UN elects Egyptian entrepreneur as sustainable development ‘pioneer’

Egyptian entrepreneur Dina Sherif, co-founder of management consultancy Ahead of the Curve, has been named among 10 "Local Pioneers" for assisting with the 2016 Global Compact the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the official list of 10 Pioneers on Wednesday, highlighting their work in promoting sustainable development and responsible business practice in line with inter-governmental agreements.

In an interview with United Nations Radio, Sherif explained her company's work, how she came to be nominated and the various problems facing Egypt at present.

Ahead of the Curve (ATC) was established at 2012 as a social business dedicated to the promotion of sustainable management practice, inclusive market growth and social innovation.

Sherif says that her company designs, manages and advises other companies of all sizes on strategies to create social, economic, governance, and environmental value simultaneously. ATC also supports the growth and expansion of social businesses through networking, investment, mentorship, training and knowledge.

Sherif says she was selected as one of 10 Local SDG Pioneers by the United Nations Global Compact, as the only woman representing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She adds that she competed with 600 applicants from 100 countries to win her place.

During the radio interview, she said she believes that the field of sustainable business practice is a positive feature of the Arab world.

"We always talk about things that are not positive. But what is happening with the private sector and its role in sustainable development, I think, is the positive side of what's happening in Egypt and the Arab world."

Sherif said that a study conducted by her company on seven Arab countries has shown that Egypt's private sector plays an important role in sustainable development, placing it among the more advanced nations in the MENA region.

Sherif says governments in the region need to offer more incentives for companies to apply the Global Compact principles, working hard to fight corruption and involving companies in that fight, something that is not yet happening.

"We cannot achieve anything without partnership, and we should see that partnership on the largest and deepest level. Youth is the key, because more than 60 percent of the Arab World today are young, and they have a role in achieving the objectives."

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