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Inclusion key to igniting corporate growth in MENA region

Suzanne Locke 4 October 2023
  • Agenda focuses on gender balance, youth inclusion, People of Determination and nationalisation (such as Emiratisation)
  • Governments and businesses across MENA are making these the four pillars of future growth
  • Digital inclusivity and accessibility is also a key discussion point, as it impacts all aspects of workforce inclusion

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Aurora50 is asking hundreds of changemakers to #bethechange by joining MENA’s largest cross-industry diversity and inclusion event, The Inclusion Summit 2023.

Aurora50 helps corporations create inclusive workplaces. Its two-day event – to be held on 9-10 November 2023 in Abu Dhabi – spotlights the biggest issues on the region’s DEI agenda today:

  • Gender balance
  • Youth inclusion
  • People of Determination
  • Nationalisation

The summit brings together 900+ attendees including prominent government ministers and leaders from key business sectors. It will feature international keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops, exhibitions and networking.

With the region being home to a diverse mix of over 200 nationalities and thousands of businesses, inclusion is the key to economic strategy.

Diana Wilde, co-founder of Aurora50, says: “The Inclusion Summit is a transformative force.

“Attendees recognise the potential of inclusion to ignite corporate growth and innovation. We invite everyone to join us and to be the change.

“Embracing diversity isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage that leads to enhanced innovation, greater talent retention, market expansion and deeper community engagement.

“By championing DEI, companies open doors to a brighter future, one filled with prosperity and lasting success.”

  1. Gender balance: Qatar has the highest female workforce participation rate in the GCC at 60 percent, with the UAE at 55 percent, according to the World Bank. In great strides, Saudi Arabia reports that it has reached a 37 percent rate, up 141 percent since 2001 and beating its 2030 target. In the UAE, dozens of private-sector companies – particularly those in traditionally male-dominated industries – have pledged to put women in 30 percent of leadership roles by 2025, aligning to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  2. Youth inclusion: Across the MENA region, youths aged 15-29 make up almost a quarter of the population; the under-15s another third. Young Arabs face the highest unemployment rates in the world: to tackle this, the World Bank estimates 300 million new jobs must be created regionally by 2050. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have made youth inclusion part of their national visions, with strategies to reform education, invest in new industries and encourage entrepreneurs.
  3. People of Determination (PoD): The Middle East is home to some 30 million disabled people and people with special needs – known as People of Determination. In 2006, the UAE made equal and fair employment opportunities for PoD law, while a new law was approved in Saudi Arabia this year to protect disabled people from discrimination.
  4. Nationalisation: Workforce nationalisation, particularly in the private sector, is becoming a focus in the region. Saudi Arabia reserves 72 professions exclusively for Saudi nationals and is upskilling youth for the technical skills gap. In the UAE, the Emiratisation law for the private sector was extended to small businesses this summer.

These issues will be at the forefront of two packed days of talks, keynote speeches and panel discussions at The Inclusion Summit 2023.

Digital inclusivity – which impacts on all aspects of workforce inclusion – will also feature heavily, from digital skills, connectivity and literacy to the continuous consideration of accessibility by organisations.

Become a change-maker by registering to join The Inclusion Summit at

The Summit’s key sponsors include ADNOC Group, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Chalhoub Group, Weatherford and Nakheel.

About Aurora50

Aurora50 was founded in 2020 with a powerful vision: to achieve gender balance in the workplace. A UAE-based, training and development company dedicated to creating thriving, inclusive workplaces.

Its first, successful initiative was to increase the number of women on boards in the UAE through the Pathway20 accelerator. In 2023, it expanded its focus to support listed corporations, large private organisations, and high-growth businesses alike with all their diversity, equity and inclusion needs.

NOORA is Aurora50’s new community designed to support ambitious corporate women at all levels of leadership, while The Inclusion Summit brings together 900+ trailblazing C-suite executives and board directors in MENA’s largest cross-industry DEI event.

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