Today’s article combines between two components that have been the headlines for many news sources and the central topics of many discussions. The sea of possible answers is limitless, so we’ll save you the efforts of trying to guess and reveal the components. In this piece, we will be talking about six Egyptian heroines who have made the list of “The 50 Most Influential Women in Middle East Finance”, thus portraying Egyptian figures, especially Egyptian women, and the gradually growing Egyptian economy. For those who don’t know, the list was formed by Financial News, a financial newspaper and news website published in London that was founded in 1996. Let’s take a look at some of the biographies that the source put together for our female role models.
1. Yasmin Al Gharbawie (Rank 11)
Utilising her law degree, our first heroine on the list, Yasmin Al Gharbawie, spent her first ten years at Shalakany Law Office, and continued her journey in Microsoft. Then, in 2015, she joined Qalaa Holdings, one of the leading investment companies in Africa and the Middle East, whose assets were valued at 88 billion Egyptian pounds in September, 2018. Gharbawie is currently part of the management committee, and leads her team to support investment deals, offshore operations, and regulatory matters. In July 2018, she participated in the sale of Bonyan, an organisation specialised in real estate development & investment, for an overwhelming total of EGP 162 million pounds. Moreover, she is heavily involved in Qalaa’s investment in one of Africa’s biggest financial deals, the Egyptian Refining Company, to create a 4 billion dollar oil processing plant.
2. Soha Ali (Rank 21)
Fluent in English, French, and Spanish, Soha Ali is presently slaying the business world in JPMorgan Chase, an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City, as Country Head of Egypt and North Africa. Financial News states, “Ali has stewarded JPMorgan’s business in some of the world’s toughest and most volatile markets, more than doubling revenues across its Egypt and North Africa in the past three years.” Taking advantage of Egypt’s “new-found confidence” in international capital markets, JPMorgan Chase was a lead bookrunner, or coordinator, on Egypt’s 4-billion-dollar government bond. Regarding previous experience, she worked in Deutsche Bank and the Bank of New York Mellon in Cairo, until she joined the US bank in 2010. She was recently appointed to the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and co-chairs its banking and finance committee.
3. Noha El Ghazaly (Rank 27)
Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking at Pharos Holding for Financial Investments, Noha El Ghazaly is the only woman to run a top-five investment bank in Egypt. She joined in 2018, when she was immediately handed the challenging task of restoring the bank after the devaluation of the Egyptian currency in 2016. That same year, she implemented a new strategy to focus on mergers, acquisitions, and capital market transactions, closing a 29 million dollar acquisition deal by Mondi, an international packaging company. She is still laying the brickwork by adding fresh talent every day. El Ghazaly is also a qualified neurolinguistics programming practitioner, with a degree in economics from Cairo University and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School.
4. Maha Heba EnayetAlla (Rank 29)
Amidst Egypt’s economic revival, overseeing the strategy of country’s second-biggest state-run lender, Banque Misr, is quite the burden. But that’s not an obstacle for Maha Heba EnayetAlla, the most senior woman in the bank’s executive management. Her association with Banque Misr started in 2010 after 25 years in Chase National Bank, as she excelled in the world of corporate banking and retail development. She is responsible for many accomplishments, including Misr’s sustainability programme, which reported a net profit of EGP 4.1 billion pounds in June of last year. Now, she is involved in the government’s plan to raise 400 million dollars through the sale of a stake in Banque du Caire.
5. Mervat Zohy Soltan (Rank 47)
With over three decades of banking experience, including her time spent at HSBC Middle East in Dubai and Deutsche Bank in Cairo, it is no wonder that Mervat Zohy Soltan reserved a well-deserved spot in this financial list of prestigious members. Since November 2016, she has more than doubled net profits from EGP 336 million pounds to EGP 703 million at Export Development Bank of Egypt, increased the bank’s client base from 250 to nearly 500, and built corporate lending and syndicated loans into the largest division, with its loan portfolio increasing 38% to EGP 21.4 billion pounds in just one year.
6. Mona Zulficar (Rank 50)
With a resume of more than 40 years of law practice, Mona Zulficar is the founding partner, with a team of 10 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 ten years ago, she has already established legal practices in banking, finance, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions with a clientele of iconic names, such as Citibank, Credit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan, and BNY Mellon. She is also an adviser to the Minister of Finance, the Capital Markets Authority, and the Central Bank of Egypt. Apart from 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.