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How can we best leverage the private sector in development?

January 16 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


In developing countries, the private sector’s role in development has traditionally been limited to driving economic growth, employment creation, technological innovation, and expanding or improving infrastructure. Over the past three decades, this has started to change. Growing numbers of private sector stakeholders – from corporate social responsibility arms to private foundations to impact investors – are contributing to national development plans and global development goals. And many governments are increasingly leveraging private sector resources and know-how in national development plans, forging new collaborations such as so-called public-private partnerships to combine the strengths of the various actors.

At the same time, the evolution of corporate sustainability practices is seeing more and more corporations embedding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues into their core business strategies. Private sector actors are increasingly being held accountable for their developmental footprint, with growing expectations of their role in championing big causes and advancing structural transformation.

So, what is the best way to leverage private sector resources towards solving complex development challenges and structural inequalities? And can a corporation practice both philanthropy and corporate sustainability, or do the demands of the bottom line erase the small, incremental change that philanthropic work commits to?

Join us as we bring together a panel of experts to discuss the important role of private sector and philanthropy in development, partnerships, and collaboration. The panel, moderated by Noha El-Mikawy, Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo and hosted by AFF CEO Naila Farouky, will look at the various ways the private sector is stepping up to make socially responsible contributions to development, as well as the challenges of balancing philanthropic activities and corporate sustainability with the need to turn a profit.





Myrna Atalla

Executive Director, Alfanar

Myrna Atalla is the Executive Director of Alfanar Venture Philanthropy, the oldest venture philanthropy organization in the Arab region. She has overseen the growth and expansion of Alfanar since 2010, enabling the pooling and delivery of over £10 million in grants and zero-interest loans, as well as Alfanar’s first equity investment, coupled with management support to over 130 social enterprises across the region, with particular emphasis on Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.

Through its venture philanthropy approach, Alfanar has enabled its social enterprises to grow both their impact and their self-generated revenue by 39% and to directly improve the lives of over 300,000 vulnerable women, youth, and children.  Today, Alfanar continues to innovate and disrupt by actively supporting the launch of the first regional impact investment fund to help extend the financing life cycle for investor-ready social enterprises. Atalla is passionate about uncovering and trialling collaborative strategies that drive lasting change for vulnerable communities across the Arab region.

Atalla holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a dual degree Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

Khaled Hegazy

Chief Strategy & Regulatory Officer, e& International

Khaled Hegazy is responsible for regulatory, strategy, and portfolio management for e&’s 15 operating companies outside the UAE. Prior to that, he was Etisalat Egypt’s Chief Business Officer leading transformation of the enterprise segment that resulted in significant revenue and market share growth to become the second-largest player in Egypt’s enterprise market for the first time.

Before that, Hegazy was the Head of External Relations for Procter & Gamble (P&G) for the Near East Region until 2009.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, both from the American University in Cairo. He is a board member at several companies and business organizations in Egypt and around in the Middle East. The most recent is his appointment as a Director on the Supervisory Board of Maroc Telecom, a company listed on Euronext and Casablanca stock market.

Dina Abdel Fattah

Chair & Assistant Professor, Department of Economics at the School of Business at the American University in Cairo

Dina is a labor and migration expert and has been part of a number of projects with international organizations and development agencies, including the ILO, IOM, EBRD, GIZ, and others. She is currently the Chair of the Department of Economics at the School of Business at AUC.

The School of Business at AUC has an initiative to mainstream SDGs into the curriculum and day-to-day operations. Dina is leading a task force to evaluate the role of higher education institutions in raising awareness about sustainability and accountability, and she is also working on evaluating the ESG reporting for higher education institutions despite the potential institutional challenges as part of the initiative.

Dina received her BA in Economics from AUC and her MSc and PhD from the University of Sussex, UK.

Paolo Comoglio

General Director, COSV

Paolo Comoglio has extensive experience in international relations, cultural diplomacy, development cooperation, and the management of non-profit organizations. With a Master’s of Arts in political science and a Master’s in management organization, he began his career actively involved in policy migration and peacebuilding.

Early in his career at COSV, he held various roles and responsibilities in different regions, including Asia, South America, Kenya, and Somalia. Since 2006, he has been overseeing all COSV interventions in the MENA region, and in 2013 he became the legal representative of COSV globally. Throughout his extensive experience, he has developed a strong capacity for intercultural context analysis and created multi-stakeholder strategies, with a strong focus on engaging the private sector in sustainable development. At Co-Profit, a business unit of COSV registered as a benefit company in Italy, he serves as an expert in the nexus approach (humanitarian, development, peace) and sustainable internationalization of private companies.



January 16
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm




Arab Foundations Forum
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