KUWAIT: Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, proudly announces its inclusion in The Valuable 500, an international initiative striving to put disability on the leadership agenda within corporates. Zain already has a well-defined and proactive diversity and inclusion program, WE ABLE, aimed at integrating people with disabilities within the company as well as improving their business social and economic prospects. The company’s participation in The Valuable 500 will further amplify its efforts.

Entrepreneur Caroline Casey launched The Valuable 500 at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2019, creating a global movement focused on disability leadership in business and celebrating those who commit to inclusion. The initiative’s aim is to unite 500 business leaders representing global corporations to serve as role models and ignite social change by shining the light on people living with disabilities and showcasing how people in these communities remain a significant and contributing sector of society.

Zain is the first corporation from the GCC to join the initiative along with 285 other leading global corporates such as Coca Cola European Partners, Citi Group, Microsoft, Omnicom Group, Virgin, Shell and SKY, to name a few, with the list being added to all the time.

Embedding sustainability and meaningful connectivity in every aspect of its business, Zain is dedicated to its digital strategy of consistently working towards developing the mobile telecommunications ecosystem centered on a vision of inclusive development that leads to socio-economic growth, aligning to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of leaving no one behind.

Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice Chairman and Group CEO, commented: “It is our duty to ensure we are a diverse and inclusive workplace and by positioning Diversity and Inclusion on the board agenda, we are clearly and proudly committing to our priorities. Our WE ABLE program pledges disability inclusion by 2022 and together with The Valuable 500, a global community with shared values and aspirations, we can foster an inclusive culture.”

Al-Kharafi continued, “At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, The Valuable 500 made history by putting disability on the main stage for the first time. The one billion people with disabilities worldwide also hold a disposable income of $8 trillion a year, equating to an opportunity that businesses cannot afford to ignore, and that’s why we have signed up to The Valuable 500. Now is the time.”

Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500 said, “We have seen an impressive list of global telecoms companies join and put disability inclusion on their board agenda, and we are delighted that Zain, our first company from the Gulf has signed up. With 49.5 million customers, it is fantastic to ensure those with disabilities are included in having the ability to stay connected.”

Casey continued: “The global telecoms industry has proven vital during the last few months in ensuring everyone is able to stay connected during the lockdown caused by the pandemic. It is essential these services are accessible to everyone, throughout the whole supply chain.”

On Zain’s part, the company’s dedication to the support of people with disabilities is extensive. Under its WE ABLE disability inclusion initiative that was launched in July 2019, Zain is working to become a disability inclusive organization by 2022 across all its operations. WE ABLE has four main targets:

  1. Increase employment of people with disabilities
  2. Ensure all training programs are disability inclusive
  3. Ensure all operating locations are accessible
  4. Identify and implement assistive technologies that will enable employees with disabilities to independently complete their work

As a member of The Valuable 500, Zain Group has pledged the following:

  • COMMIT: Table disability on our Board agenda from 2020 and make ONE commitment to action
  • COMMUNICATE: Share our commitment to The Valuable 500 both internally and externally
  • CONNECT: Take part in the sharing of information and expertise across The Valuable 500 community