Wherever I go in the Middle East, the interest in CIPS and what we have to offer is overwhelming. My latest visit last month was no exception. From a nominal presence in the region five years ago, we now have more than 1,000 members and active branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Oman. We have established a number of study centres through our partnership with the British Council, providing local facilities for students to complete their qualifications and have designed development programmes for major public sector organisations. Our conference in Dubai in May attracted almost 300 delegates.
This growth has not happened overnight. It is the result of a long period of relationship- building with state-owned enterprises, government departments and private sector corporations, to establish CIPS as a trusted partner. This is an important approach in the region where trust is everything. So this has now given us a sustainable operating base which, up to now, we have managed largely through ‘exporting’ our services and with limited local presence. Everything about the way CIPS has been received in the region tells me there are significant untapped opportunities. The time is right to put down roots and have more people on the ground so that we can respond rapidly and in the most relevant way to our new audiences.
Our office in Dubai is now up and running and the aim is to develop this in 2012 into another full service institute similar to CIPS Australia and CIPS Southern Africa. It will become the base for CIPS to manage not just our existing area of operation, but neighbouring regions including north African countries. We already have a name for this latest addition to the CIPS family – CIPS MENA (Middle East and North Africa).
But that is next year. Our immediate priorities are to continue to provide support for our members and work with key stakeholders on the localisation agenda. Globally, procurement is on the up and there is increasing focus on ethics and transparency as the region looks to improve its business standards. Middle Eastern economies
are starting to consider diversification away from a dependence on oil and gas into new industries and they need new skills. At the same time, the former heavy reliance on expatriate practitioners is being overtaken by a drive to professionalise home-grown talent. There
is much to do and an exciting future ahead.
New board members
I am delighted to announce the new members of the Board of Management for 2011-12. Joining the Board under the chairmanship of Karen Van Vuuren will be Gordon Crichton, Christina de Luca, Guy Strafford and Richard Masser.
Gordon Crichton holds the post of director of the Institut
du Management de l’Achat Industriel (MAI) which trains young purchasing professionals for large corporations in Europe, and is the first academic to join the CIPS board. Christina de Luca is currently BP’s vice-president, refining and marketing PSCM shared service, where she is responsible for all non-hydrocarbon spend. She
has previously served on the board of our US partner organisation, ISM.
Guy Strafford is chief client officer at buyingTeam. He advises on procurement strategy and business development across the organisation and is a regular commentator on procurement at conferences and in the media. Completing the line-up is Richard Masser, MD of Quantum Global Product Solutions, who has been elected from Council. He is a member of the China-British Business Council and will be helping develop CIPS’ strategy for Asia. A warm welcome to them all.