By Shereen Shabnam
During the World Expo Commissioners Club dinner recently, we had the pleasure to meet with the charismatic H.E. Ayman Ibrahim Al Afifi, an Emirati Businessman, Ambassador, thought leader, Investor and Philanthropist whose vast experience in international business led him to be part of the World Expo Commissioners Club.
Founded in Milano Italy, the World Expo Commissioner’s Club offers an opportunity to improve and strengthen international relations amongst countries and individuals via a multicultural network and innovative business solutions. H.E Ayman extends the clubs vision to the upcoming expo in Dubai by bringing innovation and invaluable advantages to its Members.
H. E Ayman Al Afifi is known for his unwavering commitment to establish and foster meaningful strategic business relationships at a global level. We take the opportunity to ask H. E Ayman Al Afifi to share his insights on the World Expo Commissioners Club and his business interests.
Tell us about the World Expo Commissioners Club?
The World Expo Commissioners Club is a networking club that enables its Members to share experiences and build strong international and local alliances by networking, fostering intercultural dialogue and offering unique occasions, events and initiatives to promote the attractions of their respective countries.
You have been successful in so many ventures so we are keen to know what you studied and what led you to doing business on a global level and how did you get involved with the World Expo Commissioners Club?
We started two years before the Milan Expo and I was delighted to be invited to be part of the Commissioners Club as I knew this will benefit us in the UAE.
I studied International Relations and have a Diploma de Honor from El Mundo Diplomatico in Madrid. My strength is developing professional network and long term business relationships with high net worth individuals and families across MENA and Europe. We look for ways to strengthen ties between the UAE and the rest of the world through common interests and tolerance. With the World Expo Commissioners Club, we network and bring service providers and people with common interests together.
At the World Expo Commissioners Club event where we are meeting, I notice a lot of dialogue and so many nationalities are here in the UAE for this. Tell us more of what happens when you meet?
There is definitely a lot of knowledge sharing during our networking events and we meet with different stakeholders. As a country, we in the UAE drive innovation, support stability, security and prosperity and have grown remarkably in a short time span so we share our experiences with other countries. In the Emirates, we go back to our pearl trading days when we brought people from all over the world in one place and today we continue to do so. We bring so many nationalities continually in one place, even from faraway places like Fiji Islands.
Tell us a bit about your business interests?
I have multiple interests, in an extensive range of industries from oil and gas to banking and insurance. Recently I become a board member of Salama- Egyptian Saudi Insurance House. Vice Chairman of NRI investment, a company licensed by ISCA, affiliated to the Central Bank of the UAE. I am also a Partner and founder of the Bulldozer Group, a Hospitality company representing international restaurant brands in the region. (Shanghai Me, Gaia, Scalini, ect.)
I like to innovate and encourage start-ups and foreigner companies to enter the UAE market as it is a safe and secure promising territory for investors.
Tell us about your expectations for World Expo Commissioners Club?
As an Ambassador of Tolerance and Peace, I want everyone coming to Expo Dubai to enjoy the experience and witness the social and economic development achieved in a very short time. In Dubai, it is easier to meet for all nationalities as we are a hub that welcomes all nationalities so business personalities from Africa to China can meet here easily and the pavilions would be a perfect platform to show what each country offers. In the UAE we have built metaphorical bridges with leaders and decision makers from every corner of the globe which has worked in our favour for the Expo. Our aim is to inspire and empower everyone who values excellence and help them find ideas at the different pavilions that help their countries as well.
As a supporter for startups and as a successful business leader, what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs attending Dubai Expo?
Setting a strong foundation and a well thought out strategy is important for success and the UAE is a great place to start as it is only 6 hours away from 80% of the world’s population and untapped markets like Africa. The different Expo pavilions would be great place to get ideas from all around the world and will feature the best technologies and innovations that can
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