlla has a pivotal role overseeing the strategy of Egypt’s second-biggest state-run lender as the country tries to revive its economic footing. The most senior woman on Banque Misr’s executive management, she has a busy year ahead with the Egyptian government planning to raise $400m through the sale of a stake in Banque du Caire, which is wholly owned by Banque Misr.
EnayetAlla joined Banque Misr in 2010 after 25-year experience in corporate banking and retail development at Chase National Bank, part of Chase Manhattan Bank. EnayetAlla is also responsible for Banque Misr’s sustainability programme, a big business for the bank, which reported total net profits of EGP 4.1bn in June last year.
Ranked 47th, Soltan has more than 35 years of banking experience, lately at HSBC Middle East in Dubai. Cairo-based Soltan has overseen one of the biggest providers of export and trade finance to Egyptian companies since November 2016.
During a period of structural reform of the Egyptian economy, as executive chair, she has more than doubled net profits from EGP 336m ($20m) to EGP 703m ($42m) in the past two years, and increased the bank’s client base from 250 to nearly 500.
She also drove the bank’s five-year strategy, which includes a greater focus on Africa to help grow Egyptian exports.
Soltan, who also spent 14 years at Deutsche Bank in Cairo until 2009, was appointed chair of the Export Credit Guarantee Company of Egypt in October.
Rankeing 50th, Zulficar has more than 40 years of experience in law practice. She is the founding partner, besides 10 other partners and 40 lawyers, of one of the most renowned international corporate law and arbitration practice firms based in the heart of Cairo, Zulficar & Partners.
Though the firm was built only 10 years ago, she has already established legal practices in banking, finance, capital markets, and M&As with a clientele of iconic names, such as Citibank, Credit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan, and BNY Mellon. She is also an adviser to the Egyptian minister of finance, the Capital Markets Authority, and the Central Bank of Egypt. In addition to her previous employment at the World Health Organization and the UN Human Rights Council, she was awarded the Legion of Honour in 2009 for her role in landmark deals between Egypt and France.