February 4, 2021

The Middle East’s Power Businesswomen 2021

This year’s annual ranking of the Middle East’s most powerful women in business comes off the back of one of the most challenging years that most companies have experienced in recent history.

The 50 leaders we highlight here have shown resilience, flexibility, and strength in the face of unprecedented adversity, both in the workplace and in their communities.

Overall, this year’s power businesswomen hail from 19 countries and work across 16 sectors. Egypt scored the most entries in the list with eight, followed by the U.A.E with seven. The banking and financial services sector is the most dominant, with 16 entries. Eight of these leaders hold executive positions in regional divisions of multinational companies, such as Heike Harmgart, who heads the SEMED region for EBRD, and Elissar Farah Antonios, who heads Citigroup’s MENA cluster and serves as CEO of Citigroup UAE. And seven hold positions in government entities, including Aisha Bin Bishr head of Smart Dubai, and Nezha Hayat, head of Morocco’s Capital Market Authority.

Last year, three women from the Middle East also featured on Forbes’ ranking of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman and CEO of the Landmark Group, and Rania Nashar, Senior Advisor to the Governor of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, ranked 89th, 98th, and 99th respectively.

Aside from accomplishments at work, many of these leaders have also been working towards giving back to the community, particularly when it comes to alleviating challenges caused by the pandemic. For example, Renuka Jagtiani’s Landmark Group and Jagtiani Foundation have pledged nearly $4 million to communities in the Middle East and India impacted by the pandemic, and Luma Fawaz’s Oasis500 has waived rent payments for all its participating startups. Many also head women’s organizations in their home countries, while others have launched NGOs and initiatives supporting women, such as Farah Foustok’s TARA


We considered the below criteria, with each point assigned a weight;

  • Size of the business in terms of revenue, assets, AUM, market capitalization, and a number of employees.
  • Accomplishments by the person achieved over the last year.
  • Designation.
  • Overall work experience of the person.
  • CSR and other initiatives by the person and/or by their company.
  • Editorial points.
The Middle East’s Power Businesswomen
Raja Easa Al Gurg
Renuka Jagtiani
Hana Al Rostamani
Rania Nashar
Sarah Al Suhaimi
Lubna Olayan
Wadha Ahmed Al-Khateeb
Nezha Hayat
Heike Harmgart
Mona Yousuf Almoayyed
Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar
Henadi Al-Saleh
Aisha Bin Bishr
Randa Muhammad Sadik
Eaman Al Roudhan
Elham Mahfouz
Mona Zulficar
Pakinam Kafafi
Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch
Amina & Huda Al Rostamani
Elissar Farah Antonios
Reem Asaad
Reem Osman
Zainab Kufaishi
Hend ElSherbini
Hoda Mansour
Melda Yasar Cebe
Christelle Saghbini
Marzena Kulis
Haifa Al Khaifi
Rola Abu Manneh
Mervat Zohdy El Sayed Soltan
Rita Maria Zniber
Nadia Al Saeed
Jalila Mezni
Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun
Mona Ataya
Hind Bahwan
Yasmine & Farida Mohamed Farid Khamis
Areej & Lujaina Mohsin Haider Darwish
Claudia Vergueiro Massei
Najla Al Shirawi
Manal jarrar
Farah Foustok
Leila Hoteit
Narjes Farookh Jamal
Noor Sweid
Najla Ahmed Al Midfa
Luma Fawaz
Elissa Freiha
Previous Cycles

Power Businesswomen in The Middle East 2020

Most Influential Women 2018