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30 Seconds On The Business Of… Philanthropy

30 Seconds On The Business Of… Philanthropy

Gulf Business speaks to Mohanna al Muhairi, CEO, Emirates Foundation.

How prevalent is the culture of philanthropy in the Middle east’s business ecosystem?

Philanthropy is an integral part of Middle Eastern culture but businesses here were initially slow to capitalise on the idea of giving back.

The topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has a different perspective in the Middle East, where the obligation of giving back is ingrained in the region’s culture and religion. For example, Zakat, which is essentially an alms tax, is widely practiced across the region.

Philanthropy is now flourishing thanks to a recent push by companies and government entities that are keen to increase their CSR activities.

We are at the forefront of this push having been established to drive philanthropy in the UAE, serving as a platform for companies wishing to engage in CSR activities.

Do you see more individual or corporate donors in this part of the world?

Many donors in the GCC region are seeking to establish foundations to formalise and sustain their philanthropy. There is also a strong desire to be strategic, which may involve establishing a clear mission or objectives, and this is an emerging trend in the Middle East.

However, the notion of social investment, the culture of giving and CSR has yet to be embedded strategically among businesses in the UAE.

Is wealth being shared equally?

More and more corporates are starting their CSR initiatives and community engagement.

Social enterprise is not a new concept and demand for social enterprise solutions will only increase. The key now is to focus on how social enterprise can sustain its growth and generate more social and economical value.

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