JEDDAH — Following the global financial crisis, financial literacy is playing a critical role in economic recovery and development, industry experts said in unison at the recently held “Hope Global Financial Dignity Summit” in Atlanta, Georgia, attended by delegates from more than 50 countries.
SEDCO Capital CEO Hasan Al Jabri, one of the key speakers at the event, said “following the global financial crisis, the role of private sector organizations as innovators of corporate social responsibility programs has become increasingly important. This is certainly the case at SEDCO where we recently launched our strategically aligned CSR program “Riyali” focusing on financial literacy and that we developed in consultation with Operation HOPE, a global social empowerment nonprofit organization and the organizer of the Global Financial Dignity Summit.”
SEDCO’s Riyali program addresses the need to educate the Saudi population on financial literacy and empower them with personal finance skills required to achieve a desirable standard of living. The first phase, targeting college students, was launched in September this year. He said the role of private sector organizations as innovators of corporate social responsibility programs has become increasingly important. This is certainly the case at SEDCO where we recently launched our strategically aligned CSR program “Riyali” focusing on financial literacy and that we developed in consultation with Operation HOPE, a global social empowerment nonprofit organization and the organizer of the Global Financial Dignity Summit.”
SEDCO Holding VP of Corporate Communications and Marketing Amr Banaja, who headed one of the working groups, spoke on the subject of Leadership: The Future Role of Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Explaining the evolving nature of corporate social responsibility, he said: “CSR has become much more than philanthropy and annual reports about a company’s charitable contributions. Today CSR is considered a core discipline in most organizations and the current trend is to focus on sustainable social responsibility programs that produce long-term results for the beneficiaries.”
Jabri and Banaja were among 90 speakers from all over the world from the fields of finance, entrepreneurship and entertainment who addressed over 1,000 delegates.
The Hope Global Financial Dignity Summit, one of the main forums for addressing the issue of financial literacy and the summit’s theme of Community, Character and (Responsible) Capitalism, was meant to bring participants together to discuss ways to tackle the key financial issues our future world will face. The final report from the Global Financial Dignity Summit will be presented to the US President at the G-20 Russia summit.
Al Jabri, who was a member of a CEO General Plenary Session panel that discussed Free Enterprise, Capitalism and Emerging Markets, said: “The invitation to participate in this global summit is a unique honor for Saudi Arabia and as a leading wealth management company we had much to share and contribute, especially since SEDCO has been practicing Corporate Social Responsibility for more than 35 years, based on the commitment of our founder, the late Sheikh Salem bin Mahfouz, who believed in supporting the welfare of the people and the development of communities across Saudi Arabia.” John Hope Bryant, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, said: “We are here today, at the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit to frame the issue for global financial dignity and financial literacy as a core ingredient for mid to long term economic recovery and stability. This summit is the highlight of Operation HOPE’s 20th anniversary celebrations, and another part of our efforts to elevate financial dignity to the global agenda. At the core of our silver rights mission to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant to the undeserved, we believe every individual should have a fundamental understanding of “the language of money,” and access to banking. We need all boats to rise, and not just yachts.”
SEDCO is at the forefront of companies and organizations in the Middle East and North Africa region that are pioneering the cause of financial literacy, and SEDCO representatives made a big impact at the Summit by presenting SEDCO’s flagship CSR program that focuses on financial literacy though education and awareness and is expected to reach 50,000 beneficiaries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the next five years. By sharing their unique experiences in tackling this key cause, the two SEDCO representatives hope to encourage more companies to contribute to the development of their regions.
Founded in 1976, SEDCO has become internationally recognized as a leading global Islamic wealth management organization through its commitment to Shariah principles that are the foundation of the company’s strength. Later, SEDCO Holding was established to consolidate the various business activities of SEDCO, in which the wealth of the Bin Mahfouz banking family is invested. — SG