Corporate Governance in a Developing World

As they shift towards more market-based economies, Arab companies can no longer afford to neglect demands for greater accountability and transparency in the boardroom. Ten years ago companies had their own practices and policies addressing accountability and social responsibility but there were no regulatory precepts and little attention paid to details of transparency or conflict of interest – issues crucial to the running of a modern business. Today 14 of the 17 MENA economies have a corporate code of some description and “hawkamah” (the Arabic word for governance) is becoming more than just a catchphrase. But while some countries are making great strides improving accountability and transparency, in many of the countries that need it most - those experiencing political, social and economic transition with an urgent need for foreign investment and jobs - the process has faltered.