KUWAIT: Zain Group, a leading telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa announced that it has won the World Finance ‘Best Corporate Governance Award 2021’ for Kuwait. The company drew praise from the judging panel for its principles and integrity captured by its Investor Relations and Corporate Governance Framework, which drive its ongoing ability to provide shareholder returns and to pursue long-term objectives while ensuring ongoing transparency and accountability.

World Finance is a print and online magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business and the global economy. Since being founded nearly 20 years ago, the publication is read in over 100 countries, with a readership of 120,000 per issue on average. The annual World Finance Awards select and analyze some of the most diverse and succinct governance platforms and recognize leading organizations in this important area.

Zain has adopted a sound Investor Relations and Corporate Governance Framework that enhances the overall governance environment within the company in line with applicable laws, regulations and leading practices. Wherever possible, the company looks to exceed the requirements of the Corporate Governance Regulations issued by the Capital Markets Authority in Kuwait, Boursa Kuwait, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other regulatory bodies.

Corporate governance
Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO Bader Al-Kharafi said, “We are proud of the standards we set with respect to corporate governance and integrity. From the publication of our annual and sustainability reports to our regulatory disclosures as well as operational and financial results reporting, we are guided by a desire to offer all our stakeholders the most transparent access to our information as possible.”

Al-Kharafi added, “The proactiveness and innovative policies of the Capital Markets Authority, Boursa Kuwait, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other regulatory bodies in Kuwait drive us to be a more agile and responsible organization and we remain motivated to raise the bar even higher with respect to good governance and accountability.”

Zain’s corporate governance framework helps the company to mitigate risks and facilitates an effective board oversight over the company’s executive management by monitoring the implementation of policies when running daily operations. Corporate Governance promotes strong internal controls to improve integrity of financials and establishes a culture of compliance. This governance structure has also helped Zain to win the confidence of the market and attract global investors.

Zain’s CG framework includes a set of policies that have been approved by the board to safeguard the integrity of the day-to-day business operations and to protect the rights of different stakeholders. These policies discuss and outline responsibilities and commitments relating to critical topics such as whistleblowing, conflict of interest, related party transactions, disclosure, remunerations of the Board and the Executive management, and board affairs including board assessment, to name a few.

Transparency
Zain Group’s selection for this year’s honors is a result of the company’s tireless pursuit of transparency and best practice in its Investor Relations and general operating and reporting functions. The company’s Code of Conduct, for example, requires that any business dealings be undertaken with the upmost honesty, integrity and fairness. To uphold this, Zain, its suppliers, business partners, intermediaries and agents are expected to carry on business with the highest levels of integrity, honesty, fairness and responsibility. Zain’s Code of Conduct also requires that stakeholders ensure they have adopted a similar approach to conducting their own businesses.

The ethical guidelines of Zain’s Code of Conduct are extensive and exist to guide and empower the Board of Directors and executive management to make the right choices, as individuals and as a company. Adhering to the Code of Conduct allows Zain to exercise a positive impact on the industry, communities in which it operates, and beyond; and build a company all can be proud of, where corporate responsibility is a key competitive advantage.

With respect to compliance, Zain’s Corporate Governance and Compliance Department is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Corporate Governance Framework. The department also facilitates the review assessment of the company’s corporate governance framework to verify full compliance with the set framework and related laws and regulations in Kuwait and the countries that Zain operates in.

This ‘Best Corporate Governance Award 2021’ award follows Zain recently been named winner in three categories at the annual Global Good Governance Awards 2021: Best of the Best in Diversity Award 2021; Leadership in Sustainability Award 2021; and Championship Award in Women Empowerment 2021. The annual Global Good Governance Awards are organized by UK-based think tank Cambridge IFA and celebrate individuals, governments, public and private sector institutions and NGOs that exhibit governance and sustainability as their strategic priority.