Middle East and North Africa


IFC’s Middle East and North Africa Corporate Governance Program helps strengthen markets and stabilize businesses across the region. With a focus on long term sustainability, the goal is to improve financial performance, operational efficiency, and access to capital by strengthening corporate governance fundamentals.

What We Do

IFC provides advice to companies, SMEs, private equity funds and banks on improving their corporate governance practices, based on international standards. Specific areas of focus include:

  • Board practices
  • Shareholder rights
  • Internal and external controls
  • Risk management
  • Transparency
  • Family business governance and reporting
  • Regulatory enforcement
  • Dispute resolution

Efforts also include building local capacity and working with multiple market stakeholders to promote broader acceptance of good corporate governance.

We work with regulators, stock exchanges and securities exchange commissions, supporting reforms through corporate governance codes and listing rules. We also work with corporate governance institutes/institutes of directors, educational institutions and the media to raise awareness and share knowledge.

Where We Work

IFC’s corporate governance activities are tailored to the specific needs of the markets where we work: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.

Working with Family-Owned Companies Across the Middle East and North Africa

Family owned and managed companies constitute a major part of economies in the Middle East and North Africa; making up 90 percent of Middle Eastern companies. Governing them can be very complex, illustrated by the fact that less than 12 percent of family businesses last into the third generation. The additional layer of family relationships and the multiplicity of roles and responsibilities of family members—where family members can simultaneously be owners, managers, employees, and board members—complicate matters and reinforce the need for clarity and structure. Such clarity is essential not only for the business, but also for harmonious relationships among family members in the long run.

Family governance is a critical issue in helping not just companies, but whole economies to perform well and contribute to economic growth. This has been a key focus area of the IFC’s Corporate Governance program in the Middle East and North Africa. We have worked with family-owned companies across the region in different sectors including poultry, pharmaceuticals, retail and commercial real estate, education, financial institutions, hotels, and technology. Some of our clients have been based in fragile and conflict-affected states, where operating business is more complex and volatile. Our team provides a range of family governance services to these companies from both corporate governance assessments and implementation of accepted recommendations. Examples of such services include: developing family governance charters, conducting board of directors’ evaluations, succession planning, terms of reference for board committees.

For full size infographic click here or on the graph.



Corporate Governance Women on Boards Fact Sheet, November 2016
As part of our overall corporate governance work, IFC is building capacity, raising awareness, and expanding the discussion about gender diversity on boards in developing countries.

Corporate Governance and Small and Medium Enterprises Fact Sheet, November 2016
IFC provides governance training and advisory services for founders and owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with high growth potential. The training and services are based on IFC’s SME Governance Methodology, the first and only tool of its kind on the market.

Corporate Governance in Fragile and Conflict Situations Fact Sheet, November 2016
IFC is prioritizing its work in fragile and conflict situations (FCS), to increase investment in these most difficult markets. It is based on IFC’s widely-accepted Corporate Governance Methodology, a solutions-oriented system for evaluating the corporate governance risks and opportunities of IFC client companies.

Frequently Asked Questions on Corporate Governance in MENA, 2016
This guidebook addresses common questions on corporate governance that are frequently asked by owners and managers of companies in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Gender Diversity in Jordan, September 2015
A research report on the impact of gender diversity on the economic performance of companies in Jordan. It finds that companies with women on their Boards perform dramatically better than those without. Led by Yehia El Husseiny.

Corporate Governance Success Stories - Middle East and North Africa, Second Edition, June 2015
This report shares the experiences of 19 companies that have made governance improvements over the past few years with IFC assistance, summarizing the changes they made and the impacts they reported. It demonstrates the business case for good corporate governance in Middle East and North Africa.

Focus 10: Corporate Governance and Development - An Update, January 2012
A research report on how corporate governance can influence economic development and well-being, and what is needed to promote good practices, in emerging markets. By Stijn Claessens and Burcin Yurtoglu.

IFC Family Governance Handbook, 2011
The IFC Family Business Governance Handbook is a concise and practical description of essential family business governance components and suggested approaches to resolving common family business governance dilemmas. Led by Sanaa Abouzaid. Available in English, Arabic, Urdu and French.

Sense and Sensibility: Helping Companies See the Value of Women in the Boardroom, September 2011
By Mahwesh Bilal Khan and Linda Jacqueline Clark

Advancing Corporate Governance in the Middle East and North Africa: Stories and Solutions, February 2011
This publication and video present real-world, practical examples of how companies in the Middle East and North Africa overcame barriers and improved their governance practices in ways that benefited performance and growth. The cases demonstrate how key principles can be translated into actual practice to elicit tangible results. By IFC, CIPE and Global Corporate Governance Forum. Available in English and Arabic.

Corporate Governance Success Stories: IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa, 2010
The purpose of this report is to help demonstrate the business case for good corporate governance in the Middle East and North Africa. It shares the experiences of 11 companies that have made governance improvements over the past few years, summarizing the changes they made and the impacts they reported.

Gender Diversity on Boards in Pakistan, June 2010
A survey that gives an overview of the state of gender diversity on boards of listed companies in Pakistan, providing a glimpse into potential challenges and opportunities and provides a basis for discussion/further research. By IFC and ACCA Pakistan.

The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword—if Properly Aimed. Training the Financial Media on Corporate Governance, March 2010
By Amira El Saeed Agag.


More Resources >>


August 2018


Related Links

Women on Boards Research Study: Egypt and Lebanon (Overview), March 2019

Fact Sheet: Corporate Governance in Middle East and North Africa, May 2015

IFC Report: Women Key to Corporate Success, December 2015


Strengthening Corporate Governance in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries, August 2016

IFC Corporate Governance Advisory Services: Helping Companies to Operate More Profitably & Grow, January 2015

Family Business Governance: Examples from Egypt and Colombia, April 2014

IFC Pakistan Corporate Governance Project: Impacting the Pyramid from Top to Bottom, March 2014

Advancing Corporate Governance in the Middle East and North Africa: Stories and Solutions, February 2011

Showing Corporate Governance Results in Egypt and Ukraine, December 2008


James Christopher Razook
Corporate Governance Lead
+12025093026 | crazook@ifc.org 

Sandra Abiola
ESG Regional Advisory Program Manager 
+27117313047 | sabiola@ifc.org

Yehia El Husseiny
Corporate Governance Project Manager (Egypt & Levant)
+20224614346 | yelhusseiny@ifc.org